Since I had Elsie, I’ve suffered on and off with anxiety. I think it is in part due to the trauma of her birth, the fact I didn’t know if there was going to be a serious problem with her stomach valve when she was born and then the fact that we were separated for the first hour or so after her birth as they ran tests on her. I also bled a dangerous amount during my caesarean – loosing 3.5 litres of blood and was very lucky to have survived. While she was having tests I was having a blood transfusion and for the first few days after she was born I was desperately pale, fragile and in pain. It took months for me to build back my strength and only recently have I started to really feel physically well again.
At the time I don’t think I realised what sort of an effect this experience had on me, but over the months that followed her arrival my mental health took a knock. Discovering my mum had cancer a few weeks after Elsie was born added to my vulnerability at the time and made me suddenly very aware of mine and my family’s mortality. Slowly, without even realising it, anxiety crept up on me.
When it’s bad, my anxiety can affect me in many ways – I am restless, don’t sleep as well, my mood is more erratic and my confidence can take a hit. One of the areas I’ve experienced anxiety in recent months is to do with social events, even something as simple as an evening out with girlfriends can stir up panicky feelings. I think this is is in part to do with the fact that I don’t go out as much these days, I am quite literally out of practise when it comes to night time socialising and the idea of leaving the house on my own can feel daunting. Only recently I was due to go out for my sister’s birthday drinks in London, I spent the day worrying but decided to try and ignore those feelings; I got myself dressed and did my makeup only to have a panic attack which resulted in me staying home.
Despite the occasional more severe episodes my anxiety is mostly manageable. I’ve built some wonderful friendships with women who are in the same stage of their lives as me – often tied to the house, looking after young children and with little time left at the end of each day to nurture themselves. We share the joys and the exhaustion of motherhood in equal measure, we make each other laugh and crucially, we never judge. I’ve learnt to open up and talk about things if I’m feeling vulnerable and I’ve practised taking things easy and being kinder to myself. I’ve also discovered the power of essential oils in emotional wellness and I use them most days both to help calm and soothe if I feel panicky or to help me to sleep more soundly.
I created this blend recently which has been particularly helpful during times of anxiety so I thought I would share it here:
In a 10 ml roller bottle add the following oils:
- 8 drops lavender oil
- 5 drops cedarwood oil
- 5 drops tangerine oil
- The rest of the bottle filled with organic sweet almond oil
I apply this blend to my wrists, behind my ears and on my pulse points, on the bottom of my big toe, down my spine and over my heart. I diffuse these three oils together to release the same calming effect in our home. I have also put a drop of each of these oils in my hands and rubbed them together placing my hands over my nose and mouth and breathing deeply but calmly. This really helps at bedtime to promote a restful night’s sleep, (provided one of the kids doesn’t wake of course!) These oils are safe to use on children too so after their bath I will often apply some to the children to help them relax. I am still astounded by the ability of nature to help heal and promote wellness for all our family.