PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS POST IS ABOUT WHAT I’M CURRENTLY DEALING WITH. I DO NOT WANT TO TRIGGER ANYONE WHO HAS ANXIETY AND WOULD RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO NOT READ IT IF YOU FEEL LIKE IT MIGHT.
I’m currently dealing with panic attacks and anxiety. The nightmares are back and the thought of leaving my flat has caused me to hyperventilate. I hate it when this happens. My sleeping patterns are messed up and I want to nap during the day because when I’m not having nightmares, I’m suffering with insomnia. Various parts of my past are coming back to haunt my dreams and morphing so that people in my life whom I hold dearest at this moment are the ones being hurt. To be honest I’m finding the simplest of things hard. But I’m forcing myself to do them.
I have a cheering squad this time. One that gets where my anxiety comes from. Sisters, friends, a girlfriend and a Momma who are all there to support me along the way. And my doctors are, to put it bluntly, amazing. My meds have gone up again, but I know that without them I’d be worse. Momma, AH and JDV are encouraging me to walk each day, only for a limited period, but to get out of the house, and I’m chronicling the walks in photo albums on Facebook.
I’m not doing well with large amounts of people (read more than 3) and the idea of public transport is a bit of a minefield at the moment. A trip to the supermarket is hard work. But I’m forcing myself to do it. I’m also struggling with being alone. This is the nature of anxiety, it’s a contradiction in terms at times. If I stay in my flat I start to panic, if I go out for a little bit that eases, it’s just finding the balance of how long I walk for. At the moment that seems to be about 20 minutes. And once I’m home again I triple check I’ve locked the doors.
I’m also learning to talk about the nightmares to process the feelings. And for the first time today, I told Momma about the one that has really had me in its grips, especially last night. She told me something I’ve heard from others about the real life experience that that nightmare comes from and never been able to believe. Today I believe it. It was not my fault. I couldn’t have stopped it. Somehow, that coming from Momma has had a huge impact today.
I’m hoping that tonight will be nightmare free, as I do each night at the moment. But I’ve learnt today that I’m right to trust Momma with what’s happening, and that means it doesn’t matter how many bad days I have, she’ll always be there for me. We’re there for each other. She joins in on my small victories, like getting out to go for one of my walks, and helps to calm the voice of the anxiety as well as the voice of the monster that preys on me during those anxious moments. It’s amazing how much having a mother can help with these things, and I think after 14 years, I forgot how much it changed things to have a mother to talk to.
My sisters, friends, and my beautiful AH remind me that I can get past this and are there when I fall apart (which at the moment is a lot). They talk to me online, on the phone, come round if they can. They take time out of their days to make sure I’m ok. And that means the world to me. Especially when my stomach ends up in knots through the anxiety.
Physically, the anxiety is showing in a flare of my IBS, in sinus pain (caused by a lowering of the immune system), my dermatitis, which quite frankly is driving me crazy, and a tight chest, which with asthma is a nightmare. I’m drinking a lot of tea, because it seems to calm things (I’m a true Brit in that sense), and allowing myself comfort food. And I’m practising breathing exercises and avoiding media that will make me sad or anxious. So no reading the news for me right now.
I don’t want to finish this on a down note, so I’ll post my victories for today as a way to end it:
- I got up, showered and dressed.
- I went and got almond milk from the supermarket.
- I went for my walk, despite the urge to run home again.
- I emailed Momma about the nightmare.
- I told two of my sisters and AH that I’d had one.
- I wrote this blog post.