Since we’re talking and all – #Timetotalk

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I am having a jolly kind of morning, all things considered. True, I am very bored of this perma-sore throat that has been pinging between us since January. But I had good news from my dentist today, we are squirrelled underneath a duvet watching Cars and eating hot cinnamon roll cake, and we’re going on an exciting holiday quite soon. It’s rather lovely.

So it’s probably a good time for me to post this. I have been sitting on it, not wanting to leave it here while I’ve had concrete things to stress about, because I’d be tempted to write it off as venting. And it isn’t venting: it’s more exposing than that. Imagining sending this out to the internet has literally made me full-body cringe since I wrote it.

Turns out I am happy to admit that motherhood is hard but maybe not the vulnerabilities I carry by myself. But why should we be ashamed of our vulnerabilities? They make us available to each other.

Over the last few months, this is what happens to me at night.

I worry that my children will be taken away from me in a horrific freak accident.

I worry that one of them will get a terminal disease and that I will have to let them go before me.

I worry that Tim will get cancer.

I worry that he will leave me one day.

I worry that I will get cancer, that I already have it, that some brushed-aside little anomaly is an unheeded sign of things to come.

I worry about the people I might have been a jerk to without realising it.

I worry about the times I have been a jerk deliberately.

I worry that I spend too much money and earn almost none of it.

I worry that my faith might crack open like a shell one day and I will roll out of it, alone and abandoned.

I worry about the most vulnerable in my society, and how much they are being damaged and made desperate by our current policies.

I worry about what it does to our children, growing up financially secure and insulated from these real situations. 

I worry that my lifetime might be the one where the NHS, staffed by passionate and devoted people and in my opinion our finest and most selfless institution, is dismantled entirely.

I worry that I have a serious character flaw that everyone knows about but me.

I worry that I will never write anything that is published, that is meaningful, that will mean I can call myself a writer without a half-shrug of embarrassment.

I worry that I am not raising my children right, that I am less than they deserve.

(I am worried that posting this is going to lose me half an audience.)

I don’t know what to tell you: most of the time I’m fine. I’m fine, I’m fulfilled and happy, everything is fine.

But I drive home from meetings late at night and I can’t stop worrying. I’ve never had something I couldn’t switch off, before. I worry about that too. I don’t know what to do about it, but if talking about it helps someone else feel less alone, then it’s worth saying.

I hope it’s been worth saying. Take good care, friends.

39 Thoughts on “Since we’re talking and all – #Timetotalk

  1. Stacey on 18 March 2016 at 12:20 pm said:

    You are not alone – I worry about all these exact same things all the time! We should try and switch off the worry although I don’t know how to.

    • racheljeffcoat on 19 March 2016 at 8:38 am said:

      I know exactly what you mean! It seems to spring on me at times when I’m less busy, or driving at night. Music is good. I’ve been looking into meditation etc just in case it gets worse. x

  2. Hi Rachel! I too am facing similar types of worrying lately… I think it’s because the winter has been very difficult on us as a family unit (being sick every couple of weeks, less sunlight, less sleep, etc!). I find myself getting pangs of anxiety at any moment during the day! I’ll be fine and then… oh wow! Why am I feeling so worried and anxious? I often worry that my daughter’s daycare will call me to come and pick her up because she’s sick; I often worry that I’m not the mother that she deserves; I often worry that my mother is judging me for the life choices I’m making (and I’m 32!). So I try to calm myself down, talk about it with my husband, and try to look at the bright side of my day (my beautiful baby girl). You won’t lose me as a reader! I find so much comfort in your writing 🙂

    • racheljeffcoat on 19 March 2016 at 8:40 am said:

      I relate so much to all of these! And I totally agree that winter has a lot to do with it. Amazing how much more positive I feel on a sunny day! Thank you so much for reading – I love that you’re here! x

  3. Rachel, you are not alone. I almost cried reading this because this is me everyday. Hope you’re alright xx

    • racheljeffcoat on 19 March 2016 at 8:43 am said:

      Thank you Sophie! Yes, I’m alright. It was a funny thing, writing about it, because I don’t think it’s at ‘crisis’ level (whatever that is – I don’t feel affected by it to the point that I can’t function) but sometimes I can’t switch it off and I do feel it’s getting gradually worse. Having something you can’t control is troubling. But it turns out there’s a lot of us in the same boat, which is always reassuring to hear 🙂 Love to you xx

  4. Charlene on 18 March 2016 at 12:58 pm said:

    Rachel you are so not alone! There are so many uncertainties surrounding us I sometimes find myself drifting off into my worry zone. I find it overwhelming at times too! Talking about it helps a lot so you’re doing yourself a favour by putting it out there, I think so anyway.

