I overthink everything, worry about things I can’t control, and find myself sometimes spiralling out of control. I was a person that didn’t worry about a thing until I was touched cancer. When all the control was taken out of my hands I was introduced to anxiety. I would worry about if I was going to live and if the cancer was going to return. I allowed anxiety to take over my life and the happy go lucky Kate disappeared and was replaced by the anxiety queen.
I have had to work very hard at hiding how I felt when I was around others. I needed to be surrounded by people that lifted me and who kept me going so I felt I couldn’t show them how I was feeling. I lived like this for 5 years until my husband was diagnosed. It was then I realised that I needed to beat this thing that was consuming my life and I needed to take the reins back on my own life. I succeeded and I took back control. With a lot of hard work and personal growth, I climbed the mountain of anxiety and I won.
Things were again running along smoothly for me when I was hit by another sledgehammer. Anxiety reared its ugly head again, but this time it was our eldest daughter Breeanna who had to fight. Watching my daughter suffer and have to deal with this horrid disorder broke my heart. I know first hand how hard it is to overcome anxiety, but watching Bree go through it all did a number on me. Now, not only did I have to stay strong for me and not allow my head to go back under the water so to speak, I had to stay strong for her. I took on her hurt where I could and I didn’t leave any stone unturned into getting her help.
Our vibrant, happy go lucky girl had turned into a shadow of herself. Normally a high achiever, Bree’s grades started to fall and this was a big stumbling block for her. She expected so much of herself and felt like she was letting everyone down around her. She held on to so much hatred and hurt that at times her mood swings were immense. Somethings that she said was hurtful, but I had to keep reminding myself that she didn’t mean it, it was just her way of dealing with things and getting things out. As much as I tried to put my armour on, little bits made it into my heart and I would dwell on where I was going wrong.
The blows kept coming for Bree when I took her to the doctors as she was very lethargic and some days had trouble staying awake. Yes, she had anxiety but as a mother, I knew something else was not right. I knew the signs, as I had been diagnosed with Glandular fever around her age so I took her to get tested. A positive result followed and also the news that her iron levels were dangerously low. Not only did she have the weight of anxiety on her shoulders but now we had another fight on our hands. We needed to get her healthy and back on her feet.
Bree’s health issues took a toll on me. I would cry myself to sleep, I would choke down my anger and I needed to focus on moving forward. I had to be tough at times and call her out on her bad behaviour, and I got very good at recognising the difference between the anxiety talking and when she was attempting to pull the wool over my eyes when she wanted to give up. I was exhausted trying to hold it all together. I was continuing to work, I had another daughter who was been left in the wings and I was pushing my husband away because I didn’t have the energy to deal with anything else. Everything I had worked hard on overcoming myself I was having to teach my daughter. Easy said than done, but I needed to show her what life is all about.
Writing is what got me through my cancer diagnosis and it also helped me to see what I had ahead of me. I suggested to Bree that she start writing down her feelings. It didn’t need to make sense, but putting words down onto a page would help her get things off her chest. I told her that she didn’t have to share it with anyone, it was completely up to her, but let her know I was proud of her no matter what and that one day I would love to hear her side of anxiety, how she feels. This is exactly what she did and I couldn’t have been prouder of her. She not only let me read her words, her story but she shared it on social media for the world to see.
Anxiety is an asshole. It is something that will eat you up if you allow it. Anxiety is something that Bree and I will always have within us, but just like me, Bree has seen the other side. She also climbed that mountain and won. Things still get her down, and she still has high expectations of herself but she now knows how to deal with it. She has systems put in place and can recognise when things are getting too much for her.
She no longer allows the dark thoughts to consume her. She no longer dwells on what others think of her and she no longer allows small things to turn into massive deals. My girl is tough! I see so much of the younger me in her every day. It’s scary how similar we are, but I finally allowed myself to be proud of me… her next big step is to become proud of her. I am! Together we continue to fight our anxiety. I will never allow her to give up!
Next blog I will share Bree’s words, her letter to the world. Tissues will be required.