With the help of my friends <3

Yesterday was a great but difficult day for me. I’ve been doing my baby steps for the last months and have made some good progress with going out among people. Putting myself in uncomfortable places and working on keeping the anxiety down.

If you have read my previous posts, you will know that I managed to go to the Eye Clinic in Galway with a friend and only had one little ‘wobble’ . On the way back we stopped at Supermacs and with gentle coaxing from my friend managed to sit at a table and eat our meals. Previously I could not do that as I would get overwhelmed by the people and the noise and just burst into tears or go into a spin. It was not easy but by doing my grounding exercise and focusing on different items to divert my attention, I did it.

Well, now comes to yesterday (Saturday). I’m a crafter and used to go to the Castlebar Family Market every Saturday. Mostly I went to meet up with my co crafting friends and spend a fabulous day with everyone. Last time I tried that just before Christmas I had to escape as I was totally overcome with panic and just needed to go home. My friends were so kind and helpful and I finally got home in bits. I’ve not gone since then but missed my friends so much. One of the worst parts of having anxiety is getting lonely in my case. I’m so used to being surrounded by people and many could not understand the change in me.

I had planned to go to the market on Saturday but started shaking badly every time I thought of it. I had already decided that it would be too big of a step and had already decided against it. I had to remind myself that I must still do baby steps. My friend had told me the day before that this was a big step I’m planning to do and I should not force myself and just do what I felt comfortable with . He told me that if I don’t do it, I must remember it was not the right time and not beat myself up about it either.  So I decided I would go to Lidle and do some shopping. This would be the first time in a long time that I would go into a big shop. Usually I’ve been sticking to my local small shop as I felt comfortable going there.

So I grabbed my bag and drove towards Castlebar to go to Lidle. On the way, feeling good, I decided to just drive past the market and go to Lidle. Once I was parked at the market, I sat in the car shaking. I kept telling myself that I don’t have to go in as no one was expecting me to arrive. I must have sat in the car for 30 minutes trying to lower my anxiety. Once I started relaxing a bit more, I grabbed my bag and walked towards the hall. My heart was racing and my whole body was shaking, but I knew it would be ok once I get through that door.

As I stepped through the door, I heard people say things like, ‘Look, Celia is here’. The first person to greet me was Liz and she hugged me and made me feel very welcome. She was very gentle with me. I told her that I’m feeling a bit light-headed, so she took my arm and walked me towards my other friend Kathy’s table to sit down. I noticed that everyone waved and greeted me without crowding the table I was at. This made me feel more in control and more relaxed as I was not overwhelmed with many people around me at a time. Kathy invited me to coffee and cake in the little area at the back of the market. We sat and chatted and one by one more people came to join us. Soon we had a lovely big circle of my friends around the table, chatting and laughing. My anxiety was really low although my hands were still shaking. I noticed that everyone was very gentle and understanding towards me and that made me feel very welcome and happy to be there.
Castlebar Family MarketThe person who runs the market came up to me and asked me to help him with something. I was a bit nervous but soon found out he wanted me to pick the winning ticket for the voucher they had for the day. Kathy, took a video of the draw and a photo for their Facebook page. Strange enough, it seemed to be a perfect distraction to my anxiety. Everyone clapped and congratulated my friend Susan who won the voucher and I felt part of the group again. It was not that my co crafting friends had banished me from the group, but this little task of picking the winner made me feel part of it all again.

Later in the day I found out from another friend that someone had spoken to all my other friends and explained my situation of what had happened to me, so they all made a plan that if I ever come to visit, they would not crowd me as they usually do, but take their time one by one to welcome me back. I can only explain it as being loved and understood and am so thrilled I decided to go see my friends at the market on Saturday. It was a big step but so well worth it. Thank you to all my friends for your understanding, your hugs, smiles, giggles and making me feel human again.

I wish that everyone who is going through this could have such friends… because with their help, it makes it so much easier to not feel ‘crazy’ but part of the world again.

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It can be so frustrating !!

