Such a small word, but it holds so much. How do you explain anxiety to someone who has never experienced it? Anxiety is completely debilitating. As a confident teen and young adult, I had no idea what anxiety really meant. Having read psychology at university, I understood the mechanics of anxiety. But it is nothing compared to to real life experience of it. And to see a child suffer with anxiety is, if possible, even worse. Full blown anxiety didn’t hit me until around 15 months ago, but I now struggle with it a lot. I do my best not to show it, but some days, it overwhelms me. I worry about everything. Constantly. I’m never relaxed. I’m never at ease. There’s always something occupying my mind. And it’s so exhausting. I can talk about it sometimes to one or two people, but talking about it never relieves the anxiety. I know it must be so hard for others to understand it completely, especially those who have never experienced it. As a person I have changed so much in recent years. I’m not the same confident person I was. I’ve lost parts of me that would be so useful these days. Some people enjoy reminding me of the things I’ve lost, in a joking, supposedly light hearted way. It’s not funny to me though. I’m already anxious about those things. I’m anxious about being anxious. I judge myself more harshly than anyone else could. I second guess every decision. I don’t really need others pointing out all my flaws or making fun of them. Some days, I don’t want to leave the house, but I force myself to. Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed. But I do. The reason I push myself each day is for my family. I’m needed – even on those days where I don’t feel useful. My boys do need me. And I may not be the best mother in the world, or the most patient, or the most energetic, but I do my best. I want to be with my boys. I want to be the best parent I can. And I try. Every day. I make wrong decisions. I’m hard on myself. I don’t always have the answers. I don’t always react the most positive way. I don’t always get things right. I’m not the parent I always aimed to be. But I’m doing the best I can. My boys are not always perfectly behaved – they’re just kids and they are dealing with an imperfect mother and an imperfect life. But we do our best. One of my boys suffers from anxiety too, something that has affected him for a couple of years. And when he’s anxious, he’s not his best self either. My husband and I understand and accept that. Some family and friends accept it. Other people don’t. They make snap judgements about his immediate behaviour without putting it into context. It’s caused all sorts of problems for him and us. But he’ll survive because we love him and we are there for him. Having struggled with it myself, I am the first to explain his behaviour. Because I know he’s not a “bad” or “naughty” child. He’s simply struggling to deal with these big, anxious feelings. I know that feeling. It’s isolating. It’s tiring. It’s heartbreaking. Why am I sharing this? I don’t really know. But hopefully, it’ll help someone else know they’re not alone. Perhaps it’ll help others to broaden their minds when dealing with others. Maybe it won’t do either of these things, but at least I tried.