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  1. #1
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    Default Postnatal anxiety

    Hi all. It's been a while since I've been on the hub, but it's the place I turn to when I need some parenting related support.

    My bub is about to turn 1. I've had a struggle with pnd this year and general anxiety (which pre-dated pregnancy).

    I've been working with my gp and a psychologist and doing a lot better than I was. Working really hard everyday on my mental health. Most days are now good. But I have lingering health anxiety. If I had to explain it is like as soon as I had bub I developed this intense fear of being sick or dying. Every little niggle or symptom can make me feel this awful anxiety.

    I'm healthy. I have really minor things that everyone gets - like a bit of phlegm related to bubs daycare no doubt, or a bit of heat rash. Intellectually I know it's nothing but my mind just freaks out.

    I guess I just want to know if I'm alone in this? I don't really have any mum friends in real life. I'm just feeling really alone.

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    I have general anxiety and get panic attacks. If I keep my stress levels low enough, my general anxiety is better (though always there - it's just taken me 45 years to realise that not everyone is always seeing the worst case scenario in everything, it feels like "normal" to me) but if I don't manage my life to keep my stress down, my anxiety rises and if I don't read those warning signs, I head into panic attack land.

    When my anxiety is up it is often medical related. Eg. I take a different brand of paracetamol I've never had before and start to think my mouth is tingling and maybe I'm having an allergic reaction and maybe I'm going to have anaphylaxis and so on. If stress is bad, this can lead to a panic attack, if it's medium I can use strategies to calm myself in the moment, if it's mild I can tell myself I'm being silly and to snap out of it (and if it's super-mild I never have the thought). Happens with all sorts of aches and pains - I take a lot of care not to watch medical shows as it's like they induce hypochondria.

    The biggest challenge with it that I find is when my anxiety is up and I get genuine sick. It's so hard to know when it is time to see the Dr. When I'm mentally well, I'm very aware of my body and when I'm sick enough to need medication etc. When I'm suffering worse anxiety, the line is blurred. Thankfully I've almost always been near a bulk billing GP as somethings just the act of seeing the doctor is enough to bring me down from my anxious state.

    I saw a psych in my late 20s, a few years before starting a family, and it was the best thing. For me, it was not about breathing techniques or blah blah, it was about actually identifying WHY I choose to live a life that causes me such stress (I'm a perfectionist who had workaholic tendencies). I knew what I was doing, but felt driven to be that way, like I HAD to have it all and do it all. Without becoming aware of why I felt this drive (for me it was aspects of my childhood) I would not have been able to change my life. I still have anxiety, I can see that is genetic, but I can happily live a life that enables me to manage it.

    So management for me is 10% what I do (yoga, time to myself, etc) and 90% what I say no to, what I don't do.

    I read a great article a few weeks back that really resonated with me, it was talking about true self care being quite mundane things that, by doing them, means you don't live a life that you need to have bubble baths and weekends away to "escape from". Things like not letting bills pile up, saying no to others people some times, etc.

    It's taken me many years, but I'm at the point now where I can even identify very early warning signs. For example, if my stress is building I start to get fussy about having matching pairs of pegs on each clothing item on the line. Little things like that. They are my signal to take stock, identify what is causing me stress, and if I can't change it, become conscious that I will be anxious at the moment and that is OK, it is not because there is anything wrong with me, it is just because this, that, the other is happening in my life right now.

    Caring for a baby is stressful. Not only that, it is HARD WORK- and lots of work! It's ok if you're not on top of your anxiety right now. It sounds like you're working on it and that's the most anyone can do. You're 100% not alone (however it is difficult to talk about as talking about your anxiety can often trigger it!)

  3. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Stretched For This Useful Post:

    babyno1onboard (27-09-2020),BornToBe (27-09-2020),Mellie29 (27-09-2020),MissTwiggley (27-09-2020)

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    I'm not sure if you drink coffee? Caffeine gives me awful anxiety. Even a decaf in the morning can have me waking through the night with a racing heart. And having anxious thoughts about anything from accidents, health to financial troubles or world war III. I'm a different, calm, easy going person without it. So if it's at all possible you have a caffeine sensitivity, hard as it is, it might be worth a trial of cutting it out.