If you are following my blog, you would have read about my ‘spins’ and my anxiety attacks in the previous two blog posts.  To recap, last week I was so proud with myself as I had managed to go visit a friend. Sounds easy right? It was difficult but I did it with the help of my kind, understanding and patient friend Yvonne.

lonely-1510265_1920So why am I saying it’s frustrating? Well, today I decided to drive to Castlebar to get a few items for my teddy bear I’m crocheting for a
friend of mine. I’d done it twice already before, so it should be very easy to do again. I set off in my car for the 15 min drive and all was good. Was a bit anxious as I got into my car, but did my breathing exercises and told myself I’m just going for a little drive to get the felt I needed for the eyes.  Well, 5 min into the drive, anxiety hit. It came on so suddenly, I had to pull the car over. As hard as I tried to lower my anxiety, I could not calm down. I must have looked like a crazy person talking to myself in the car. Thank goodness for hands free as in this century, people would probably think I was talking on the phone.  But I was trying to reason with myself that what I was doing or attempting to do, was in no way scary or dangerous. After 20 minutes I decided it was not going to work and drove back towards home. My safe zone.

For the last few days I have felt so normal, that I began thinking that it’s all in my head, that I don’t suffer from anxiety attacks. Everything seemed to be as it was before. Two different people came to visit me over the weekend and yesterday and I did not feel that panic take over when I knew someone was coming. I really thought or tried to believe, that I was getting so much better.

Frustration is an understatement. I felt like I failed, was very angry at myself for being such a chicken and even started crying out of frustration (again). I was giving out to myself all the way home, telling myself I could do this. Once I got back home, I started feeling calm again. So I decided, this is it, I’m getting in the car and going to town. I grabbed my car keys, jumped in the car and drove off towards Castlebar again. Only this time I got about 5km down the road before I really had a bad anxiety attack. I sat at the side of the road for about 30 minutes trying to calm myself. Slowly I started feeling more in control. I drove another km to the shop to get some groceries. Remember, that I’ve had no problems with going down to the local shop for the last few weeks, so this should be fine.

Parking in front of the shop, my hands shook, my legs felt like they were made of jelly and my heart was virtually jumping out of my throat. I had to wait and breath for the level to drop. Finally, I got out of the car, walked into the shop with shaky legs, bought a few things and dashed back to my car and back home. I’m kind of happy that I did go to the shop at the end, but felt so disappointed at my failure. Still trying to come to grips with the fact, that things I have done without thinking for so long could be such a big hurdle to get over now.

I’m trying also not to overthink everything. To try to be logic about things, but as I said in the previous posts, anxiety knows no logic. Before I started writing this post, I thought of the things that Angela from Don’t Panic taught me. I must remember to try not be frustrated as I know I will have good days and not so good days like today. I must be patient and not push myself if I feel I can’t do it.

Thank goodness I did go to the shop, that kind of comforts me and I feel I might have taken two steps back today, but at least I made one step forward as well. Although it’s hard to do, I’m going to accept that I can’t do everything just yet. I will have to remember that some baby steps I did last week, might be too big for me on certain days. It’s still very confusing, for example, while I’m sitting here, writing my post, I feel as if there is nothing wrong besides feeling frustrated at the memory of turning back home twice.

Anxiety sucks !!

It’s a good day :)

Today I’m smiling and very pleased with myself. For the last week I’ve been dreading going to the Galway Eye Clinic. Thank goodness a friend offered to drive me as I get lost in the best of times. As the day came nearer I was so worried about being in a hospital surrounding with loads of people around me.

This morning I nearly cancelled but then thought to myself if I do that, I would just have to face it another day and I’d be disappointed with myself for not at least giving it a try.  So I went for it. My friend assured me that if I go into a panic attack, he will just explain it to the people and we’d go back home. So we did it in steps…. just a drive to the Clinic, then go into the hospital and if all works out well, have my eyes done.

the-crowd-1967863_1280Well people, not only did I go to the Clinic, I registered at reception, took a seat in the waiting room which was filled to the brim with other people. I did all three tests all by myself as I had told my friend I’d call him when I’m done. He was quite willing to sit with me the whole time, but I wanted to do it myself. Had one little wobble when people were pushing passed me to find a seat, but managed to calm myself by focusing on the colour or clothes people were wearing.  After a bit more than an hour, I was done and very proud of myself. Walking out I had to walk between rows of people in the passage that were waiting. I felt my breath catch when I saw the small passageway filled with people. Without thinking I said to myself “No you don’t”, and I think I said it out loud as I got a few strange looks from people. LOL.