    • racheljeffcoat on 19 March 2016 at 8:44 am said:

      Talking about it has helped HUGELY. Just feeling like lots of people have exactly the same thing makes it feel less of an unknown! Thank you for reading x

  5. Michele on 18 March 2016 at 1:07 pm said:

    Bless you for voicing this! This is me to a tee! How do we stop? Can we stop? Or is this just what you get for being a loving, caring mum? My mum told me that if I am worrying about whether I am a good enough mum it means I that I am!

    Be gentle with yourself! xxx

    • racheljeffcoat on 19 March 2016 at 8:55 am said:

      It’s definitely something to do with being a mum. You are so vulnerable suddenly! And you want to keep them safe, but there are some things you can’t control. So you worry.

      Be gentle with yourself too. We could all do that a bit more, I think 🙂 x

  6. Michele on 18 March 2016 at 1:10 pm said:

    Yep, definitely not alone. I’ve always been a worrier — I remember worrying about something happening to my parents when I was a kid. But when I became a mother, the worrying became all the more magnified, and I share so many of the same worries you do, about something happening to my child, my husband or me; about the state of the world and what’s to become of all of us. Anyway, thank you for your honesty, and I hope it helps to know you have company!

    • racheljeffcoat on 19 March 2016 at 8:57 am said:

      It really does help! And I’ve always been a worrier too, but definitely worse since we had kids. Suddenly there’s so much more to lose! Glad to know we’re all in this together x

  7. Grace Bell on 18 March 2016 at 1:14 pm said:

    You are very brave Rachel. Admitting to those vulnerabilities is very hard to do. Most days I am absolutely terrified/extremely worried about something and anything happening to Ava that would cause her harm, and yet I still have to let her out the door and sometimes out of my sight.

    You aren’t the only one to worry or have those vulnerabilities xxxx

    • racheljeffcoat on 19 March 2016 at 8:58 am said:

      Yeah, that’s the problem, isn’t it – you still have to let them adventure and take risks and get things wrong, since that’s part of life. Though you’d like to protect them from everything, you know you can’t. Glad you liked it, and glad you’re here 🙂 x

  8. Hey lovely, have you spoken to anyone (e.g. GP) about this? I’m sure you know this already but it sounds like anxiety and it’s a REAL THING not an imaginary thing or a sign you’re losing the plot. I suffer from this every few weeks and I get a gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach. I had to stop watching Luther because I was actually convinced that every person on the street was about to stab me. Anyway, hugs. And bet you don’t lose any readers xx

    • racheljeffcoat on 19 March 2016 at 9:00 am said:

      Hello my dear – no, I haven’t done *anything* about it yet. Just watched with a vague sense of unease as it’s got more regular and less controllable. Writing this down has been the first acknowledgement!

      I am going to try things like meditation and exercise, etc, see how that goes. GP is always an option, and will bear it in mind if I feel it’s not improving.

      Lots of love xx

  9. Joel on 18 March 2016 at 2:49 pm said:

    Without commenting on the actual article, I love the fact that your photo is at the Warner Bros Studio Tour. That particular part was one of my favourite bits, seeing the designs behind many of the Harry Potter items, thinking how someone had to come up with something real based on a book description/concept.

