Having always been what I consider a ‘bit of a worrier’ most of my life, I think the severe anxiety I felt with my PND will always be with me to some degree. I have much more of a control on it now and have learnt valuable techniques to combat it, but no matter how hard I fight I think it will always be in the background. I suppose the key point there is ‘in the background’ rather than being the all consuming thing it previously had been and that is a massive improvement.
Recently though I’ve had a difficult time keeping my anxiety in check. One of my main anxieties has been the health of my children. So you can imagine how anxious I was to discover a lump in my sons neck in early 2014. I took him to the doctors, and the GP sniggered at me and told me it was a swollen gland – nothing to worry about. I was embarrassed and felt like a time waster. I’d (stupidly) googled it and convinced myself he must have cancer – thank you anxiety.
I kept an eye on it, and it never grew, but it never disappeared. I felt relatively calm about it though, it had been checked and he had no other ‘symptoms’ he has more energy than the rest of the family put together, and eats more than his older sister. Also -touch wood- he is hardly ever unwell, maybe 2 infections in his life, and the normal colds.
After the birth of my third child my health anxiety went into overdrive. My worries about this lump reappeared and I booked him in with the GP again. This time I took my husband to listen to the information as my anxiety caused me to filter out any positive info and latch onto the negative points. The doctor spent more time explaining to me that it can be normal and he seems fine so not to worry. Keep an eye on it. I felt reassured.
About a month ago my son became unwell, in fact since the new year our family of five have just passed colds, and infections around constantly. He wasn’t getting any better after a few days so took him to the GP to see if he needed antibiotics. Yep he had an ear infection, but while I was there the dreaded lump in his neck concerned the doctor. Another appointment 4 weeks later and the doctors has requested blood tests to investigate.
My anxiety has been high since. Overall I’ve coped better than I normally would. It’s only affected a couple of nights sleep rather than every night. I haven’t googled it because I now know this is extremely unhelpful and will just result in causing more worry. So although I’ve managed quite well, I’ve struggled more than I expected – my thoughts are still locked in a battle.
He has now had this lump 18 months and so I’m thinking if it was anything to worry about it would have grown or other symptoms would have appeared. Then my anxiety shouts at me – ‘but it shouldn’t even be there!’ I over analysing every little thing about him …does he seem pale? Yes he does…he always has though and all five of us are – its our colouring…he is skinny though…yes but again he always has been, growing upwards not outwards, and he runs about all day long – plus his sister was skinny too…does he seem tired…yes but he is teething so didn’t sleep well…and he keeps refusing dinner ….but he is 2 & 1/2 and his sister went through the same phase…. BUT is he tired, skinny, not eating dinner and pale because he has something seriously wrong with him? That is my mind a lot of the time, arguing with myself. It’s exhausting.
On a positive note it’s not my mind all the time. It would have been previously but not now. I’ve been practicing my mindfulness which has definitely helped. I think the reason I’ve had trouble over the last few weeks is before I’ve worried about things that could happen and haven’t yet, this is something actually happening. I’m pretty confident though that the GP has referred him to rule it out, he seemed certain it wasn’t ‘sinister’. I’m sure he will have his blood tests next week and all will be ok. To be honest part of me is relieved that he is having it as it will settle this anxiety once and for all.
To get through the last few weeks, I’ve talked through my fears with my husband, and his always rational point of view helps me see things in a more realistic way. I’ve NOT looked online – I can’t stress how important this is – don’t google symptoms! I’ve practice mindfulness, been out in the sunshine -well when we’ve actually got it here in the UK! – and been doing some art therapy. All ways I’ve distracted my mind and refocused my thoughts. I’ve been surprised by how far I’ve come since practicing mindfulness it’s really improved my anxiety in general.
Here’s some links which may be useful if you too are suffering anxiety –
Anxiety info and support – Www.Anxietyuk.org.uk
Useful Mindfulness website – http://www.bemindful.co.uk
You can read more about my anxiety and obsessive thoughts here –
Hopefully in a few weeks I can post a positive outcome and this reason for my anxiety will have disappeared.
Xx Sarah xX