On the way home my friend suggested we get some take away. If you have read my previous posts you know that I get panic attacks when I sit in a restaurant. He asked if I would like to try sit at a table and eat. My heart went crazy and my head felt hot, but I told him we should give it a try. As we walked in, my legs turned to jelly and my head started to spin. I started doing my 54321 exercise where you focus on 5 things you can see, 4 things you can smell, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can touch, 1 thing you can taste. I only got to my 5 things I could see and already the attack lessened.

It was a spacious place so bit easier than a place with tables on top of each other. Good news, we ordered our burgers at Supermacs counter and sat down at a table to wait for our order. My hands shook and my heart was going mad, but we stayed and ate our food at the table.

I’m rather pleased I managed to do those to big steps today, it tells me that I’m on the mend and if I don’t get to confident with myself and try bigger things too fast, I’ll be my normal crazy self real soon again. Happy days!!!

It’s been a while….

It’s been awhile since I wrote, but it’s been a crazy time as well. After having such trouble doing the smallest things that everyone could do in a heartbeat, I approached my doctor who subscribed some anti-anxiety meds plus some anti-depressant for me. The anxiety meds are only for a short time to take that edge off and help me work through life itself.

Have spent the last 3 weeks getting the hang of the meds. Trying to accept that the ‘calmer’ state I was in is good and not worrying about the crying part of it all. Crying for no reason seemed to have become my norm now. Before I used to just get in a ‘spin’ but now it’s just tears. My doctor is fabulous as she calls me to discuss how I am feeling and explains what it happening and why I’m crying . Mostly it’s no reason at all but it’s also due to the frustration and unresolved issues that will be worked with once I go for therapy in a few weeks. I can also feel that my mental state is improving a bit.

The meds make me sleep all the time, so now I’m developed a system that when I take my first meds in the morning, I don’t go back to bed although I just want to sleep, but do some housework, crocheting, reading a book, or just working on my novel. When my second dose of the day is around 2pm and I still feel I want to sleep, I usually have a nap for an hour or so and it seems to be working well.

The only fear I’ve had over the last 3 weeks now is that I can’t seem to get out the door without getting major anxious. Don’t get me wrong, I can go out the door of my house and feel semi ok, but further than that is like walking into a brick wall. Instant crying, shaking legs, short breath and boiling head. I’ve not gone down to the shop since my last episode of trying to Castlebar. Personally I thought I’d taken 20 steps backwards and in my mind feared that I’ll never get to step one again.

This week, my friend invited me to go for a drive to Ballina just to get out of the house. This was great and I enjoyed it, as I knew he did not expect me to do anything besides enjoy the view and the drive. It was fabulous to get out the house and feel safe in his hands. We went for another drive again yesterday and I so enjoyed it again.

Just to mention, due to my car not being driven in the last 3 weeks, the battery was absolutely dead and I could not have gone even if I wanted to (that was my excuse for now). This afternoon, my friend started my car for me and suggested we go for a short drive. That was all ok, but as my petrol was so low, I knew I had to stop at the garage and put in some petrol before I could go for the drive.

Yes you guessed it, I burst out in tears (real cry baby lately). So my friend said that I can drive down and he’ll put in the petrol and go pay for it. Baby steps. That felt much easier to do. Well, by the time we got down the road and stopped at the garage, I told my friend I’d like to do it myself. I put in petrol, went into the shop and paid for the purchase while chatting to the ladies behind the counter. I felt like a million dollars walking back to the car.

I know for people who have never gone through anxiety  attacks, this might even sound such a ‘drama queen’ or ‘stupid’ thing to be proud of, but for us co sufferers, you’ll understand what a great victory that was. It’s opened my doors again. 20 minutes ago, I believed that I could never go to the shop again without having an attack, but now I now I can.

