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Anxiety and Being A Single Parent

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

Hello Mell’s Desserts family! Welcome to my second blog post in our new space!

I hope everyone is doing great?

As we move on swiftly through 2021, I can’t get my head around the fact that we’re in May already! Chapter 5 of 12 seems so scary that we’re almost 6 months into this year and what a year it has been?! I wanted to share with you all apart of me that is so important. Motherhood as it’s Mother’s Day for America, Jamaica and the world, I thought I’d share with you my experiences of motherhood with mental health. This small being has changed my life in ways I can’t even describe. As we know as parents it comes with a whole heap of responsibility! I always remember the moment the midwife placed Lilly on my chest, looking down upon her I saw not only my grandma lol but, I saw a life who would call me mummy for the rest of my life. Her two tiny little fists were ready to fight whatever the world was about to throw at us.

I hadn’t always been anxious, a worry pot yes, but I controlled my worry which then manifested into Eczema. I’ve been eczema free for sometime now and not effected by it since.

I started noticing my sleep was becoming less and less early 2018, I couldn’t put my finger on what was the problem. Yes I felt dread every time I stepped into work, work was so stressful and everything seemed to fall onto my shoulders. As admin I was the operation of the building, I oversaw the care of the staff and clients when they were in the building, but who oversaw my care and needs? Most days I wouldn’t have lunch or would go to the toilet throughout the whole day while others went on their lunch breaks and took their regular cigarette breaks. When I addressed this to one of my many managers he said that I need to see about my time management skills.

I was even more infuriated and became less and less confident in my role as time went on. I was screamed and shouted at daily or there were situations where I felt I couldn’t cope. My tasks seemed never ending as I was there part time I felt that I left so much for the other admin to do.

Work wasn’t my only stressor; I also had a wedding to plan, find a school for Lilly before the deadline and I had to plan Christmas and her birthday. The expectations were REAL and felt overwhelmed with life. I felt as if I were crumbling and drowning most days and wasn’t coping to complete the most simple tasks.

By the time I went to the doctors I ws so anxious and irritable all I could do was cry. With the drug and alcohol treatment service I was working at and already experiencing a spout of depression in the past, I knew the signs were there but I wasn’t prepared for what was about to come... When my doctor did her test (there is a name for it but I can’t remember it) a series of questions the doctor or therapist will ask regarding how you have been feeling in the past couple of weeks. I scored really high and she signed me off work for just over two months.

I asked her about mental health services and said that I could do a self referral instead of letting her do it.

With the time passing by with me at home, I then realised things were going wrong with my relationship with Lilly’s dad. Again his expectations were real and I couldn’t complete the tasks he had asked of me which led to disagreements.

The more things I had to do the less I was interested resulting in unorganised and things began to pile up.

There‘s nothing worse in the world than having your child look at you and you have no energy but to just sit there, I had no energy to play or do something fun. I remember Lilly passing me a tissue and helping me wipe away my tears, I remember her telling me everything will be okay mummy.

She has gotten me through so many things in her short life, she’s gone through her own struggles of separation anxiety and now she fears me leaving her too.

With the amount of therapy I’ve had over the years of being a single parent, I’ve learnt along my journey that therapy is a useful guide full of tools, knowledge, wisdom, understanding and revelations. We have to be truthful with ourselves to be able to accept what happened and be able to move on.

I’ve had five therapists over a space of a year; working with these individuals have made me into the woman I am now. I’m not apologising for my parenting, I no longer feel guilty of being a bad mum. There is know wrong or right way to parenting, keep loving, reassuring and protecting your baby. Help them to make sense of the situation, even if you don’t fully understand it yourself. Lilly adapted to life without daddy so quickly and it had nothing to do with me telling her the stuff that didn’t concern her. I soon realised that home to her was anywhere I was, not long after we left she was calling what used to be our home daddy’s house. That really shocked me, when did it become daddy’s house so quickly? Children are so resilient, brave and amazing beings as long as you love your children they will automatically love you in return and they know what time it is so don’t lie to them. I will always remember me asking Lilly if she knew that we no longer lived with daddy? Lilly being the clever child she is said. Yes mummy we have moved and mummy is so brave. I could have cried but decided to keep on walking holding her hand. Holding a love like that in my heart is something magical, we walked along in the cold dark evening with our belongs but in some may I knew I had to work on me at being the very best for this little girl.

Most of the time I felt so lonely, vulnerable, full of anxiety and scared but then it dawned on me, if I’m feeling like this how is Lilly feeling? Know matter what I went through or how I felt I was always present, be present hold on to the moment and always just go with flow of parenting, Lilly would always tell me or was quick to point out my change in character, telling me that I was snapping, or slamming a cupboard door, I would always apologise and was quick to adjust my temperament; to reassure her I’d tell her everything is okay and would give her hugs and kisses.

I remember the first time she asked me why I wasn’t working? I told her that mummy was sick and the doctor has told me to stay home. She was so caring and from time to time would ask me how I was feeling.

