When Anxiety Returns

When Anxiety Returns | Freckled Italian

I’ve been having a hard time lately.

It started a few weeks ago—I was restless and irritated, like I wanted to jump out of my own skin. I stopped drinking my afternoon coffee and started running again and it subsided. Last year I wondered if I might get postpartum anxiety or depression since I’ve struggled with anxiety in the past, but I more or less felt “normal” after Sophie’s birth. For a week or two I felt weepy in the evenings, but I had prepared for it so I just kind of rode it out until it went away. Caring for a tiny human who needed us so desperately actually helped me put things into perspective, and for a long time I stopped obsessing over irrational fears the way I used to. I put things into baskets—worry about this now because it’s a real thing, worry about that later because it’s not happening yet, don’t worry about that because you made it up and it’s silly.

But then Thanksgiving came, and I was so excited to go home and see friends and celebrate Sophie’s birthday that I wasn’t even looking for the wave of anxiety that crashed over me and knocked me down. All day I was fine, but then the sun would set and I’d find myself thinking breathe in…breathe out, like I had somehow forgotten. I laid on the floor of my mom’s bedroom for what felt like a minute but was actually twenty. It was so familiar: a panic you can’t explain—or worse, a fear that you try to explain and realize it makes no sense as it’s coming out of your mouth, but even still you can’t shake it.

Reading and podcasts and therapy and also just years of experience have helped me get to a place where at least I know this isn’t forever—but I also know I have to work through it. Talking about it helps, and it makes me feel less crazy, which is why I always end up writing about anxiety when it hits because being transparent about my struggles seems to resonate and I think we could all use a little more support when we’re feeling overwhelmed.

Every time we come back from a visit to the East Coast, I spend that first day back home with the blues. Yesterday was that day—so I cleaned, and I put up Christmas decorations, and I poured heavy cream into hot tea and took bone broth out of the freezer. I went to Palo Alto to teach two classes and then I worked out. Self care for me isn’t a massage or a face mask, it’s good food and clean floors and exercise and an appointment request sent to my therapist.

It’s been a big year for me—I became a mother, we moved (twice), Rob took paternity leave and then went back to work, I tried to balance blogging and barre with being a stay-at-home mom. Sometimes I still don’t really know who I am or what my days should look like, but my family and the love and gratitude I have for this life we’ve built keeps me rooted even when the tide comes in.

Wishing the best for all of you this holiday season. Take care of yourselves, and remember to reach out for help when you need it—you deserve that.