It will take much more time before I once again can sit and chat to my buddies at the Craft markets but I can see the light. It might be tiny little light, but it’s there and I’m aiming for it slowly but surely because I miss my friends and crafting buddies. ❤

In my humble opinion, realising that you are not ‘being stupid’ and accepting it as an illness, is the hardest part of this all. You get mad at yourself, but that would be like getting angry at yourself for having any other illness.
Remind yourself, it’s not your fault !! It’s an illness which can be cured with time. Be kind to yourself. ❤

The other side of Anxiety

Last Wednesday I decided to give my Doctor a call. At first the receptionist asked me to come in, but when I explained that I’m having major anxiety episodes and don’t think I can get to the rooms, she calmed me down and told me not to worry. She said that my doctor would give me  call. She was so kind and sweet and reassured me that they will help me.  Suddenly I knew I was not alone and they are willing to help.

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~Be kind to yourself, your body is telling you what you need. 

Feeling exhausted, I decided to lie down for a bit. Fell fast asleep and landed up missing my doctors call. I tried to call back but as it was already around 7pm it went to voicemail. I felt so annoyed and frustrated at myself for missing the call but decided to call again in the morning. The reception lady said that my Doctor will call me in the afternoon, was not sure what time as there were loads of patience waiting for her. I spent the whole day in anticipation, wondering if I can be helped.  5pm came and went and I was sitting stressed, helpless and feeling so lost. I had to tell myself that my doctor has a busy life as well and most probably didn’t get the chance to call me today.  At that time, as you who have gone through this would understand, my body was wound like a spring, tears were so near to bursting, that helpless feeling ran through my body and I just knew with all that I had learnt about dealing with the anxiety episodes, I just knew I could not do it myself anymore. I really needed help. Deciding there was nothing I could  do for the moment, I tried to live in the moment and just enjoy watching a program on TV. As you can well believe, that didn’t help.

Then the phone rang around 8pm. It was my doctor! Although I had been trying to control my emotions through the whole day, just hearing her lovely kind voice pushed me over the edge. My doctor knows me well and knew immediately that there was something wrong with me. I apologized for being such a mess, tried to explain what is going on and feeling like a silly fool answered all her questions between tears, hick ups and blowing my nose.
She just listened to me asked a few more questions and listened some more. Then she said the most wonderful words: “Don’t worry Celia, that’s not something you have to deal with, it’s curable and we’ll get to ball rolling straight away to help you though this.” (Not in those exact words but similar. )

She told me that she will make an appointment for me to see a therapist as I would have to talk to someone about what is going on in my mind and to see what has brought on these anxiety attacks. She asked me if I was willing to go to therapy and I agreed wholeheartedly. Then she said, to take the extreme effects of this illness down a notch, she will prescribe some medication for two weeks for me, so that I can at least have some peace and also other medication that I would need to take for at least 6 months. She told me that the combination of the medication and therapy will help me and it will be better sooner than I expect. She said that she understand the trauma I’m going through at the moment but that it will pass with help. She also explained that I’ve gone through a lot over the last few years and have never worked through the effect it had on me, so it was a good time to work with that as well now.

After hanging up the phone, I felt happy for the first time in a long while. I know many wonderful people have helped and taught me about anxiety attacks, which had/have and are working well, but in my case, I need that extra little help which I’m very willing to accept.
I’m not sure if you can feel from reading this, that I’ve started on my medication this morning. It’s really good and has taken that sharp edge of things. My shoulders don’t hurt, my jaw does not feel like I’ve been chewing rocks and my mind is more at peace. This morning when I felt like this, I found myself trying to fight the feeling as I always need to be in control of things. But then I realised, I should just let the fight go. Just let the medication do it’s healing and now, writing this post, I feel calm and happy for my future.

I didn’t want to go down the medication road, but if you know the history I have with my doctor, and trust I have in her and knowing that she does not dish medication out easily, I know that I’m in good hands now.

