What a thing to say! Who needs reminding that they need to breathe?
Well, I do. Yes, I know you’re inwardly thinking, ‘Weirdo!’ – but just bear with for a moment.
A really lovely nurse once told me that you need anxious people – they’re the people that usually get things done.
Remembering that I have to tell myself to breathe sometimes, well at the moment, that’s quite often actually, comes from observing a little mindfulness. I have always been an anxious person. A really lovely nurse once told me that you need anxious people – they’re the people that usually get things done. I think she’s right. However, an anxious person stops getting things done when the anxiousness gets too much.
Before I became a mum, cycling and yoga, and before that, wine, vodka and dancing, used to keep my anxieties as bay. But when that first 24/7 bundle of sleep-depriving snuggliness arrived, things changed, lets say, rather a lot. As any mum knows – or parent for that matter – once baby arrives your time is no-longer your own. Your needs suddenly sit at the bottom of the washing basket along with all the ironing and the bits of tissue that snuck into the washing machine and got all over the dark wash (never the white wash).
I found myself in mummy-land really struggling with anxiety, worrying all the time that something bad was going to happen, and that I wouldn’t be able to cope when it did.
Anyway. I found myself in mummy-land really struggling with anxiety, worrying all the time that something bad was going to happen, and that I wouldn’t be able to cope when it did. So much was my worrying, that after a couple of months of constant crying, citalopram helpfully sorted me out. This was ok, but I knew that it was only treating the condition, not actually helping me sort out the problem I have with anxiety. When we had bundle of sleep-deprivation no2, I had taken myself off the citalopram and been cycling and active as much as I could.
What then ensued was me always waiting for the next calamity/wee/breast-feed/etc/etc to happen – and so I was always holding my breath!
However, two small children meant double the craziness and double the constantly being needed! Eek!! We even potty-trained Sidney when Harriet was a few weeks old – just to add to the fun – he was totally ready and had it nailed in 5 days. On the flip side, what then ensued was me always waiting for the next calamity/wee/breast-feed/etc/etc to happen – and so I was always holding my breath!
I finally noticed that I was doing this and realised that this was probably making me feel anxious all the time. So, I had no choice, but to tell myself to breathe… Just breathe Sarah. Take a few long breaths. Breathe out slowly. And it worked. The anxious tummy cramps I give myself when I hold my breath all the time slowly stopped, and I felt in so much more control. And if the Harriet had to wait for her feed, or Sidney needed a wee while I was washing up – it’s fine. Its ok.
I feel proud of myself when I feel myself taking long, deep breaths
Recently the tummy cramps have been back, and I have caught myself holding my breath again, a lot. Even when I’m pouring a cup of tea. So I am literally telling myself to breathe. Anxiety is a thing that I manage. I have to manage it otherwise I will go bananas, and I don’t want that. I feel proud of myself when I feel myself taking long, deep breaths, telling myself that its ok if I’m writing this, and not working on a deadline that is due. This is important too. I can take a deep breath and its ok if both my children are wanting things but I am going to finish the washing-up anyway. Them waiting for me helps them learn that they can’t have what they want as soon as they want it.
Breathing. Thats the most important thing I can do right now.