Myself and Lilly have come such a long way, I don’t know if I will ever overcome anxiety. The other night I got myself into a right frenzy about her dad! This is why we must be mindful of what we feed our minds! I was triggered by something I was watching! Come to think of it I can laugh it off now but, in the heat of the moment I thought the worst. This man is not even on my radar and I know full well we aren’t too! As I said to him last year to stop spreading the lies be a parent and step up for Lilly. It’s either he fix up or we continue to live as we are...

I am not bitter or upset I used to be about the lies he told on me, but you know what? God sees EVERYTHING.

I once read somewhere that once you start praying that person or thing can’t effect you. I have learnt to forgive him and others too. I don’t agree with him not being in Lilly’s life, but he made that choice not me. As adults we have the right to make choices good or bad we have to be accountable for the consequences and repercussions of our actions.

I was with him when I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, not once has he ever called and said let me help you with Lilly. Let me take her to the park or get ice cream... never.

Lilly understands that I need time by myself so she will play and entertain herself, I am thankful for my parents as they can distract or entertain her too.

I never imagined myself as a single parent, but really which woman would? Being a parent to me means family, couple, togetherness; it really wasn’t my plan as I had seen family and friends experience the role of single parent life. I didn’t want it for myself or my child as we both deserve better, but I’d rather be a single parent than to be in a relationship with a man who lost his way. I always remember the light bulb moment of the day I left it was like the final piece to the puzzle. I had mourned our relationship for months before this moment happened. I declared my love for him and how he made me feel, and all he said was so she says in a Jamaican accent and I never looked back.

My self worth, value and love took me and carried me out of the flat. I may have been homeless with my child but God and the Universe had me covered.

As mother’s sometimes we can feel so lonely but, you aren’t alone. Whatever you’re going through do you, love on yourself harder on the days when it’s hard. Talk to yourself have regular conversations and check in with yourself.

Do you know that self holds the answers we are seeking?

If you sit with yourself just long enough the silence has the answer, some of us are too scared to sit and listen to the truth of self, and would listen to the mind chattering away for some may think it’s the norm.

Flip the noise for silence, flip the negativity for positivity, find the peace from within and be the best you, mum dad you can be!

I found peace knowing that Lilly knew what was happening in her own way of understanding, I told her only what she needed to know for that moment, I tried keeping her to a routine and and keeping things similar to how it was at daddy’s house.

Alot of people have asked me how did I do it? How did I leave? You was together for so long... Honestly as I said before I had checked out of our relationship months beforehand, so leaving wasn’t hard. It was like he had become a man child throwing toys out the pram, when that didn’t work he’d turn disrespectful and had narcissistic ways. I would spend many hours mourning over us for a relationship I tried to save, but this dimwittted soul was clueless to what was going on as I saw him fail myself and Lilly time and time again. Maybe he had checked out of being a husband and dad too, but he failed to be honest with us. I kept asking if we were okay? Many times I felt lonely but we was supposed to be in a relationship, we were supposed to be getting married... He never said anything just yeah we’re good or I’d get silence. At times I felt so lost and spoke to my therapist about housing options (I was on it) but God was like nope the timing is now!

From the time I gave birth I’ve been the type of mum I do it for my child. All that I do, I do it for her; I put me on the back burner and put everyone in front (Lilly and her dad at the time). I then was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, but still I tried to take care of my family when only Lilly’s dad doubted my abilities and became a narcissist, I then had to become a mum dad and support myself and child with only the love I had.

I hope one day that I can be totally honest with Lilly when she is older, hoping that she will understand the choices that I made and forgiving me as her mum dad.

Having anxiety as a parent has taught me to sit still and trust in myself, God has given me the task to pursue the bringing up my daughter, only God knew that I was capable to do this so I will make sure that Lilly is loved, encouraged, educated and cared for. She has taught me things I didn’t even know. I thank God for making me a mum with anxiety it has encouraged me to slow down and watch the moments I have with Lilly.

Before I leave I want you to take a couple of things away from this post.

1. I want you all single parents to love and be kind to yourselves, it’s okay to feel your emotions and have a moment. Hug yourself.

2. Explain to your children the situation - not too much info or information that doesn’t concern them, just enough for them to understand in their young minds.

3. Resasure, love, play and distract your child / children they need to know or understand that everything is okay. You may be having a bad day but don’t put that burden on them.

4. Ask for help you are human and it’s okay to say Hey! Could you do the school run/ pick up for me? Could you help me look after.... while I have a moment to get myself together?

5. Let people know! It’s not about people knowing your business or what will people think? Who cares anyway what people say or think? If you have good people around you, then let them help or support you. I told the nursery that I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and they really supported me and introduced me to a mental health service that I had know idea was available.

(I’m not saying to share everything whatever you are comfortable with sharing.)

6. Breathe, rest, be safe, protect, and do whatever is easiest! Know one is out here judging you for your choices or decision making. Just do your best!

7. Make a to do list, be creative and journal to do lists are simple if you are not feeling up to a lot, then make your to do list short. Journaling can help with mood and can help you feel better once everything is written down.

8. Seek help make a doctors appointment today

If you or someone else you know is a single parent with mental health concerns then please share my post and get in touch with me.

You are not alone, we are in this together! Stay safe and look after yourselves.

Look around my website! You are doing great

Mell X

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