Parenting with Social Anxiety
Is It For Me? Is It For You?
Can It Be Done?
If you read my very first blog post (some of you did. I thank you for that) then you will know that the decision to bring a child into my anxious world was not one that I took lightly. Despite a cloud of pressure showering down upon me over the family-bound obligation to provide my own parents with a brand new person to dote upon, Social Anxiety would always play a key role in any final decision. I mean, how do you make such a big decision with the odds stacked so overwhelmingly against any chance of success?
Could I realistically be a father? Can the frantic scramble of the delivery room ever be aided by the presence of a panic induced mess? Can school days be managed when both father and son are equally scared of meeting new parents and children? Can a role model ever exist when my weakest days leave me empty of effort, care, love and life?
Were these the only questions to be asked, whether to have a baby would still have been a difficult question to answer. But of course, when it comes to developing a nice little anxiety habit, there is no such thing as a just a few questions being posed within one’s own head. My brain was unsurprisingly paralysed in thought, whilst years having passed before I truly confronted the issue. Simply put, every life moment already so fraught with anxiety attached, seemed ten times more dangerous and threatening, when you added a child into the equation. Even more so when the child is mine, and one I will be responsible for protecting, developing and enabling to live a full and productive life.
The natural biology of life brought its own insidious pressure, with each passing year placing greater burden upon aching limbs and decaying organs, growing the knowledge that decision day was looming. Before long, said decision would not even be mine to make, mother nature would take the chance of fathering a child away, helped greatly by the unrelenting irritation of my anxious-thought spouting shoulder buddy. He’s no devil, he’s no angel, but he is one huge pain in the ass.
But I was not going to let that little pain in the ass hold me back anymore. It was time to act. It was time to get down to business. And, we all know what it means when an S.A.D suffer gets down to business… Time to write a very concise and considered pros and cons list. Should the pros have it, my partner and the circle-of-life win. Should the cons take the crown, then social anxiety be a worthy King… for about the 5 thousandth time. He is very, very good.
So, in fear of potentially unveiling a rather obvious, clichéd and disappointingly lazy header…
Look, I underlined it, so you know its proper
- Someone to focus my attention on to
- Represents the first time ever that I will look forward to meeting a new person
- As SocialAnxietyDad (@socialanxtdad #shameless-self-promotion), I will be naturally attuned to spotting any psychological issues my son may have.
- I will be tested in a positive way to confront my fears in new and productive ways.
- A reason to start this blog… not a bad one.
- I am a truly caring person
Equally Original Header
- My anxieties may be an intrinsic part of who he is.
- My anxieties may be passed on via interaction with my son.
- I may genuinely fail and be unable to carry out any of the tasks required of a good father.
- I will be tested in a positive way to confront my fears in new and productive ways. (No, this isn’t an erroneous double post, it’s classic British irony.)
- It would add even more pressure to need to control my anxieties, potentially making them MUCH worse. Ooooh, capitals. That really is MUCH worse. See. Again.
- I can be a person who truly doesn’t care.
So, we end on a low note. Perhaps I should have put the lists the other way round? Too late now, time to be decisive in life.
A draw… Who didn’t see that coming?
Time For Tea.
I need to think about this…
Tea Time Had; Now A Time For Talk
Thursday marked a highly productive look at mental illness across the whole of the UK, with #TimetoTalk Day already showing more than 23,000 logged conversations. Far from the isolating stigma of playground humour and office banter, mental illness is now being urged as a vital discussion point, from school to parliament, home to the workplace. We are now being actively encouraged to view mental illness as an equal to physical illness in both importance and treatability. With these changes, society is growing increasingly aware of how widespread and broad mental illness is, and we are more proactive than ever before in ensuring the mental wellbeing of future generations.
So, I think at this point, I can accept that I will carry the extra parental burden of a social anxiety bound guilt. Every time a trip to the park becomes a battleground upon which anxiety strikes, I will die a thousand times at the thought of my social panic becoming a palpable sign of Daddy’s company. But, no matter, I can only hope that we continue to live in a world progressing towards acceptance, understanding and sharing, turning our enslaving mental daemons into a foe we can all slay together. With this hope, I know I can be a father who can share his world with his son, truthfully and lovingly. And, it was with that kind of thinking that the pros had it in the first place.
No different to anyone who worries about their ability to be a parent. The one thing you can guarantee is love. But, after that, you can only hope that your best is good. enough. And despite all of its flaws, my anxiety can gold me up and prevent me from slacking off. When it comes to a new child, I won’t slack off, I will do my best. So whether you have anxiety problems or not, your love is no weaker and no less important to share than anyone else’s.
You know what? The only bad thing about having my first child in March is that I didn’t do it sooner. It is scary now and will be even scarier later. It is an anxiety goldmine, sure to leave me at new lows, as my role as a parent is compromised by my anxieties. Yet, something I already feel without a shadow of a doubt, is that our new arrival is going to make each and every day, that much better.
I can’t wait! And if you are in a similar position, neither should you.
Terrifying. Yet Awesome!
I’m Ready. Kinda…
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Hope you enjoyed the read.
What other pros and cons can you think of to having a child as a parent suffering from an anxiety disorder? Of course, we considered many more than those listed here, but they were the priority in making a decision. I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments section, on Twitter & Instagram.
Subscribe to the blog and I will catch you soon for another update, review, opinion piece or whatever else takes my fancy, as I continue the journey towards being a true Social Anxiety Dad!