Obviously, I knew this relationship was just as unhealthy as my previous one with depression, but breaking up with anxiety and panic proved to be much harder than breaking up with depression was. Just when I thought it had left me for good, I would wake up the next day in total fear for my life again. It was both exhausting and terrifying to just be up for longer than 10 minutes because I was in constant battle mode. But I’ve learned that if you don’t keep working at getting rid of anxiety, then it will never leave.
So, working at saying goodbye to it is what I’ve been doing. At this point in time I've spent over $15,000 in the last seven months trying to rid myself of this. I don't pretend to know the answer, but I sure know what helps (and throwing money at it isn’t one of those things).
The first thing is talking about it. No, it doesn't make it go away but it makes you feel less alone. I have let myself be completely vulnerable on Facebook, and I have been getting so much feedback from people experiencing the same thing. Sometimes it’s just a little less scary knowing I’m not the only one to feel these things in my body. It also really helped to hear that I was actually helping others by being so open.
Helping others is a fantastic healing tool for me. So, once I was able, I started encapsulating
placentas for new moms again. I’ve done this work since 2009, and it’s so incredibly fulfilling. Also, talking with new parents when I was in my lowest spots brought me up. I saw the excitement in their tired eyes and that brought me happiness. Then, hearing how much they were helped by their placenta pills once they had taken them for a while just brought tears of joy to my eyes.
The last thing that has helped me heal is really a whole basket of goodies that can be called self-
care. Sure, you've heard of it- it’s basically another term for selfish, right? Wrong! But I was guilty of thinking about self-care incorrectly too. I thought that it was something extravagant that I should really only use when I felt like I was about to have a breakdown: Mommy has to go on an emergency trip to the spa before she loses her shit = Self-care.
Now, I am singing an entirely different tune. I have found that daily self-care is transformational.
It’s not indulgent. It’s not selfish. And yes, I said daily.
See, daily self-care doesn’t have to be extravagant, it just has to be full of things that fills your soul with peace. For me, my daily self-care includes walking, meditation, drinking 40oz of water, eating every hour to hour and a half (I'm hypoglycemic), being thankful, reading, smiling at a stranger, earthing, and going outside. I also have weekly self-care goals of salt baths, calling my parents, taking a bike ride, going to the beach, and seeing my chiropractor.
I know that seems like a lot, but they are little things that don’t take a ton of time. The problem is remembering to do it is hard, and taking the time to do is hard too. For me, that's where the Balanced app comes in (no, I am not affiliated with them in any way- I just love the app). It reminds me of what I need to do and gives me the satisfaction of marking something off a list (which provides a natural high for me).
But more than anything else be gentle to yourself. Talk to yourself and your anxiety in a way that a loving mother would- with kindness and patience. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to others. We are so often hard on ourselves and loving to others, but that really makes no sense. We can’t take care of anyone else for very long if we aren’t first taking care of ourselves.
So, take care of you. Have realistic expectations for yourself. It took me years of neglect to get to
my breaking point in March, so I can’t expect to be healed after a few days of nurturing. But I will not give up, and I hope that you will show yourself the same courtesy too. I even propose a little challenge for you: Talk about your struggles. Whether it’s to a friend, through your writing, or even on Facebook. Chances are that you will see that you’re not alone in this- and you will help others feel less alone in their struggles as well.
The 'List of PlacentaMom Questions' that April was so kind to answer:
You have won the free time lotto...how are you spending a day with no obligations?
Outside with my family (and my kids would magically not fight that day too). I am happiest when
I am outside. I would probably either go to the beach, or go hiking in the forest. Those two places are heavenly to me.
Thank goodness there is no age limit...what is your favorite kid show?
Teen Titans Go! I watch it even when the kids aren’t.
Now that you have gotten your feet wet with this parenting gig...what is the best advice you
could give the pre-kiddo you?
Trust your instincts and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.
Remember the power you felt wielding that baby registry scanner gun…what was the one item
you were certain would be the holy grail of gifts, but turned out to be bunk?
Hands down- the wipes warmer. I thought it was genius. I ended up hating it.
Sharing is caring...what is your favorite charity?
I have many, but my current favorite one is Days For Girls. They provide feminine hygiene
products for girls who don’t have any- so they are still able to attend school and work.
The cover is worn, you have read it a million times, & can recite it in your sleep...what children’s
book have you shamelessly tried skipping a page (or five) come bedtime?
My son is obsessed with dinosaurs and has quite a few large dino books. So, one of those for
sure! Psst...April just published a book herself - Aunt Flo: who she is, why she visits, and what others have to say about her
Baby poo or spit up...which is worse?
I’m not too bad with either, but I will pick poo on this one.
Parenting can drive us to drink...pick your poison...Coffee, Soda, Beer, or Wine?
I’ve tried so hard to love wine and beer, but I just don’t. I was a coffee person before the anxiety and panic started, but haven’t had much since then. I would still pick a yummy cup of coffee though, if I could. And maybe a very occasional cherry coke…
April lives in beautiful Southern California with her husband and 3 children. She’s a lover of
learning and holds many certifications, but primarily works as an aromatherapist and placenta
specialist. In her free time you can find her outside on a bike ride, walk, or playing at the beach
with her family. www.confidentbeginnings.com