Let me start today’s post with full disclosure I am not a mom dealing with anxiety.
At least not in the diagnosed/medicated sense. My anxiety is the functional kind. I get anxious. A lot. But not to the point of needing to seek additional care.
However, full fledged anxiety is no stranger to our family — my husband has bravely walked the road to greater care for his own anxiety this year.
So I can relate to the mom dealing with anxiety on a deeply personal level.
I want you to know that I see you, and know you, and I understand what you’re struggling with every single day.
My functional anxiety surfaces in unexpected ways.
- It’s the bad habits I refuse to break: the nail biting and the fidgeting that I don’t even notice anymore because they happen so often.
- Or in the perfectionistic tendencies that make my question my worth and my abilities and keep me stuck in a mindset of fear and doubt.
- And it’s in the calculated way I plan and overthink our schedule to maintain control and avoid that sense of doom and dread when things don’t go according to plan.
Before I was a mom dealing with anxiety, I still felt the weight of anxiety in how I lived. Life was already planned out in my head. S
chool. College. Job. Marriage. Kid(s). Stability. Retirement.
These were the values I grew up with and knew, so they’re what I expected to happen.
Unpredictability quite simply was not an option.
Until it was.
I couldn’t see it, but there was a storm cloud up ahead ready to unleash her fury.
Bella, the first daughter we loved and lost, was our storm cloud. She was more like a hurricane, quietly building intensity, charting her course toward us, winds whipping around, leaving a path of devastation, and a whole lot of broken dreams.
In the aftermath, my anxiety didn’t know what to do (because it always needs to DO something).
Nothing helped. I couldn’t fix or control such a tragic loss and all the fidgeting in the world wouldn’t make the pain and hurt go away.
So I did the one thing that gave my anxious habits a practical and positive outlet.
As the clouds began to part, I picked up the camera that was our first baby gift and saw an opportunity for evolution. That camera was supposed to be the used to learn to shoot like the pros and take beautiful pictures of our first daughter. Instead I used it to show I was emotionally drained, to allow a place to hide from my worry, but to reemerge in a way that felt safe too.
If you’re a mom dealing with anxiety try this the next time an episode creeps in — Stop. Breathe. Create.
Creating brings direction during times when you’re feeling out of control.
It allows you to keep moving forward.
Photography is a great creative place to begin because a camera is almost ALWAYS with you. Take out your cell phone and simply snap away.
Creating images takes the discomfort that comes from anxiety and processes it into beauty. Photography allows emotions a visual medium to be understood. And the camera provides an outlet for your pent up energy — giving it a place to go.
If you’re a mom dealing with anxiety, big or small, you can learn to live WITH it.
The first step comes in recognizing where it creeps into your life, finding the supports you need to function, and making the time to incorporate tools to help you move that nervous energy in a positive way.
Ready to create with me?