I’m at the grocery store walking down the diaper aisle with my two kids when I start to feel as though the walls are caving in. I stop clear in my tracks feeling as though I’m grasping for my last breath of air. I cannot breathe. My hands and my palms are sweating. I can feel my body temperature rising. My heart is palpitating. I still feel as though I cannot breathe. It feels like a brick of concrete has been laid on my chest. I feel imminent doom.

I’m having a panic attack.

*****

Before having kids I never really had a problem with being anxious. Even after having my first child (Neveah), I never experienced anxiety. After having my second (Nolan) I struggled with postpartum depression. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now looking back I realize some of the things I was and still am experiencing is anxiety.

Anxiety is mental health disorder that affects almost 3 million people in the US, so don’t be embarrassed or feel ashamed if it’s something you struggle with.

For the longest time I was in denial about having anxiety. I refused to believe that what I was experiencing were panic attacks. I felt embarrassed that as a mom I could allow this to happen. I kept telling myself things like: it’s just in your head, stop it, you can control it.

The truth is sometimes you can’t control it alone.

That’s what some people don’t understand.

Even David has told me, “You’re fine. It’s just in your head.”

Yes, it is it’s in my head.

I cannot control it, though.

I can’t stop myself from feeling paralyzed with fear at night before going to sleep. I can’t sleep sometimes because I fear I won’t wake up.

I hate when I do fall asleep because most times I wake up from a horrifying nightmare in which I died in a tragic matter.

I hate the children’s room is on the other side of the house. I fear that if something happens I won’t be able to get to them in time. I feel as though I’m constantly on guard.

I hate leaving the house sometimes even if it’s just to grocery shop because I fear public embarrassment. I hate talking to people. I don’t hate people. I just don’t like to talk to strangers because I’m afraid I’ll say the wrong thing.

I hate going to crowded places.

I hate that on the rare occasion I venture out to Ikea or Costco on the weekend it’s jam-packed. I feel like I’m constantly being judged.

I hate that I hate being left home alone. It absolutely terrifies me when David leaves. It terrifies me even more when he leaves and takes one of the kids.

I’m tired a lot. I have trouble sleeping. My entire body is extremely tense (this has been determined by my TMJ specialist that my muscles are very tense).

I shake. I sweat. I have troubling breathing.

I’m in constant fear not just for myself, but for my children.

Somehow having two kids hit me a lot harder than having one.

Reality hit me like a ton of bricks after having my second.

I am now not just responsible for one, but for two tiny human lives. That’s a huge responsibility. Although I’m extremely grateful, and I feel blessed it makes me worry twice as much.

I know it’s completely normal to worry as a parent about your kids. Even when your kids are adults you still worry about them. I don’t know if that worry ever fully goes away.

The problem with me is that I worry way too much. I over think everything when it comes to my children. My instinct is to be protective mama bear.

I know deep down in my heart that I cannot always protect them, and that makes me uncomfortable.

I worry about the future when I should just focus on the now. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Anxiety. Panic attacks. It’s debilitating the quality of my life.

I’ve finally recognized it.

I’m starting to figure out what triggers my panic attacks and how to cope with the anxiety.

I know some people might look at me and think I’m extremely confident. I know some people might think how could someone who writes so openly about her life on the internet feel publicly embarrassed?

I’ll tell you that most of what I write is the good stuff. I don’t write too much about the bad stuff. Every human has demons they struggle with. And not everyone is as open about their struggles as others. Just because I write a public blog or share a photo of me on Instagram smiling doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with things deep inside.

I know how to put on a good front. I know how to smile and say, “I’m fine.” When in reality I feel my world around me collapsing.

*****

I sit down on the cold tile and begin to sob. It’s an ugly cry. My daughter, Neveah, sits down next to me. She holds my hand and says, “It’s okay mommy.” I manage to catch my breath, and in between the tears I tell her I love her. I then stand up, wipe my tears off, and take deep slow breathes. I grab Nolan out of the cart, and I hug him tight. Neveah helps me pick out which diapers to put in the cart (she’s very smart she knows what diaper brand and size Nolan wears), and we continue our grocery shopping.

If you’re a mom struggling with anxiety just know that it’s okay. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. It makes you human.

Successful mothers are not the ones who have never struggled.

They are the ones who never give up, despite the struggles.

For other facts and helpful resources you can check out adaa.org. I also encourage you to talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling.

