Anxiety

Anxiety 101

It is possible to live your life without worrying about every action you (or your loved ones) take.

Anxiety disorders include a variety of conditions including generalized anxiety, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, specific phobias, panic disorder, and more.

That said, anxiety is also a natural response to stress and an expected (although uncomfortable) part of life-especially during times of transition.

My goal is to help you understand anxiety, including the ways anxiety manifests in your body, and have the tools you need to live your life in whatever way is meaningful to you.

For many clients, combining medication with therapy is the best way to manage their anxiety. This can be done safely and effectively wherever you are in life-including during pregnancy and breastfeeding. In fact, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, I have additional support just for you.

Anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum

When you become a parent, it is like you deliver the baby…and a 10lb bag of anxiety.  If you feel like it was more than 10 lbs, you might benefit from assistance in helping your anxiety.  How do you know? 

 Anxiety is a natural response to situational stressors and the transition to parenthood is full of situational stressors (even if you have an uncomplicated and healthy pregnancy and delivery).  There is so much to learn, less sleep, body changes, and the cultural pressure to get it all right, without help, while looking good, and smiling.  (That pressure is a whole stressor and anxiety producer in of itself)! 

 However, when your anxiety is out-of-proportion to the situation, occurring without cause, overwhelming your coping mechanisms (or you don’t have coping mechanisms that are HEALTHY AND SUSTAINABLE), it is time to get help! In fact, you don’t have to wait until you are struggling to get help. I work with lots of parents before they ever become pregnant to help them prepare for success.

Therapy and medication are great options for anxiety, especially during the reproductive years and early parenting.  Joy Spring Mental Health is able to offer mental healthcare for parents in NC and VA experiencing anxiety during any part of their parenthood journey through a telehealth platform.

Postpartum Anxiety Treatment

When anxiety occurs during the pregnancy or postpartum and early parenting periods it can occur in several different ways.  It can include generalized anxiety (worrying uncontrollably and unnecessarily about a lot of routine things), specific phobias, intrusive thoughts or images from mild up to postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety.  Postpartum anxiety is especially tricky to recognize because it can feel so common, “normal”, and expected that it is brushed off or ignored until it becomes really problematic. Postpartum anxiety doesn’t discriminate-both parents can be affected.

How can you tell if your anxiety is on the spectrum of routine adjustment and love and care for your child or something more?

If your anxiety is interfering with your ability to function-eat, sleep, work, play, maintain your relationships OR if it is interfering with your ability to enjoy these aspects of your life….IT IS TIME TO GET HELP!  Safe (for mom, dad, and baby) and effective treatment options for perinatal anxiety are available for clients in NC and VA.

Treating postpartum (or any parental) anxiety Doesn't just help the parents

For parents experiencing anxiety, they may have overwhelming physical symptoms-stomach upset, racing heart, nausea, decreased appetite or comfort eating, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, and fatigue.  They may also have intense fear and worry that causes them to withdraw or avoid (our brains’ favorite way to handle anxiety).  Postpartum anxiety causes parents to miss out on being present, enjoying, and even remembering their time with their children and can rob them of their joy during their own self-care time.  (Yes, you have to have self-care time)!  Untreated postpartum anxiety can last for YEARS (and remember, we call it “postpartum anxiety” but it often develops prior to pregnancy and worsens during pregnancy and postpartum).

But postpartum anxiety isn’t only damaging for the parent.  Research has consistently shown that infants and children whose parents experience anxiety during pregnancy and the postpartum period are at increased risk of developing their own anxiety symptoms and disorders.  Treating a parent’s anxiety has been shown to reduce this risk and improve anxiety in children through school age.