I am a very fearful person by nature. I don’t trust anyone and I get separation anxiety when I am away from my husband. I fear that something bad will happen to one of us when we are apart and it breaks my heart to think about being out of reach and unable to control the situation or care for him.
That’s just life though, right?
Most people don’t think like this and probably wonder how I get through a day with such high levels of anxiety. But the truth is, I don’t know any different.
Then my son came along and I had a very strong desire to be brave. No more fearing for the worst when my husband goes away for business, no more worrying if he made it to work safely after seeing a traffic accident on the news, no more wondering if the pilot of the airline I am flying loves his mother and has a healthy heart. (Yes, I wasn’t joking when I said I don’t trust anyone.) I keep telling myself I am not allowed to be fearful because I don’t want my son to feel insecure in my arms. If mommy is scared then who will protect me? This is the thought that constantly runs through my mind.
But I need to balance what some would say “irrational fears” – I need to separate them from my mama bear instincts.
Why? Because I want to be brave for my son.
So I practice being brave. I try to ignore what the media is telling me to be fearful of by not watching the news, but then I feel uninformed. I try to not worry when hubby leaves for a trip, but then I feel like I’m not loving him enough. I plan on getting on a plane next week for our first family vacation, and I want to be brave for Bubby, but my heart is pounding just thinking about it. You see, it’s just my instinct to want to protect myself and the people I love from the dangers of life.
Yeah, anxieties aren’t fun, but I believe in a weird way my anxiety is my love language.
I can’t change who I am and how I process this life we live, but I can be aware of it. I know my son will know I am scared one day, but that’s okay because he will learn to be vulnerable. I know that he will see me cry, but that’s okay because he will learn that expressing emotion is okay too.
In all of my struggles with trying to be brave for my son I learned this – If I am afraid of something, instead of just plain being fearful, I ask myself – how can I take action? How can I help the situation or take control? This thought process has helped tremendously in my battle with fear. I either realize it is completely out of my control and I must TRY (key word) to leave it be; or I find ways to learn more about the fear and that results in alleviating some stress.
Hard to visualize?
Here is a recent example – I am scared of terrorists, bad people with guns and the crazy idea that people seem to be living by these days – if someone crosses you – shoot them. I know that is extreme, but it’s happening more frequently and I’d like to keep myself, and my family out of the line of fire.
So how do I keep myself from feeling helpless and fearful?
I take action. I got involved with an action group that was founded after the unfathomable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. I stay informed and I call my congressmen and write letters. I am informed on the issue and knowing that there are thousands of others that feel the same as I do brings me so much comfort.
So yes, I have anxiety but I am trying my best to put myself in a position of bravery by acknowledging my fears and taking them on.
Why? Because I am a mom and I want to be brave for my son.