Parenting is stressful by itself. Add in an anxiety disorder and it can be debilitating at times. Therefore I give you, the ABC’s of parenting with anxiety.
A is for Anxious: The constant state you are in 24/7 as a parent who suffers from anxiety.
B is for Breathing: Something you have to constantly remind yourself to do. Deep breathing or just breathing in general… you have to remind yourself to do it sometimes. Well, okay, most of the time.
C is for Curse Words: The words the go through your head (or come out of your mouth) during particularly stressful or anxious situations. Also, they are the words you pray your children do not repeat.
D is for Destruction: The one thing that you are constantly worried about will happen to your children, your house, or that your children will do to your house.
E is for Excited: The way you feel, for a fleeting moment anyway, when you make it through another day without losing a child or having a breakdown of any sort.
F is for Freak Out: AKA Breakdown. AKA Panic Attack. In other words, the one thing you really don’t want to happen. Can be caused by various real or made up situations.
G is for Germs: Most of the time, unless you are a germophobe, you don’t worry too much about. Unless it’s been a particularly bad flu season. The one time this is a huge anxiety inducing thought is when you have a newborn with an immune system that has not fully developed.
H is for Home: The one place that you normally feel the least amount of stress… usually… okay, every now and then.
I is for Illness: The one thing you hope that your child never gets, especially the big illnesses.
J is for Judgement: It’s the one thing that not only gives you anxiety but that you fear. There is so much mom-shaming these days that the idea of being judged for the way you parent your children can give you major anxiety.
K is for Kindness: It is all you want from others and all you hope you teach your children to be to everyone. Having anxiety can be crippling at times. Instead of being judged for it, you can only hope that others show you kindness instead.
L is for Lice: Just hearing the word makes you itch and Lord forbid you get a letter from your child’s school that another child has it.
M is for Math: Just wait until fourth grade math comes along… this gives parents who do not have anxiety lots and lots of anxiety. So for all of us with anxiety, multiply that by 20 then divide by 19 plus 3.6 and find the area of these 1,000 boxes.
N is for Never-ending Questions: While all children are super inquisitive, there are days that all of their questions set your anxiety on edge.
O is for Organized: Either it causes you anxiety because you are not organized at all or things are not organized in the way you need them to be. Maybe you have anxiety because you just having trouble being organized in any way.
P is for Playgrounds: Oh, the sweet thought of your child running and playing off all that energy they seem to have in spades. Well, that is until little Jimmy or Jenny is on top of the monkey bars… then all you can see is the possibility broken bones which leads to a possible freak out.
Q is for Quiet: For any parent, when things get quiet, usually the kids are into something that they maybe shouldn’t be.
R is for Restroom: The one place you make your kids go constantly, especially during potty training, for fear that you won’t get to one while running errands.
S is for Stress: While all parents experience stress, when you have clinical anxiety (no matter what form) your stress level is greater. This is where the breathing part comes in.
T is for Tired: This is what all that stress and anxiety causes… extreme fatigue on top of the normal amount of fatigue you have as a parent.
U is for Underwear: The one thing you hope your kid has on and the one thing you hope your kid keeps clean.
V is for Vomit: No parent ever wants to see their child sick… or physically getting sick.
W is for Worry: It’s a state of constant being. All. The. Time.
X is for Xylophone: You know that toy that you asked them to stop playing so many times that it finally drove you over the edge… so it may have ended up in the trash or being donated to another parent to drive them crazy.
Y is for Your Food: In addition to being tired, constantly worrying about your child… they also tend to want to eat your food. So, you may be hungry because of this or because you are not eating properly due to your anxiety.
Z is for Zoo: The state of your house upon occasion… such as one of your children’s birthday parties… that causes you anxiety to become worse than normal.
While I have kept this list a bit light-hearted, anxiety is no joke. I am clinically diagnosed and the effects of it can be debilitating. There are times that it takes everything you have to get your panic attack under control just so you can make it through your day. Never be afraid to discuss your anxiety with you doctor.