Public freakout. Post pregnancy social anxiety.

Something happened this past Saturday which has triggered me to wrote a post. I’ve never been the most confident of people on the planet. I somehow awkwardly, muddled my way through both primary school and secondary school –  when I chose to attend (I held the record of 96 lates in one trimester). However, during an outing with Euan for coffee and lunch I had a public freak out and had to leave the shopping centre which we were in.

Let me elaborate. I’ve never been confident and I never will be. I just don’t have personality that fits in with a healthy a social life. I shy away from most forms of public contact. This is weird, with a career working in the public sector. I should be used to socialising but it has never been easy. I have very little friends and consider myself a bit of a loner.

I think I’m much alike my Father, he is a man of few words and too finds the outside world hard work. He refuses to take public transport or eat out. Spends most of his time indoors at home. I have recently discovered that I am becoming more and more like him by the day.

I have previously enjoyed heading out and was never afraid of busy places, I liked the hustle and bustle and could spend hours people watching, however, post baby, I have this new found level of social anxiety and have discovered that the outdoors has become a terrifying place. Especially if I’m to venture out alone.

I’d previously be happy to get the bus alone, nip to the shops, enter a food hall but now, I can’t seem to stray far from home, at least not on my own and I certainly can’t handle busy. It’s a miracle I made it to swimming class last week, trying to being myself to a mindset that will allow me to venture out takes a lot of thought and a whole lot of effort. If I’m honest, it can make me feel afraid and vulnerable. This is all new and never before having my Daughter did I feel like this. I don’t know what has changed or why my mind has become so dark.

I know how crazy that may seem to some of you. How hard can it be to step outside? Something I’d have previously laughed at myself for,and something that I took for granted having never dealt with a great deal of social anxiety.  I didn’t even know such a thing really could exist. I mean, who is afraid to step outside? Silly, huh?.. Well, I’m now the one who is afraid. I’ve become reclusive and afraid.

On Saturday we had decided to take a trip out for coffee and some light lunch. Euan works on a Sunday now, a Saturday is the only day we have to spend together. Having reached the shopping centre, I was suddenly hit by surprise. The center was full of people, so busy and crazy it make my head fuzzy and I could no longer concentrate. I was on my own, trapped in my own mind and I shut down and became reclusive. We stopped by several spots to look for a menu and pick out food but each stop we got to, it was too much and I couldn’t think.

The queues were long, people were rushing past in all directions. I couldn’t handle it. I became upset and angry and asked to leave. We spent about half an hour trying to get organised to get out with our baby only for the day to be ruined by a rush of panic that struck me. We didn’t get lunch, I spent the whole trip being agitated and becoming argumentative and upset. The afternoon was turmoil and spoiled.

We got home and I cried. I don’t know what was wrong with me. I was stopped in my tracks and this has never happened before prior to having Eleanor. I used to be okay with a busy environment, I didn’t mind to queue and I’d certainly not be missing out on food just because there were too many people around. I felt as though I was drowning. I just wanted to lay on the floor and disappear. I just wanted to go home. This brings me to question what has changed. Why have I become so reclusive? As a new Mother, shouldn’t I be relishing on time outdoors with my fiance rather than ruining our only day together by being silly?

Shouldn’t I be relishing in time outdoors no matter what setting? I feel as though I should be thankful for getting out but the thing is, I’m not. I don’t want to go out anymore. At least not far and not anywhere that is busy.

I don’t know if this is simply a short term affect of having a baby, if it’s a factor of growing up. Has aging led to a new found anxiety? Is this down to spending more and more time indoors recently? I don’t know but I don’t like it. I don’t like to feel scared and afraid. I don’t like to feel as though I’m trapped indoors because the outside world brings too much upset.

I hope that this is just a short lived spell of anxiety and that it will pass. I feel trapped in my own mind right now, a prisoner of my own thoughts but I have a lot going on and my life is quite manic as I adjust to life as a Mother. Motherhood has certainly come at a price and with Euan now working two jobs it’s a lonely life. I have my baby but how much baby can one person take before you require adult intervention?