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to BornToBe For This Useful Post:

    Mellie29 (27-09-2020),MissTwiggley (27-09-2020)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stretched View Post
    I have general anxiety and get panic attacks. If I keep my stress levels low enough, my general anxiety is better (though always there - it's just taken me 45 years to realise that not everyone is always seeing the worst case scenario in everything, it feels like "normal" to me) but if I don't manage my life to keep my stress down, my anxiety rises and if I don't read those warning signs, I head into panic attack land.

    When my anxiety is up it is often medical related. Eg. I take a different brand of paracetamol I've never had before and start to think my mouth is tingling and maybe I'm having an allergic reaction and maybe I'm going to have anaphylaxis and so on. If stress is bad, this can lead to a panic attack, if it's medium I can use strategies to calm myself in the moment, if it's mild I can tell myself I'm being silly and to snap out of it (and if it's super-mild I never have the thought). Happens with all sorts of aches and pains - I take a lot of care not to watch medical shows as it's like they induce hypochondria.

    The biggest challenge with it that I find is when my anxiety is up and I get genuine sick. It's so hard to know when it is time to see the Dr. When I'm mentally well, I'm very aware of my body and when I'm sick enough to need medication etc. When I'm suffering worse anxiety, the line is blurred. Thankfully I've almost always been near a bulk billing GP as somethings just the act of seeing the doctor is enough to bring me down from my anxious state.

    I saw a psych in my late 20s, a few years before starting a family, and it was the best thing. For me, it was not about breathing techniques or blah blah, it was about actually identifying WHY I choose to live a life that causes me such stress (I'm a perfectionist who had workaholic tendencies). I knew what I was doing, but felt driven to be that way, like I HAD to have it all and do it all. Without becoming aware of why I felt this drive (for me it was aspects of my childhood) I would not have been able to change my life. I still have anxiety, I can see that is genetic, but I can happily live a life that enables me to manage it.

    So management for me is 10% what I do (yoga, time to myself, etc) and 90% what I say no to, what I don't do.

    I read a great article a few weeks back that really resonated with me, it was talking about true self care being quite mundane things that, by doing them, means you don't live a life that you need to have bubble baths and weekends away to "escape from". Things like not letting bills pile up, saying no to others people some times, etc.

    It's taken me many years, but I'm at the point now where I can even identify very early warning signs. For example, if my stress is building I start to get fussy about having matching pairs of pegs on each clothing item on the line. Little things like that. They are my signal to take stock, identify what is causing me stress, and if I can't change it, become conscious that I will be anxious at the moment and that is OK, it is not because there is anything wrong with me, it is just because this, that, the other is happening in my life right now.

    Caring for a baby is stressful. Not only that, it is HARD WORK- and lots of work! It's ok if you're not on top of your anxiety right now. It sounds like you're working on it and that's the most anyone can do. You're 100% not alone (however it is difficult to talk about as talking about your anxiety can often trigger it!)
    Thank you for sharing. That is really helpful xxx

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    Quote Originally Posted by BornToBe View Post
    I'm not sure if you drink coffee? Caffeine gives me awful anxiety. Even a decaf in the morning can have me waking through the night with a racing heart. And having anxious thoughts about anything from accidents, health to financial troubles or world war III. I'm a different, calm, easy going person without it. So if it's at all possible you have a caffeine sensitivity, hard as it is, it might be worth a trial of cutting it out.
    I do, a lot. I'll give that ago. I'm sure I'll miss my coffee but my mental health is more important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mellie29 View Post
    I do, a lot. I'll give that ago. I'm sure I'll miss my coffee but my mental health is more important.
    I should also mention I am caffeine sensitive. I can have 1-2 machine coffees before 11am and a machine decaf or cup of tea before 4pm, then it's water or decaf tea. I also love 70% cocoa chocolate but can only have a few bits in the morning. Alcoholic drinks I always mix with lemonade or dry as cola is the worst!

    So I don't need to have none, but I do need to take care with it.

  9. The Following User Says Thank You to Stretched For This Useful Post:

    Mellie29 (27-09-2020)

  10. #7
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    I got 'accident/injury' anxiety about a year after I had my daughter - I don't know the word for it but I started avoiding driving with her in the car or I'd go to my mum's house and remove all potential slipping hazards...but I was fine to drive on my own etc. Something about parenthood triggered a fear response towards those I consider more at risk.

    Caffeine can definitely increase anxious feelings - but try cutting down gradually instead of stopping suddenly to minimise withdrawal.

  11. The Following User Says Thank You to Elevatormusic For This Useful Post:

    Mellie29 (06-10-2020)


 

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