'Anxiety can really start to take over your life'

Anxiety only really started to mean something to me after I became a Mum. Every day is about attempting to make the right decisions, and how hard is that? I’m lucky enough to be able to spend everyday with my two children, and so the things that make me feel most anxious are leaving them or letting them go out with family, without me there. It’s really difficult to let go even for just a few hours. It’s something that I have to plan in advance, and build myself up to over a few days. I always know they’ll have fun and they will be well looked after, but it’s still so much harder than I ever thought it would be. I think anxiety can really start to take over your life, and not just in motherhood. It eventually creeps into all aspects of your day to day being. I’ve always been a talker, but about a year ago, I was at a point where I wouldn’t put myself in social situations as I’d lost my confidence in speaking with people. If I was asked to go out or to do something, I’d start feeling really anxious because I knew I’d have to say no. It never felt better after saying no, because I’d feel like I was letting myself and others down by not trying. An opportunity came up to do some evening work and I knew I needed to say yes, just for my own benefit. I tried not to think too much about it, I just knew I needed to push myself into this position that would ultimately help me to not keep feeling so anxious. Whilst it wasn’t easy, I started to talk to people again, to get some of my old confidence back. What I have learnt from having anxiety, and my advice to help others is: try and take a step back and ask yourself, 'what is the worst that can happen?' I try to think of the likeliness of those situations happening, as it helps to rationalise those thoughts that make us anxious. It’s also important to take each day at a time, focusing only on what is happening next. Anxiety isn’t easy to deal with, and ultimately you should always do what feels right for you. I can now say I am starting to let the children go out with family and I’m beginning to build myself back up not just as a Mummy, but as Danielle too.

Author credit: Danielle Stampton