Disclaimer: This post is in no way shape or form meant to be a self diagnosis for anxiety disorder or panic attacks. If you or someone you knew may be struggling with these issues, I encourage you to seek medical advice from a qualified health physician. 

Hey Beautiful! Thank you for reading!

You May Also Like

  • Jessica

    Thank you for being open and honest when writing this. I don’t have kids but I struggle with anxiety attacks and understand exactly how you feel. I hope you get the help you need!

  • Natasha Green

    I’m a young mother of one and I am dealing with anxiety. I feel as though I’m in denial about it, my hubby is always asking what’s wrong with me and I always tell him idk or give one excuse or another. It’s been effecting me drastically as you mentioned sometimes I don’t even want to leave the house in fear of I might run into someone I know. I think what I’m truly afraid of is that itching question, “What are you doing with your life?”…idk raising a kid. THEN POW JUDGMENT WRITTEN ALL OVER THERE FACE!

    • I’m sorry you feel as though you’re in denial about it. Definitely don’t be scared to talk to your hubby even if he doesn’t understand or get it because people who don’t experience it themselves often times don’t get it. You could also see a doctor or a counselor just to talk to them about how you’re feeling. I felt the same way when I first became a stay at home mom and stopped going to school. Being young and not working nor going to school and just raising kids always makes people raise their eyebrows. Just know that raising a kid is no easy task and you should be proud that as a young mom you ARE the one raising your kid and not your mother or your grandmother. There’s nothing wrong with that. One day your kid will grow up and they’ll thank you for being there.

      And you’re young you have plenty of time to go back to school and start a career. Your kid will only be young once and the time your spending raising them now is precious. You can never get that time back.

      XO

      • Becky Kopesdy

        You have to remember too – people that look at you funny for being a SAHM usually have never had to raise children, or probably raised theirs differently and suffered because they tried to have kids and have a career and they had to work. Its really tough to do – I personally don’t believe I could have a career and take good enough care of my children at the same time, one would absolutely suffer because of the other. I told my husband that when we have kids, I’m staying home with them for a while because its for their benefit, and I want to enjoy the experience, and he was cool with this, so here I am 🙂 People that get snarky when they find out you are a SAHM are also jealous!! They wish they could do it, or could have done it when they had kids – but many women have to work, and its tough bc they would rather be with their children. Just try to be compassionate and try to remember that they may not be as lucky as you, so they lash out. Sigh. I wish people didn’t suck, but they do 😛

  • Thank you for writing about this topic. Everything you wrote resonated with me. A few years ago I lost my dad, and I had a lot of anxiety. What helped was exercise and talking to a therapist for a few months.

    • I’m sorry for your loss! I’m glad you found what helps you. Exercising definitely helps me a lot too!

      xo

  • Jess

    I too deal with anxiety on a regular basis, I always used to say I am just over paranoid. Every time I walk my child to the bus stop and he runs ahead of me I nearly have a heart attack, I scream at him to stop because all I can picture is a speeding car coming out of no where. (just one example) For a long time I barely left my house because I didn’t want to see people or people to see me. It is very difficult to over come, I have just begun to allow my now 7 year old over to other people’s homes for birthdays. What usually helps me is to spend time on myself, I have tried changing my eating habits, yoga, and putting some effort into my appearance. So glad I came across this post!

    • I feel you! :/

      It’s a daily struggle. Good to hear that you’re doing things to over come it. 🙂 xo

  • It’s great to see someone sharing such a problem so openly. You’re so brave. Having kids is a big responsibility and change in your life. It can do weird things to you. But you have to be strong.
    Hope you find yourself getting stronger and better.
    Take care 🙂

  • Barby Kiu

    Hi Vivienne, I came across your blog and it seems that we have something in common!.. I also struggled with panic attacks and the way you described it is exactly what it was for me too. For one year I’ve been on medication because last spring I was even hospitalized…I thought I was getting a heart attack!.. And I was only 34, mother of two and a wife aswell. Btw I’m also Mexican and currently moved form Germany to Florida due to My hubby’s job. It is hard to deal with this and it helps to know that there are many ways to deal with it but most important keep yourself busy doing something that challenges you in some way. I feel that I also have to write my thoughts and concerns. As a staying home mom is difficult to keep my head away from Household and kids and that is really frustrating! But I enjoy reading blogs like yours! Congrats! And all the best!
    Barbara

    • Hi 🙂
      Thank you for reading and thank you for sharing your story! I agree finding ways to keep yourself occupied when your a SAHM is fantastic. Good to hear that you’ve found what helps your anxiety. Take care! xo