I also know that there are many people out there that don’t have such good doctors. No disrespect to good doctors, but many don’t go the extra mile and try and understand their patience when they come in with something other than a cold. Thank you Elaine Broderick for being there for me, you’ve saved my life twice already (and that’s not being dramatic), Once with the bowel cancer and then with the stroke…. now you get to save my sanity. 🙂

Anxiety Aunt Diary~ this too will pass

(I’ve switched off the Facebook sharing link so many times, then switched it on again. This blog is so personal and honest and then I think, ‘What will people think of me?’, ‘I can’t put this out there for everyone to read!’, ‘Everyone will think I’m crazy.’, ‘I feel  ashamed to admit that I am weak.’, etc.
Then I make myself understand that it’s not ‘crazy’, ‘weak’, ’embarrassing’, and definitely not my fault that I have anxiety attacks. So switched the share link back on. )

I’ll rather take my chances of being shunned, ignored or misunderstood ~ just to let others know what it is like and that’s it’s not our fault and nothing to be ashamed of. Heck, would we be ashamed of another illness or broken leg? ) So it’s on and it’s out there. Hope this helps someone to understand what is happening, not to feel alone as I do at times and most of all ………

THIS TOO WILL PASS !

If you read my previous blog ‘It can be so frustrating’  post, I didn’t have the best of days yesterday. Two failed attempts to drive to town but one positive one when I went to the local shop down the road. Had very bad headaches all afternoon after that.

By the looks of it I might have pushed myself too hard and now am paying the price for it.
This dance is like no other I’ve ever learnt. With two steps backwards and one step forward so many times, I’d be off the dance floor very soon.

This morning I was going down to the local shop to get a few little things. Just as I do mostly every day. I started feeling anxious and shaky just at the thought of going. Tried to calm myself down, breathing calmly and telling myself it’s ok to feel this way. That it’s a chance for me to work on it.  I tried and tried but just could not calm down and started crying (AGAIN ! Which is just not like me at all). I know it’s most probably out of pure frustration, but I’m really turning into a ‘crybaby’ lately.

For those who do not know me, I’m a 57-year-old lady going onto 17. I enjoy being around people and love to take on a challenge. Well, that’s what I used to be like anyhow. Now the thought of being surrounded by a few people freaks me out and a challenge, well, no thank you very much.  I need things to be in order, not to an extreme state, but just so that everything is safe and comfortable. Now it seems like the only thing I have any control over is the house and you can only hoover the floors that many times.

Anyhow, I went off subject again…. I decided to postpone going to the shop for a while until I felt more in control. After a  few minutes , I thought I’d give it a try. I grabbed my bag and car keys, heading for the door  ….   and promptly got sick.

It’s not something I ate as I had not yet had breakfast because I was trying to settle myself first and usually can’t eat when I’m anxious. Up to now I’ve never gotten sick before and this made me even more anxious. This has thrown me for six…. In my mind, I thought that every baby step I achieved was in the bag. That I could go onto something bigger, but now my first step is a hurdle for me again.  As this has only been going on for the last few months, I’m still coming to grips with how it works. I had no idea that my achievements from the past could be a hurdle in the future. It’s so difficult to come to terms with these anxiety attacks. It’s something so not logical and hard to understand. Did I mention, it’s also very ‘belittling’ and frustrating?

I’m so looking forward to the day that my body does not feel like it’s wound tight, that my shoulders don’t hurt and I can manage to relax them for a few minutes at a time, that my head does not feel like it’s in a microwave and ready to explode, that the pain in my head, neck and back would be gone and my jaw and teeth don’t hurt in the morning, as if I’ve been clenching them for hours.  Just to be able to relax.

Today, I have decided to talk to my doctor about it. I thought about all that has happened in the past and am wondering if it’s adding to the problem. So much has happened in the past few years and maybe I’ve not worked through it all yet. Some of my friends told me that I need to talk to someone about all that has happened, to work through it. Of course, being my ‘strong’ self, I thought I was ok with it all, but now I’m starting to wonder. Do I need help?

With the chance of sounding like a ‘Drama Queen’, there has been loads happening over the years and some were ‘big ones’. Just to clarify:
2012 ~ Was very ill for a while. Went to visit my daughter in Switzerland and spent most of the days being sick and unable to go anywhere during the whole week. Went to a Swiss doctor who diagnosed me with ‘gastroenteritis’ which was weird as I could not go to the toilet. He gave me medication to make my bowls work. I became even more ill and after my holiday went home to my own doctor, who put me immediately into hospital. I went on the Friday, they gave me painkillers and meds to stop me from getting sick. I was unable to eat anything for the last few days. Everything just came back up. (please excuse the details).

