Lately, I’ve had a real battle with anxiety. Having 2 miscarriages close together has been really tough both physically and mentally. It’s one of those times that dealing with my anxiety has been harder. But it doesn’t mean that it has defined me. I’ve just had to work harder at being me.
Don’t get me wrong – anxiety is not something new. I see a level of caution in my daughter and it brings back nervous memories from my childhood. But I’ve never let anxiety define me. As a child, I was painfully shy and would get embarrassed really easily. I hated it. I distinctly remember making a choice to stop being embarrassed. So I stopped. I learned to be confident in social situations. I learned to say hello to people, make friends, dance, laugh, have fun, be happy. When I had knocks, I didn’t let them defeat me. I didn’t get the grades I wanted at A level (long story) so pushed myself to get a first at uni. I’ve moved abroad by myself. I’ve put myself forward for promotions. I’ve asked for pay rises and got them. I’ve known my worth.
Something my A level results taught me was that to do well, you need to work hard. I’ve kept that lesson with me. If I take something on, I work hard to make sure the outcome is the best I can achieve. This is particularly true when it comes to study and work. Before motherhood, I always described myself as driven. I worked hard for career success. I worried that I wouldn’t have the same focus now I am a mum. But actually, it’s been great to regain this part of me. Striving for my best helped me in returning to work after becoming a mum. It’s helped me focus and prepare. It’s helped me to put my efforts into the task at hand. Returning to work as a new mum is an anxious time but I enjoyed the process of regaining skills. You see, as an anxious person, I keep calm and confident by making sure I’m prepared. Making sure I know what I’m doing. Being ready.
But all that prep and focus has meant that other parts of my life have been slightly neglected. And I needed those parts of my life during the last few months. I needed to have time and space to be me. And I needed to be with my friends. So I’ve taken time to focus some of my energy onto me and my social life. I’ve joined the gym and been (not as often as I want to but it’s a start). I’ve made plans with friends and kept those plans. I’ve even made plans to meet new friends (that is a biggie for me). And now I’m going to a night out for mums in London. By myself. I’m so nervous but so excited! And so proud of myself.
You see, I have always been anxious to some degree. Sometimes I feel like it’s swamping me. But I have never let it define me. I work hard to make sure I live the life I want to have. Sometimes it’s harder than others, but it’s always worth it.
Now I need to find a dress to wear …