Anxiety is a special kind of torture, invented for those who love the most to make them feel the most inadequate.
Anxiety when you have people you love this much - my husband, my incredible children (gosh they're incredible) is totally normal, apparently - to a certain extent. It's built into all mothers; you're anxious anyway and then things just keep happening that make it MUCH worse.
Roman choked just a little on his dinner - one cough and he was fine, but of course my mind spun into over drive.
He's started tripping over more because he runs everywhere (usually waving his arms around shouting "look at me look at me!") so I'm convinced he's going to break something.
Yesterday someone opened the door to the baby clinic and he ran out - I chased, holding Jasper, but he was way ahead - two people stepped back out of his way to let him pass (seriously people?!) and then, with me following and screaming "STOP!" he ran, laughing his head off, right into the road. There were three people he ran past who just watched. Just watched a toddler run into the road, with his mum screaming from behind him because I couldn't get to him in time. Are they some kind of new, previously unheard of, special breed of stupid? I don't care if you're a stranger, please GRAB MY CHILD because I can't reach! Luckily the car coming was going very slow and just stopped, miles away from him.
In my mind it hit him. In my mind he died. In my mind I dropped Jasper trying to catch Roman and he died too. In my mind both of my babies died. I was terrified. I was furious. I don't think his feet touched the ground on the way back inside, I caught, I pulled, I SHOUTED, I cried. The people who had watched him run out tutted at me. I hated them. I have never hated people so much. Roman cried and said "Sowwy Mummy, I sowwy Mummy!" and I cried even more for being so angry.
Anxiety. Children breed more of it in you every day.
Anxiety is what has kept me awake for so many hours in the past few weeks even when the boys have been sleeping like angels (and apart from a few blips - Jasper having a growth spurt, Roman having a nightmare about scary badgers - they really do sleep like angels - I'm horribly lucky in that aspect) I lie awake hour after hour after hour going over our day. I count the many and varied ways in which I've failed as a mother that day - as a mother, as a wife, as a daughter, as a friend, as a human being. I've not given them enough veg - so they're going to get scurvy or rickets. I've not ironed all their socks so they're going to be Looked At by smarter people. I've not worn make up (or even got dressed) so Alex will leave me for someone better. I lost my temper so the boys will have to go to therapy to learn how to have healthy relationships with women when they're older because their mother is such a monster.
I lie and think about all the ways they could get hurt or killed. I could be carrying Jasper and trip on a toy and land on Roman and break both of their necks - literally, both of their necks, broken. I could fall going down the stairs out of the flat. The pushchair could wobble sideways into the road as I'm walking along right in front of a bus. They could get snatched. I could somehow trip and knock them through the window, shattering it, cutting them to shreds before they fall to the street (in front of a bus).
I think about whether I'm SUCH an awful mother if it wouldn't just be better for me to leave - then I remember that they'd starve to death and never have anything to wear and would get bedsores because only I know how to do all those things (ha) so I can't leave - but spending their entire day with me must be damaging them because I'm just so useless.
Yesterday at clinic I mentioned a couple of those things to my health visitor - who said she'd pop over this morning for a longer chat and a coffee. She did, and I talked, then all of a sudden I was crying and saying things like "I wish I could just enjoy them more" and realising that I hadn't felt like I was, and that I hadn't even noticed because it had snook up on me so slowly I hadn't even seen it. What a waste!
She gave me the little list and I answered it - last time I did it I scored a 10; today I scored a 25. Well how the heck did THAT happen? Oh yes - for the last three nights I haven't slept, I've tortured myself instead - I see.
It turns out I'm not a total failure - but my anxiety has pushed me over into PND without me even noticing and so actually I'm NOT a vile, useless sack of nothing as a mother - I'm just normal, with a blob of PND on top. Like sprinkles, only sprinkles made of shit and stress. Not delicious sprinkles.
I was given a late appointment with the world's nicest GP and spent 45 entire minutes talking to him - managing, by the end of it, to laugh at myself. I left with a prescription for anxiety meds that should help me to switch off those voices that list my spectacular failings at night so I can sleep. Once I'm sleeping the daytime bits should seem a little less, well, TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO MANAGE. I might even get dressed and vaccuum (don't push it). I left feeling pretty positive - I'd said the crazy out loud and people hadn't swooped in in colourful bodysuits emblazoned with "Child rescue squad" and taken my babies away - they'd just listened, let me have a little blub, and told me it was all ok and quite normal really.
Then I went to the pharmacy to get my little tablets and the woman who served me pointed at my tummy and exclaimed - horribly loud - "Oh yes! I see now! When are you due?"
"I've had him."
I'm not sure which of us was more mortified - but her repeatedly apologising did not help!
So, I'm never wearing that dress again and I hope these tablets don't make me feel sick forever - what a week!