With Olympic fever raging (and sadly some of it really is sick this time around),…
Anxiety is my middle name. I’ve been an anxious person for as long as I can remember and naturally that got worse when I took the huge step of moving halfway across the country by myself – leaving my friends, my family, my security blanket behind. Given that my baseline operating anxiety is so high, you can only imagine what happened when I got pregnant for the first time. And then got very sick. And stayed very sick. And gave birth to a sick baby. While I’m very happy to report that both my daughter and myself are now completely healthy and whole, I so wish that I had had a resource like Anxiety BC to help me along that very long and lonely path.
I know I’m not alone in this loneliness. According to Statistics Canada, as of 2006 Vancouver ranked second overall in its proportion of foreign born population among major Canadian, American and Australian cities. (http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2006/as-sa/97-557/p29-eng.cfm) Making up 39.6% of Vancouver’s population, the only city in North America or Australia with a higher percentage of immigrants is Toronto. What that doesn’t account for is the percentage of Vancouver’s population that is Canadian, but not from Vancouver or even BC. While some of these people may have moved here with extended family, it is safe to say that the large majority of these newcomers – both foreign and domestic – are arriving without a support network in place.
I had the pleasure of being invited to the Vancouver Mom hosted launch party of AnxietyBC’s website, newly expanded to include a special area (at www.perinatal.anxietybc.com ) just for new and expectant moms. They’ve been a go to resource for adults, youth and children alike since 1999 and this special focus on women during an especially challenging time is a very welcome addition. There were 4 amazing panelists at the launch party – Dr’s Martha Capreol and Dana Thordarson, both PhD’s in Clinical Phsychology and Registered Psychologists who were instrumental in shaping and contributing to the AnxietyBC’s perinatal website. We also got to hear from Amber Strocel, managing editor at VancouverMom.ca and Erin McGann, a freelance writer and editor who brought to the panel the personal side of struggling with anxiety during pregnancy, birth and child rearing.
These 4 women made the face of anxiety personable, understandable and controllable. I learned that anxiety itself isn’t a bad thing. Its a normal fight or flight mechanism that is essential to our survival and actually makes our body stronger. It becomes a problem when it controls the decisions you make daily and interferes with your quality of life. We hear so much about post partum depression, but rarely about post partum anxiety which is actually much more prevalent – occurring twice as much as PPD. Many people can learn to manage anxiety easily. Sometimes a book or a website like this one is all a person needs to improve their situation. With great sections like Taking Care, Thinking Flexibly and Facing Fears they have helpful tips for coping with anxiety like “notice and observe worry thoughts and then let them go instead of actually believing them and letting them change your path”. For people looking for more in depth help, this website is a great first step, pointing you in the right direction to seek out a support group or professional. There is even a section for families looking to help loved ones dealing with anxiety.
I’m so thankful for the opportunity to learn about this amazing resource and be able to share it with all the moms and moms to be in our community and beyond. I appreciated everything the women had to share, and Amber wrote a great post on where to go for help here. Help spread the word about AnxietyBC and the great work they’re doing!