Anxiety crept into my life like a slow sucking leech and latched itself onto me and was activated around certain people. I could feel it just creep in at the sound of her voice. Thinking back I had to go on this journey to appreciate who I was and to step into my own power. The 43-year-old me can tell the 20-something me that it was just an experience you had to go through. You were just afraid at that time, you were so vulnerable and you had to be respectful. I couldn’t wait to get my own place, this is where I dreamt that peace would be. Anyone can appreciate that when you live with your extended family there will always be some kind of friction, whether it be about money, bills, cleaning, parties, or meals. It doesn’t matter what it is but when you don’t have the freedom of living in your own place and have to adapt to someone else’s way it can be challenging. But hey, we have to dive deep to rise up.
I remember just driving into the street and feeling the tightness in my stomach at the sight of multiple cars in the driveway. My thoughts would automatically go into overdrive as to what I was going to be thrown as I walked through the door. Don’t get me wrong I truly appreciated all the help I could get when raising 2 under 2 but when you are the main breadwinner for the family I envisaged my home life to be a little different. At this point, I had just had my second child and had returned to work when he was just 3 months old. I was fortunate enough to have a job that was part-time and flexible with hours not far from home. I remember coming home so tired after being woken at night to the baby and wanting to just walk in the door and crash for a few hours. But every new mum knows that is not the reality. I had a hard time bouncing back after baby. My hormones were all over, my sleep was a mess, and my weight was out of control only to find out via a scan that there was something that was affecting my hormones from returning back to normal. This took a lot of specialist visits and trial medications to reverse my body and for it to realise that I was no longer pregnant. Thinking back to this time, I was so detached from myself, pouring everything I had into these small babies that I had to raise and be responsible for and hold this family together. This is all but a distant memory now and I have learnt and grown so much from then but just reflecting on my early beginnings I am so grateful for having this opportunity because it solidified a bond for my children that most never experience.
“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will”. Epicteus
Not so long after that opportunity came to move into my own place. It was a project that needed work but it came together and provided solitude for our growing family. Many special events were held and the peace it brought was immense. I would just sit and gaze out the window into the distance and appreciate the soft scent of the white roses that grew under my bedroom window. Even now when I walk through a garden center I am drawn to these tiny white roses which remind me of the time when my grandmother said: “just plant a few bushes along the front of the house, they will flower at the same time and require little to no care”. She was right, they would bloom at the same time and had a wow factor that everyone admired. It seemed that the slow sucking leech drifted as I stepped into my new home and started to take on adult responsibilities. ie. a mortgage, utilities, etc. I made it a rule to always have enough, for the “just in case” and this has been my go-to, to never being short.
I learnt very quickly in life that worry can be never-ending if we let it so I started to approach things a little differently. This first started at work, which was more of a controlled environment because I could always learn more if I showed initiative and the work was cyclical. As I became friendly with a work colleague who then took me under her wing I opened to the possibility of further developing my skillset. This was saying yes to opportunities and growing at the same time. She was such a powerful (in my eyes) woman who had had a hard life but was always positive, optimistic, and level-headed. She was a blessing in my life and we worked together for almost 5 years before she retired.
Personally, I knew that if I planned ahead worry which led to anxiety or appeared as anxiety would not rare its head. I planned many things, from house projects to vacations, weekend getaways, budgets, gifts, birthdays, and savings. Having these plans which were not always solid allowed me to feel safe and have less worry, I felt a sense of accomplishment when all was accounted for especially because I had a consistent secure income. I decided that I wouldn’t rely on anyone for financial support nor would I ask. I had to ensure my responsibilities were covered, this was my norm. But this also gave me the motivation to keep investing in myself to move up in my career, and I did.
Now I think back to when I let that leech go I can’t recall how it actually started but all I can say is that uncertainty, overthinking and fear bring it on, and taking control of my own emotional state helps to release it.