Hey, I'm Candace (@oneanxiousmommy)! When Gem and Jess first asked me to be a guest writer, I had so many thoughts about where this little blurb could go. There is just so much to unpack about anxiety.
Do I talk about how I decided I needed help? How I reached out? What triggers my anxiety? Why am I the way I am? How do I handle my anxiety? How does my family handle my anxiety? So many questions, so little time. So I figured I would just sit, and type and see where it led. And then I deleted a whole page of writing (just kidding… I could never DELETE that! Could you imagine?! What if it was actually better than this current bit of writing?)
So this is me. All of my anxious self. My name is Candace and I struggle with anxiety.
Struggling with anxiety looks different for each individual.
It’s what makes anxiety such a little jerk.
It’s what makes it so difficult to ask for help.
Sometimes I wonder if people think anxiety is “just an excuse”. I get it. I thought that once. Until I had a panic attack in a grocery store and thought it was a heart attack. Good times that was. And it still took me over two years after that to ask for help. TWO YEARS! Two years to realize I needed help. Two years and a baby to realize this is not okay. Two years to look at my husband and realize that if I didn’t get help we probably would not make it. I was angry all the time. The littlest thing would set me off. I hid it well (I think) at work… but that was so exhausting that I would come home and just dump all over my husband.
It was not fair to him. It was not fair to our marriage.
I have been on medication for my anxiety for a year and a half now and it has been a game changer. The pandemic has thrown a bit of a wrench in this anxiety journey of mine, but the thing that the medication helps the most with is that it gives me this sense of clarity. I am able to take a breath, take a step back and realize my anger is not warranted in this situation, the intrusive thoughts are just that and I am usually able to stop, drop (it) and roll (on).
Does this mean I am “cured”? Nope. I do not have my poop in a group. I am still dealing with my anxiety day by day. I am learning tools to help cope. I am starting to see a psychologist to give me more tools. She is a no b.s., sock it to me, little bit of tough love … and it is what I need. I am learning not to be so hard on myself, learning not to be so hard on others.
While I have always felt that I am genuine, I can be defensive or passionate about certain things. I am learning to let that go. Learning to embrace different opinions, different styles, learning to judge less and understand more.
Living with anxiety can be really hard. Telling people you can or cannot do something because of anxiety is hard. Admitting that maybe you overreacted because of anxiety is … oh man that is so hard. Also understanding that sometimes you are not actually overreacting.
Finding the line, the balance, and the bravery to bring light to mental health and anxiety has been a learning experience to say the least. I’m not done learning, and I am not done bringing awareness. Anxiety is real. Mental health is something that we should never turn our backs on.
If this pandemic has taught me anything it is that yes, I am resilient and yes I have amazing people in my life, but more importantly it has taught me that not enough people know enough about mental health, and not enough people understand the resources available. Not enough people know that it is okay to reach out for help. Because at the end of the day, yes – it is okay to not be okay, but it is not okay to keep not being okay. Reach out! Find a community. Talk to your doctor. We anxious mamas (and peeps) got this!
Thanks for reading!
We are participating for the second year in The Run For Women, bought to you by the LOVE YOU by Shopper Drug Mart Program which benefits the Women's Mental Health Clinic at the Foothills Medical Centre which currently sees 600 women annually. Conservative estimates suggest that as many as 3,600 Calgary and area women will struggle with their mental health on a yearly basis.
Looking for other ways to get involved? Donate to our Run For Women team here.