Friday evening, they sent me home as there were no beds available. Monday I was really bad. My doctor freaked when she heard I had been sent home and promptly sent me back on Monday. And then it happened, they gave me a scan around 3pm and operated on me about 2 hours later. I had a big tumour in my colon blocking it completely. It was bowel cancer!! So much for ‘gastroenteritis’. I was told later that if Professor Barry had not stayed late and operated that evening, my intestines would have ruptured. They had already turned grey from the pressure. I was so lucky.
Good news, I’ve had my 3rd ‘all clear’ last February. So I’m very pleased about that.

2015 ~ My Dad in South Africa had a stroke and was getting worse. I went down from around April to July to be with him. My Mom and family lived there but they needed help. When I first saw my Mom, I was shocked. She’s such a neat lady and here was a woman, exhausted to the bone, hair getting too long and just drained.

I spent a few months helping out and just being with Mom and Dad. Dad was ok, but needed loads of attention and help. I remember one Thursday afternoon when I took Dad outside to enjoy the sunshine, that he came back for a few hours. We usually sat in the sun (he loved it so much and it always calmed him down.) By then he had developed dementia and was not always with us in his mind. It was mostly a one-sided conversation, but I just chatted to him about anything and everything. Sometimes Dad would respond and it was lovely to see that spark in his eyes.

That Thursday, as usual I chatted to him, while he nodded off. Then I would usually go down the garden steps (where I could keep an eye on him dozing in the chair) and have a smoke. I had to make sure the smoke did not blow his way as he told me one day that ‘I stink’ when I smoked. 🙂

I chatted to Dad about making a will for myself and to my shock he started discussing it with me totally lucid. I could not believe it, Dad was back and 100 wild horses couldn’t have moved me from that chair while we spent the next 2 hours chatting as we always used to do in the past. Then Dad said he was thirsty and would I get him a cup of tea. No problem, I dashed into the kitchen, keeping an eye on Dad through the window. Made the cup of tea and went back out to my Dad.

He was looking out over the garden. “Dad, here’s your cup of tea”… Dad : “Hello Celia, when did you get here?” (SHIT !!! ) But it was ok, at least I got to spend a few hours of real-time with my Dad.

I went back down to Mom & Dad around end of October as Dad was really getting bad. I was heartbroken and sad to see him as he was just a few months after I had gone back home. I knew that Dad wasn’t there anymore. I’ll not say more now, as it’s too painful to remember and too personal to write about. I’m sure you’ll understand.  Thank goodness, Dad went peacefully in his sleep on the 31st December 2015. I was already back home, but got to say my goodbye that night when my sister phoned me to let me talk to Dad.

2017 ~ Had what the doctors suspected to be a ‘mini stroke’ which brought on vertigo and now these anxiety attacks.

Basically, I think I never got over having bowel cancer. It was such a shock to my body as well as my mind. I’ve never been afraid of death, but after that, I so want to live. I still get worried when the yearly check ups are due.

Although I had said in my heart goodbye to my Dad when I left on the 16th December, I fear I might not have grieved yet.

Having the mini stroke scared the living daylights out of me. That’s why I’ve been thinking, that I’m feeling very vulnerable with all the sickness and death that has happened over the last few years. Maybe, it’s what’s making me the way I am today. Maybe being in the house makes me subconsciously safe.

I’ll be speaking to my doctor tomorrow and have decided if she thinks I need extra help with this, I’ll do whatever it takes. If it’s therapy or medication, one way or another, I’m going to accept the help and do my best to work through this. I’m not fond of medication, nor is my doctor by the way, but I trust her with my life.

Most of all, I look forward to the day that I get in my car, drive to the shops and join my friends at the craft market again without freaking out.

Anxiety Aunt Diary~ on the road to recovery

After writing the blog post about ‘The Fear of Fear ~ what is anxiety?‘ and receiving such a fabulous response, I decided to follow up on that. I’ll not be writing every day as one would in a ‘Diary’ but just as things progress.

I’m not sure if my thinking is correct, but am going to share some of my personal experiences through this health issue, so that other people could maybe understand what it’s all about and some who have no idea what is happening to them might understand what is going on.  I’ve decided to put myself out there like this, as many people had contacted me, pm’d me and praising me on being so open about it.

