I have dealt with anxiety my entire life. It isn’t debilitating and I manage it well, but every once in a while I start to notice that familiar feeling of fear and stress rise up within me. Because it doesn’t happen often, I tend not to notice it until it has taken a firm grasp over my day.
It was just the other day that I noticed I was struggling with anxiety again. The anxiety stemmed from somewhere it never has before. It grew out of mothering two kids and it reared its ugly head whenever I planned to leave the house. It has been easy to ignore until now. I could easily blame our recent colds for keeping us home-bound. But now that we’re starting to feel better and the weather is absolutely gorgeous, I have little excuse for keeping all three of us home and in pyjamas all day instead of walking to a nearby park or taking the ferry to meet my husband for ice cream after work.
I really started to name this monster as I started to plan my first post-partum run. Last year, I got into running and absolutely loved it. It was the perfect way to emotionally and mentally heal from the miscarriages that made my body feel like a complete failure. I ran my first 5K race a few weeks into my pregnancy with Gavin and then I gave up running for the rest of the pregnancy. Oh, how I missed it! I talked all nine months about getting back into it, once I was healed from childbirth and given the go-ahead from my doctor.
Well, I was given permission to start running last week, and I started to prepare. I went out and got some running clothes that would actually fit my post-partum body. I created a playlist and charged up my iPod. I chose a running program, broke up my Garmin, and programmed it with the workouts. I was all ready to go.
…except I wasn’t. I was scared. Anxious.
Running for the first time is always a scary experience. There is fear of failure. Fear of pain. Fear of making a fool of yourself. Each fear is understandable. I’ve had all of those fears before.
But I wasn’t scared of those things. Not this time.
This time, I was just scared about going out. I was scared about leaving my husband at home with both kids. I was scared about leaving the newborn. I haven’t done this before. What if I am needed? I am sure I will be needed.
And then I realized that this anxiety wasn’t new. I’ve been feeling it every time I told myself that I should take the kids to the park or into the city to see their Daddy. I am scared about trying to put real clothes on this unfamiliar body of mine. I am overwhelmed by getting both children ready to go. I am anxious about only having a stroller with one seat. What if the baby gets uncomfortable in the wrap? What if walking with a wrap while pushing a stroller is too much?
It all feels like too much; all the what-ifs.
The hardest part is walking out the door.
I think that is how it is every time we do something new, though. Once we walk out the door, we’re committed. We will see it through. But opening that door and stepping into a world beyond the safety of our four walls? That is scary.
Last night, I did it. I walked out the door and I walk/ran for the first time this year. And everything was okay.
And now, a new journey has started.
What are you avoiding? What are you hiding from? In what ways do you need to be kicked out that front door? If I did it, you can do it too. Just get out that door!
In fact, I think I’m even going to try to take the kids for a walk today too… (cue anxiety!).