Coping With Health Anxiety About My Child

I have spent a lot of time worrying about my child. It’s wasn’t a rare occurrence when I would toss and turn in bed imagining the worst possible thing happening. I would see it in my head and picture a terrible scenario and ponder on it. My heart would hurt and I would get so upset feeling like it’s actually happening. But eventually I would stop myself and bring myself back to reality- that it isn’t.

See, we are human. And anxiety brings things that aren’t really happening into play and makes us believe for a moment that they are happening. That’s when a panic attack can set in.

I’ve come to know panic attacks very well and I’m at the point where I can talk myself down from them most of the time by reminding myself that I’m not in that situation or that those things aren’t really happening and it’s just something that my mind is manifesting. If I couldn’t talk myself down then I would quickly message my friend Abbi (who is almost always awake at 3 in the morning for some reason) and I let her know what my heart is racing about and she would most always put it into perspective for me.

Dr. Google is NOT our friend by the way.

When my son was a baby, I would stress about SIDS. Then, my anxiety would go to things like cancer. Coronavirus didn’t help at all either.

These things are rare but we hear about these things often and that makes parents start to worry. Questions like “What if this happens to my child?” “What would I do if this happened?”

I have done more than my fair share of googling, along with countless conversations with his pediatrician and I can tell you this: those things are rare. Your worrying wouldn’t help the situation even if it was happening. The worry will only hurt you and your ability to be happy.

My heart aches for the parents who have lost children. Their strength is just unbelievable. I don’t want to know what I would do if I was in the same position.

But to worry about those things will not make the likelihood any different.

The fact of the matter is: the chances are so incredibly low of something like that happening. Your mind is what is making you see these things as a current threat.

A major fault of mine used to be that whenever I see my son being so sweet or so cute, my heart would feel so full and so happy. I would think to myself that this was too good to be true. And then I immediately self-sabotage with the question, “What would I ever do without him?” And then my mind starts to go to the worst-case scenarios.

Now, in those moments I STOP. I correct that thought immediately and don’t let it progress any more than that. Turning a happy situation into a bad one was by far the worst thing and I hated myself for it. And unfortunately with anxiety, it’s common and I’ve heard so many other moms say that they do the same thing. It does take time to control those intrusive thoughts but I have found so much more peace and avoided many sleepless nights by stopping those thoughts before they become a problem.

Basically, changing the subject in my head, if that makes sense.

Understand that anxiety is nothing that you did wrong. It’s nothing that you should be ashamed of. Talking about things does help and even repeating the thoughts that are in your head out loud to yourself will make you realize that they aren’t a threat to you in that moment and help you calm down.

I know that so many moms worry about the health of their child. We are moms and worrying comes with the territory. I also know that there are moms who were like me- who’s mind progresses that worry until it is no longer just a worry to them. Don’t give into those thoughts. Try to stop them before they get out of hand but understand that those things are just what they are- thoughts.

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