The fear of toddler groups…
Yesterday I did something that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time but always end up avoiding. I took Clem to a toddler music class. For some of you that may seem like nothing, you do it all the time. But for someone like me who suffers from social anxiety it’s a big deal. I even spoke to one or two of the other mums there. Admittedly it was nothing more than a hello but that’s a start. Yes we go to the park or we go to the local soft play in the leisure centre but I always try and pick times when I know it will be quiet. I’m sure that makes me a terrible mother. Clem loves other kids and playing with them. She was going to nursery twice a week which I admit made me happy because then I wouldn’t have to take her to toddler groups/classes. She was getting time to play with other kids and have fun. Just writing that makes me feel awful. She recently stopped going due to changes with the nursery and we decided that although it was nice to have a few hours to myself twice a week we will wait a while before finding her a new one. So I promised I would take her to some groups.
It took me a while but I joined a local children’s club, they do all sorts of different things and today we went along to our first class – toddler music. Clem absolutely loved it and seeing her play with the instruments, dance and sing was great. Before we went in I stopped outside, looked at my phone pretending I was waiting for someone. I know how silly that sounds but it gave me a few seconds to calm myself down, breath and take that step through the door. Once we were in there it was ok, everyone pretty much knew everyone else which was a little awkward but Clem is such a great girl that she was soon playing with all the other kids and making the parents laugh with her dance moves. Once the class was actually going there isn’t really much chance to talk to the other mums as everyone is too busy clapping or singing. Still, I spent most of the class worrying about how Clem was behaving – absolutely fine or what everyone else was thinking about us – probably nothing.
I’ve written so many posts talking about mental health and deleted them. I haven’t told a lot of people about what I’m dealing with. I guess it’s a bit weird blogging about it but I’ve suffered from depression in the past (my late teens/early twenties) which resulted in me self harming as well. Back then I found talking about things really helped. Most of the time I am fine but I can have my moments. I also have hypothyroidism and one of the symptoms/effects that can cause is depression. I can also get incredibly tired which isn’t ideal with a very active 19 month old. I’ve always been a bit ‘shy’. I was never one to ask questions in school, I didn’t really take part in any activities other than netball. I’ve always had a small group of friends, I sometimes struggle going out. If it’s with people I already know I’m ok but with new people I sometimes turn into a mess.
Anxiety is a horrible thing to deal with, I’m sat here right now thinking I shouldn’t be writing/posting this but it’s something that a lot of people have and deal with on a daily basis. I’m lucky in that I’ve never had a full blown panic attack but I’ve certainly had my moments where my heart races, I get all sweaty which has resulted in me having to drop my shopping and run from a shop. One of the things I do a lot is take photos, which to me is like a mini achievement point, something I can look at and think – well done you got out of the house today.
I don’t want Clem to miss out on experiences and things because of me. I will get there, slowly but I will. Next week we are going to try an art class followed by a dance one. I hope I can make it through the door for them.