I’m a shell of my former self for sure, with spending most days indoors alone with Eleanor it’s pretty tough. I eat meals alone and I go to bed alone a few nights of the week. I spend the days alone in the home, maintaining the daily tasks and entertaining my baby in between feeds and nappy changes. I miss Euan when he isn’t around, I sometimes feel as though I am living as a single mum. It’s certainly not easy and I think my lack of socialising has led to an increase of social anxiety.

Hopefully I can work on getting out more and that this is just a phase, my mind will snap out of this behaviours and I can become my old self again with time. I hope that with time, I’ll soon adapt to having Euan work two jobs and not cry each time he leaves for his evening or weekend shifts. I’ll give it some time, I’m going to give myself time to work on myself and get back to a happier place. I’m not unhappy, I’m just a little lost right now.

Has anyone had problems with social anxiety post pregnancy? Has this just been a phase for you?

What advice do all of you parents out there have for this first time Mum? I’m currently a nervous wreck with the inability to do things on my own.

6 thoughts on “Public freakout. Post pregnancy social anxiety.

  1. D. Wallace Peach

    I’m so sorry that you had such an awful outing, and I’m not an expert on this, so take what I say only if it feels right to you. Pregnancy does all kinds of crazy stuff to our hormones, and having a baby to care for is wonderful but also stressful. I would suggest not worrying about this too much and giving yourself some time to adjust to all the changes to your life. Be gentle with yourself and hopefully things will smooth out. ❤

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    1. Keren Polland Post author

      Thank you for stopping past and taking the time to comment. I think we will take it a little slow and just go steady for the time being! Perhaps take some more time to get out into the fresh air rather than inside busy supermarkets and the town centre. Take care also x

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  2. Bella

    Hi, how old is your little one? Thank you for writing such an honest post. I could have written it word for word right down to the fear of ending up like a parent. I have had the exact same feelings. My anxiety got to such a high level I started having nocturnal panic attacks however they have now stopped and I’ve been sleeping a lot better. I do think hormones have a lot to do with it.
    I was never the most confident person to begin with and think the isolation of maternity leave has been counter productive for me. I love spending time with baby but my self worth has taken a real battering. I really should go to baby groups and do try but the anxiety is truly exhausting.

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    1. Keren Polland Post author

      My baby has just gone 14 weeks, how about yours? I am glad you found my post and also so sorry to hear that you have not had the best time lately and have been suffering with the anxiety and your own fears too. I’m breastfeeding and I know they say that can cause severe hormonal issues, do you breastfeed? With the classes, I too feel the same way. I want to go out and do things but I find myself looking to use any excuse not to do so. It’s really tough and quite heartbreaking. This happy time has been plagued with emotions and fears. I wish I had some tips for you but I’m yet to find many of my own. Perhaps start small, do the things that you enjoy and try to see the good in each day and work your way up to getting out. No matter for how long or how far, take a small walk if you can. Again, I know this is far from easy. I wish you all the best x

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  3. Bella

    My baby is 8 months old, I hope that doesn’t worry you more! Apologies if it does. It will get better though as I feel tons better than I did when my baby was younger. Your little one is still so tiny, go easy on yourself as the hormones will certainly be at play here. I did breastfeed for 6 months and found I was an emotional wreck to be honest and truly exhausted. Being a new Mum is so hard and it takes time to adjust and discover the new you. They say it’s about discovering a new normal and I really believe that too. The tears have stopped now and I think I’m being alittle lazy to be honest. i could go out more if I wanted to. I’m going to give myself something to do each weekday (well maybe every other weekday as that’s maybe pushing it) and try and get out more… take care and things will get better promise…x

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    1. Keren Polland Post author

      Well I’m glad to hear it’s not just myself on this boat and that it does get better. There’s not much of a normal around here for now but I’m hoping as time moves on and Eleanor begins to develop more and more we will find our feet. It is all just a case of time I think. I’m glad that hat you feel better! Trying to do something every other day is a great idea. I keep telling myself the same but sometimes I never get round to much of anything. I think I will start off with baby steps and try glto get back into the habit of reading when I can get the peace in between feeds and changes.. You know how it goes. I wish you all the best, keep at it. You must be doing a great job x

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