Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Anxiety +++

When I was on the Neonatal unit I saw some very brilliant examples of good care from the various doctors and nurses. Having spent most of my adult life working in and around the social care sector, I was all the more inspired by the people I met, who took such great care of Mother's like me. In between traumatic moment's I was taking mental notes, vowing to learn from these people and become a far better/more empathetic professional when it was all over.

In my unfortunate  state everything they did seemed to be amplified. If a member of staff did something nice, it wasn't just sweet of them, it was AMAZING of them, and likewise if there was something I didn't like it was a case of HOW DARE THEY?!

I think its a combination of many different factors that prompted such extremism on my part. The hormonal changes, the fear, the joy, the absolute unknown. Needless to say it's a really emotional time and that's before you even get started on the up's and downs of your baby's health.

Those of you who have read my pregnancy story will know that one of the things I was thoroughly unhappy about whilst being an inpatient on labour ward was the idea of being branded 'anxious' by the midwives. That's right, I seethed at the jovial jottings of the labour ward nurses when they would mark my notes with comments like 'Anxiety ++ or Anxiety +++

But scowling at their scribblings was never going to be enough and I couldn't settle until I had openly declared them totally unqualified to deem me anything other than pregnant.

See to me, It felt like I was being judged, that there was an expectation for me to be coping in a way that was different to whatever it was I was doing.

And okay, yes I did ask them a few questions, Okay more than a few questions, and perhaps the same questions several times over before asking another person exactly the same thing but hey! I was five months pregnant and hemorrhaging a pint of blood at a time for goodness sake!

Anyway, my report card pregnancy notes followed me in to the Intensive Care Unit after my Smidge had been delivered. 

Overwhelmed as I was, at first I didn't want to know a thing. I couldn't take in the words of the Doctors. I was mute.Yes me, Muted by a Doctor. But sadly it didn't last for long. After a week or so I was back on top form with the questions. Question after question after question.

There was little anyone could say or do to reassure me. It was because nobody would even dare to suggest Smidge might see the week out.no matter how much rephrasing I did!

One thing I could rely on though was the old commentary.

Anxiety +++ Anxiety ++++

Stop taking those stupid notes and tell me my babies going to be okay damn it!! Gee's I won't hold it against you if you are wrong! I will thank you for bringing me some relief.

One day, on a bit of a downer, I turned to one- day Hubby and I said to him

'Am I loosing the plot?'


'Am I loosing the plot ...you know, dropping my marbles so to speak?'

'Er...no. Don't think so, why?'

'Because they keep taking these notes, about my anxiety, I wonder if it's you know, an issue'

'No...I think you're all good' he says barely looking up from his I-phone.

'So why do they keep saying it then and writing it down?'

He looks straight at me“I don't know. Anxious is a stupid word to use in a situation  like this, if you were in the middle of a war zone, you wouldn't go up to someone and say 'You're looking a little anxious there' would you?”

A quick search on google reinforced his point.

“ A person facing a clear and present danger or a realistic fear is not usually considered to be in a state of anxiety”

Everyone copes differently I guess and for me 'coping' was believing that I was holding it together, the persistent note taking and offers for counselling tore apart my little fantasy and put me on bumpy terrain.

No, I needed to believe that how I was feeling and behaving was a totally normal reaction to the situation and entirely appropriate. Because if I didn't have that much, then I couldn't have gone in and faced each day. 

Thank you One-day Hubby for always knowing the right thing to say and for believing in me. It's what kept me sane.

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