If An Unkept Home Causes You Panic, You Are Not Alone

After breakfast, you clear the table and wash the dishes. You step into the living room to find that in an effort to locate a particular toy, the kids have dismantled a few toy boxes.

The first question that pops into your head is, “How did they create such a mess in such a short amount of time?”

The question quickly is followed by a flood of anxiety, the rush of uneasiness that causes you to fidget and sweat as you clamor over how to regain control of your living room.

Scary Mommy writes on her battles with anxiety:

Cleaning up clutter is not just another thing on the to-do list like packing my kids’ lunches, changing the car’s oil, or making my next dentist appointment. It’s a full-on ragey kind of panic. It’s the feeling that I literally can’t breathe with all the clutter that’s filling our house. It’s a feeling that the world is a chaotic place that I can’t control, and all of that chaos is represented by the loud, unruly, angsty wreck that is my living room.”

The uncontrollable urge to have things put where they belong, and to have a clutter-free living space, is a near-impossible feat when you have kids playing and exploring all day.

If you have these feelings often, you may be one of the 3 million people a year suffering from an anxiety disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic.

When you are feeling out of control, one of your first approaches may be to get rid of all the things that cause clutter or mess, i.e. get rid of all the kids’ toys.

That method isn’t always the family favorite, as the kids cry for their teddy bear they see the neighbor kid playing with.

Downsizing periodically can help, and is often a practical approach to maintaining a clutter-free home, but it isn’t a long-term fix for anxiety.

Plus, kids getting messy is a rite of passage. Unstructured play, that sparks creativity, gives children the environment to expand their minds.

However, it is also okay, to teach your children to clean up after themselves when they are done, showing respect for their things and for their space.

A better treatment for anxiety, rather than always trying to control everything around you, is to have a healthy list of actions you can do to make yourself feel at ease or to seek professional help.

Christine Coppa, writing for Parenting, has these kid-friendly go-to steps when she is struck with anxiety:

  1. Break out the Play-Doh or Legos: I find creating something calms me down.
  2. Go for a walk: Fresh air and exercise always helps.
  3. Call a mommy time-out: Let your child have a little screen time while you rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Try chamomile tea: It has a calming component
  5. Call a friend or family member: If you really need help, there’s no shame in it.

As those with anxiety know, anxiety not only has a mental factor, it has a strong physical reaction too.

Web Md reported on the general symptoms that all anxiety disorders share:

* Panic, fear, and uneasiness

* Sleep problems

* Not being able to stay calm and still

* Cold, sweaty, numb or tingling hands or feet

* Shortness of breath

* Heart palpitations

* Dry mouth

* Nausea

* Tense muscles

* Dizziness

If you can relate to these symptoms and experiences, you may be struggling with an anxiety disorder.

There are therapeutic options to minimizing symptoms such as psychotherapy, medications, and counseling.

The Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) is a great resource for those suffering from anxiety disorders”, according to Web Md.

Anxiety attacks can come out of the blue and seem to have no apparent trigger. They can also occur in scenarios that have been known to induce such reactions.

If you are fortunate to be introspective enough to know your specific triggers to an anxiety attack, or anxiety invoking situations, you should attempt to be preventative of an episode.

Being a mom and having an anxiety disorder is not as uncommon as you may think, and it is not a sentence to a more grueling and trying life.

Take care of yourself, get the help you need, and don’t force yourself into a box you don’t fit into.

Please let us know in the comments section if you have dealt with anxiety as a parent or caregiver, and if you have found a method of relief.

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