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Laura Mazza, an Australian parenting blogger known for her site The Mum on The Run, has penned a moving open letter to ‘the man whose wife or partner has anxiety‘, whilst sharing her personal experience with the condition.
The post, which she uploaded to her Facebook page, details the mindset of a woman parenting with anxiety and also explores how a partner can best support them in their times of need.
The mother of two has previously been open about her battles with anxiety, using her platform to spread awareness of PANDA – an Australian support group for parents struggling with perinatal anxiety and antenatal depression.
‘Anxiety isn’t a one size fits all, it isn’t consistent and it isn’t always easy to tell,’ she explained. ‘You might think she’s just snapped at you, but it was anxiety that did it, you might think she’s angry, but it’s the anxiety that’s got a choke hold, you might think she’s not enjoying herself when you go out and it’s your fault, but it’s not. It’s anxiety.’
Laura also shared an insight into the mind of a woman struggling with the condition, writing: ‘There isn’t a day that goes by where she doesn’t think. She thinks about everything, and usually it is the worst case scenario. She worries that something will go wrong. That some days if she leaves the house, something will happen. Kidnapping, deaths, falls, cars spinning out of control, that’s why she can’t just leave the house or just go out, even though you’ve suggested it with good intentions. But it’s not so easy.’
The post is accompanied by a black and white photograph of herself and her husband, staring directly into the lens.
Addressing the men looking to support their partners, she advised: ‘If you see her struggling with appointments, reschedule them for her, encourage her to take it slowly. Too much is overwhelming for her, even though she has good intentions. Don’t make her feel bad for missing an appointment, a party, whatever. She wanted to go, but she couldn’t. She already feels bad. Tells her it’s okay. Take the kids out for a play when you see her struggling, encourage her to take time out for herself. If the kids are awake all night and she’s worse if she has less sleep, get up with her, take over. Tell her to go back to bed.’
However she also flagged that it wasn’t a one size fits all situation, saying that ‘sometimes the answer won’t be so obvious. Sometimes she won’t even know the answer is to what she needs, but so long as [you’re] patient with her, she will feel your love.’
Lauren’s viral letter, which has also been cross-posted to her blog and Instagram account, has since been shared over 111,600 times, garnering 41,000 reactions and over 31,000 comments on Facebook, and sparked a massive conversation about living with anxiety as a parent.
Other users began sharing their own personal experience, praising her for spreading awareness about the condition as well as their own battles with anxiety.
One mother wrote: ‘Holy hell. How have you organised all my jumbled thoughts and put them into something understandable?? Everything that I’ve tried to explain a thousand times but can never get out (especially in my frustrated moments of pure anxious messiness)! I think a lot of ladies right now are thinking pure gratitude towards you.’
Another said: ‘Look at all the people tagging their partners, friends & family. That’s because [of] you Laura.’
Laura also had words of support for fellow anxiety suffers, saying in the comments: ‘You are not your illness, every day you fight your illness, you’re not anxiety you’re a fighter. And you’re totally not alone’.
Many tagged their partners, asking them to read the post for them with comments like ‘Take your time and read this this. It’s 100% true and it kills me everyday’ as well as ‘honey read this. It felt like this was about me while I was reading this.’
Other boyfriends and husbands also tagged their partners, with one saying: ‘It explains a lot about the conflicts that goes on between us. I will really start being more attentive of my actions.’