Parenting With Anxiety

Running With Fear

I am fully aware that it is more likely my daughter is going to smash her face into the pavement after tripping, then it is that she is going to be abducted. I am still 100% aware when I am out alone or alone with my daughter, because it still does happen and my anxiety knows that.

Running With Fear

I usually run around my block in the morning. Since the sun is rising later, I have turned to the gym to run on the dreaded treadmill. I hate the treadmill, but I’m afraid to run in the early, dark hours. I am scared that something bad is going to happen to me and I won’t see it coming. Women are vulnerable when it is dark and they are alone. This is the norm society has built around us. So, as I train to run a half marathon, I also have to keep in mind my safety. 

Half of my concern is legitimate because women do get assaulted while they are out running or walking. That is the world we live in. The other half of that fear is from my anxiety, which enhances the mindset from cautious to down right fear. My anxiety causes me to fear things like crowded rooms with few exits, open areas of large crowds, tight spaces, and the dark. I avoid opening day at the movie theater, I’m not a fan of parades or festivals, I sleep with a light on, planes make me extremely nervous, and I usually don’t go out after dark. This is my life.

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Anxiety Fears

My irrational fears are not debilitating, for the most part. My medication helps ease most of them. When I had my daughter, however, I acquired other fears that revolved around her health and safety. My fear of death also transformed into the fear of my daughter not having a mother. When I am out of the house I am in high alert, with or without my child. 

I’m not sure where this fear stems from. I’ve had some pretty terrible things happen to me by some really questionable people. However, I knew these people. These people weren’t random strangers that struck out of the blue. Maybe it’s because I’ve been branded by people I trusted that I don’t give strangers the benefit of the doubt. I walk around daily, fully prepared for something terrible to happen, yet I’ve had mostly positive experiences while out with my daughter. 

Parent Fears

My daughter draws in a lot of attention. It’s her blue eyes. I’m not going to lie, she’s pretty fricken cute, and I’ve had a lot of strangers tell me this. Some have gone as far as wanting to touch my child which amps up my anxiety ten fold. Old men get confused when I grab a hold of my daughter after they attempt to reach out to her. Children are ripped out of their mothers hands on a daily basis, and I am fully aware of that. Both my motherly instincts and my anxiety kicks in, and I can feel the panic rush through me, even though my conscious knows it’ just a sweet old man. 

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It’s not likely that someone is going to jump out of a bush at me at 530 in the morning, and it’s also not likely that someone is going to dash at me with the intention of stealing my child. I know this. I know that it is more likely my daughter is going to smash her face into the pavement after tripping, then it is that she is going to be abducted. I am still 100% aware when I am out alone or alone with my daughter, because it still does happen, and my anxiety knows that.

So, when a man decided to walk towards me, while I was sitting with my daughter at the park, I got up and walked away. I gathered up my child as he walked closer, and I headed in the opposite direction. Irrational fear or quick thinking? Honestly, I am not sure, but I wasn’t going to stick around to find out.

Mothers Intuition 

I saw the man pull in with his red Intrepid. He was wearing a gray shirt and dark shorts. His dog hopped out of the car with him, and he headed over to the field to the right of me to let his dog roam around. When I am with my daughter, I am focused. I am watching her, but I am also paying attention to our surroundings. People, animals, and cars. I watch who comes in and who comes out. I saw the guy drive in, but nothing about him alerted me at that time. The field he was in with his dog was quite a distance across from me, on the adjacent corner of the park. 

Where we were, my daughter and I were pretty far away from the crowd. The kids on the playground were getting a little rough, so I brought my one year old way out there to be alone. We enjoyed a snack together away from the chaos, and my one year old freely frolicked around in the grass. Where we were, it was pretty obvious that we were trying to get away and be alone. We were way off in the quiet corner of the park. So, when I saw this man walking directly toward my bench, I did not hesitate to quickly gather my toddler and our things. 

My anxiety spiked, and my motherly intuition screamed. Flags went up, and I listened. Honestly, I am not sure what the man’s intentions were. Perhaps he saw a woman with her daughter and he innocently wanted to spark up a conversation. If that was the case, he wasn’t reading the, “I’m all the way over here because I want to be left alone,” vibe that I was emanating, and my walking away gave him the better message. Either way, this man’s intent was to clearly interact with me, and I was not about to let my daughter be a statistic. 

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A Fearful World

This is a reality. Where women have to strategize their morning run, and flee when a stranger approaches them. When a quiet day at the park could potentially turn into a child abduction. This is the world that feeds my anxiety, and prevents me from having a nice day with my daughter. Daily news updates on women’s bodies being found in ditches, and babies gone missing. It’s overwhelming, it’s scary and it sucks.

Maybe my fear is on the side of irrational, or perhaps that was the day it saved my daughters life. I’ll never really know, and I am perfectly fine with that. If my anxiety is the sixth sense that keeps my daughter safe, then I’ll spend the rest of my life running with fear.

 


 

 

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*Disclaimer – Statements made in this post are of my own opinions, views and thoughts. I am not a professional and should not be regarded as such.

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