    • racheljeffcoat on 19 March 2016 at 9:08 am said:

      Hi Joel – yes, it was my favourite part too! Just imagining all of the work that had gone into every little detail. Dream job 🙂

  10. Heart wrenching and very nicely written. I hope you feel better for sharing.
    It’s not just Mums that worry. I’ve mentally been through almost every horrific thing that could and may happen to a family. All of us. One by one.
    I read somewhere it’s a characteristic Alfred Hitchcock may of had, worst case scenario-ing.
    In my experience I have found that those who worry, care the deepest. And those that don’t worry… well I don’t understand those people. I’m sure they care too.
    X

    • racheljeffcoat on 20 March 2016 at 9:44 pm said:

      Glad to hear it happens to dads too! Well, not glad exactly, because it’s not fun, But nice to know it’s more widespread than I thought. Interesting about Alfred Hitchcock too! x

  11. Kate on 18 March 2016 at 6:18 pm said:

    Lose half your audience? I think you should gain double. THANK YOU for writing from such a real and honest place and oh my goodness BRAVO to your honest vulnerability.
    Have you come across this remarkable woman?
    https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability?language=en
    I think, according to her, you’re gonna be ok, and very wholeheartedly at that!
    This is good too:
    brene brown listening to shame
    Xx

    • racheljeffcoat on 20 March 2016 at 9:46 pm said:

      Thank you Kate! Ooh, I’ve heard of Brene Brown but never listened to any of her stuff – thank you for passing this on! I’ll have a listen. xx

  12. Im not one for words but snap

  13. Susi on 18 March 2016 at 8:48 pm said:

    You are not alone! Thank you for being brave. God bless. Xx

  14. Mummy kins on 18 March 2016 at 9:09 pm said:

    Could have written this myself, although it would have not been as eloquently put as you have. I too find it hard to switch off and worry about all those things you’ve said! It can be debilitating. You’re not alone. Thank you for sharing this. I never normally comment but felt I had to!

    • racheljeffcoat on 20 March 2016 at 9:55 pm said:

      It can take over a bit, can’t it? I am looking into distraction techniques – music and meditation apparently good options? I think this happens to quite a lot of us, though, so we can be worriers together 🙂 x

  15. Well done for pressing publish. Getting it out there is brave, and important, and I hope helps remove some of the worry, just by naming it.

    And on this:
    “I worry that I will never write anything that is published, that is meaningful, that will mean I can call myself a writer without a half-shrug of embarrassment.”
    You’re already there. I can point to any number of your pieces that have made me laugh, made me cry, and saved my parenting sanity. Thank you for all of them.

    • racheljeffcoat on 20 March 2016 at 9:56 pm said:

      Ah, Louise, you are the best. Thank you for being such a constantly reassuring reader – I really appreciate it 🙂 x

  16. That night time chatter is the worst and I think you worry about it happening and that raises your anxiety and so… This helped me, hope it helped you 🙂

  17. Melissa on 19 March 2016 at 7:18 am said:

    Haven’t ever commented before but wanted to tell you that I greatly look forward to a new post of yours because they are so well written. You are clearly a writer! Definitely the best blog, and one of the best I have come across outside of the blogosphere as well.

    As for the worries, I would like to echo what a previous comment said about seeing your GP. I think you already recognise the signs because you used the hashtag #TimeToTalk and I think that is your next step, especially if it seems to have got worse. Best wishes!

  18. It is normal to worry about all these things and it is true that they are happening to someone , somewhere and one day they may happen to you, but just for today hide beneath your duvet and pretend your a bear!

  19. Ashley on 20 March 2016 at 6:58 pm said:

    I didn’t used to worry at all until I became a parent!! I can recommend some great self help information online. Just don’t chase the worries or let them take control. Thoughts are just thoughts after all!

    • racheljeffcoat on 20 March 2016 at 10:00 pm said:

      Yes, I get to this point where I have to shake myself and say ‘hang on, none of this has actually happened. You’re wasting emotion on imaginary scenarios!’ You can get so caught up in it though, can’t you? x

  20. Lindsey on 23 March 2016 at 7:37 am said:

    Man, you and I are so similar. Honestly, mostly everything you’ve written here I’ve written in my journal as my own worries. Journaling and yoga seem to be the only way I can manage it. The only alternative I can see is asking for some sort of anxiety medication, but a) I don’t want to take anything and b) I’m afraid it will make me feel nothing–not the bad OR the good; I worry it will make me numb. So thank you for writing this. I’m so glad to know I’m not alone.

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