Content warning: This post discusses violence and mental health issues.
I grew up in a violent home, both physically and emotionally.
While it’s given me the ability, as a highly attuned empath, to walk into any room, any time, anywhere and immediately pick up on the mood, no matter how subtle.
It has also given me a huge amount of anxiety that I have carried throughout my whole adulthood. I’ve been diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and PTSD from my childhood trauma. I’ve also been diagnosed with hypochondria, now referred to as health anxiety. It’s slowly ruining my life.
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In November 2021, I gave birth to my second son. He was squishy, delicious and looked just like his big brother. He still does.
I was excited to have our littlest member out and in the world, and was looking forward to the chaos and love that two meant. I didn’t realise at the time what a huge difference having two kids would mean for my mental health.
I’ve always been very proactive about seeking help for my mental health, especially given my diagnoses.
I manage to keep on top of it with regular psychologist appointments, daily journaling and as much self-care as you can manage as a working mum.
So, I had assumed, with the birth of the second, it would be more of the same.
However, due to just the sheer number of children I suddenly have (it’s true that having one kid feels like one and having two kids feels like 20) getting some self-care time and doctor’s appointments that weren’t in relation to the increasingly bizarre daycare illnesses that have trekked their way into our home has been nearly impossible (what is Slapped Cheek Syndrome and why is this a thing?).
So, I’ve found myself facing down my mental health demon once again, and it’s manifested in its standard form of panic attacks and health anxiety.
In the last month, using the diabolical tool of Dr Google, I’ve diagnosed myself with cancer of the bowel, pancreas, gallbladder, breast and lymphatic system.
I’ve also thought I was having a heart attack, stroke and an aneurysm. Sleep deprivation from having a seven-month-old, and from the onset of the anxiety, means that I’ve been hazy, foggy and fatigued.
This has meant I also thought I had a brain tumour.
The problem with health anxiety is that it can take a seemingly innocuous symptom, like fatigue, and twist it into a death sentence.