The Case of The High Anxiety Mom

by Michelle Barone

She called and left a message on my voice mail. Holding back her tears, I could hear pain in her voice seeping through. ” I think I need some help–we are homeschooling and I am so worried.”When I spoke to her later that day, she spoke rapidly as she tried to tell me all that had been going on. I slowed my breath and dropped into deep listening mode, as I knew that this moment of her telling her story was the beginning of our connection.

I had heard elements of this story before, worry that she was doing something wrong, or not doing enough, that she was missing something and her children would somehow pay a terrible price for her mistakes. She had been yelling more, had a hard time sleeping and she was pretty sure she’d had panic attack the other day.

Anxiety is a feeling that most of us have had at sometime or another. Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. These disorders affect how we feel and behave, and they can manifest real physical symptoms. Mild anxiety is vague and unsettling, while severe anxiety can be extremely debilitating, having a serious negative impact on daily life.

We often experience a general state of worry or fear before confronting something challenging such as before a test, recital, or interview. These feelings are easily justified and considered normal. Anxiety is considered a problem when symptoms interfere with a person’s ability to sleep or otherwise function. Generally speaking, anxiety occurs when a reaction is out of proportion with what might be normally expected in a situation.