One lady even thanked me for the insight as she had been suffering these anxiety attacks for a long time and thought she was going mad. I do advise anyone reading the post, please go talk to your doctor about it. I am not a doctor, therapist or any such professional person… I’m just a person suffering from anxiety attacks. Speak to your doctors, don’t be ashamed or confused by it, it’s absolutely normal and the sooner you get help and advise, as I did, the quicker you will be on the road to recovery.

Well, today’s entry in my Diary is about my little step towards victory. I called this Anxiety Aunt Diary, not to belittle the problem, but to lighten the impact of the message. This journey to recovery is not all bad, each little ‘baby step’ is a good thing and gives you such pride and satisfaction. I can understand that many people will think I’m being dramatic as I most probably would have thought myself, were it not for the fact that I’m going through this horrid, confusing time and understand it better now. … But I’m not going to sugar coat it, appologize for not being ok or worry that I will be alienated by writing this blog. As one of my friends like to say, ‘It is what it is’.

If you read my previous post, I was talking about baby steps. About not pushing yourself and taking it easy.

Phew, yesterday was difficult. I decided that I’ve just about conquered the fear of going into my small local shop ~ Baby Steps remember 🙂 . So decided to try something a bit harder, bearing in mind not to be disappointed or frustrated if it did not work out. That is actually the difficult part of it all as you think, logically, what is so hard about going to a little shop and buying something? I had done this for years and now it makes me feel ‘stupid’ or ‘silly’ being frightened of doing this little deed.  But then anxiety does not know logic.

I drove to the village a friend of mine lives in and had a major anxiety attack right there in the car. I had planned to do three baby steps ~ Drive to the village, drive to her house, go in to have a cuppa and a chat.  Thank goodness my friend is very understanding and knows the effect of anxiety.

I was shaking badly and of course, due to frustration, started crying, which does not help when you are having an attack. Although I called her to say that I don’t think I can do it, she said she’ll come down to me and we can just chat in the car, which I thought was ok.

Well, Yvonne arrived and after chatting in the car for about 15 minutes, she asked if I wanted to just look at the little cottage she lives in and the view around it? She did not pressure me and was even going to drive me up to her home in her car. I told her that I will drive to the house as it will be a little step closer to victory. We left her car in thepinky-swear-329329_1280 village and drove to her house. She was just going to sit in front of her house and enjoy the view, but I did my breathing and grounding exercise and guess what? I got out before I could think too much about it, walked wobbly up to her house grounding myself as I went with the 54321 method and finally went inside. As I was going to step into her home, Yvonne told me to turn around and look at the view, which by the way was absolutely stunning. :). I know by doing that, she made the final step easier for me by distracting me.

We spent 2 hours chatting and drinking tea. You can imagine how proud and happy I was that I made it. Didn’t think I would in the beginning, but she was so understanding and patient that it helped me achieve this step towards victory. Only someone who has gone through these horrid anxiety attacks can understand how thrilled I was to be sitting in my friend’s house having a lovely chat. As I said before, anxiety knows no logic. This was brilliant. I did it and it felt fabulous.

Funny thing, as I was leaving to take her back to her car and drive home, the anxiety suddenly hit me again. I felt the surrounding shift. That horrid feeling again and felt a spin come on. I sat down again as I felt my legs give in. My friend just held my hand while I focused on a lovely vase in the window, while she calmly spoke to me about it.

I was terrified that the spin was going to happen and then she reminded me if it did, it would not hurt or kill me, so just to take it easy and breath. That I did and managed to stop the spin from happening. This was my second time I managed to stop it. It’s given me so much confidence that I could do it twice now. I think, every time we succeed; it makes us less fearful and more confident.

As you might imagine, when if finally got home, I was wrecked. Very happy about my victory, but my head hurt. I had planned to take a little bigger step, thought I’d have to abandon the step once I reached the village and try another day, but with the kindness, patience and understanding of Yvonne managed to put another notch in my road to recovery 🙂 .

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It’s easier when you have a friend at your side 🙂

Today, I feel that I’ve come a little closer to my goal of being anxiety free. I do understand that although I had a successful day yesterday, I must focus on not jumping ahead and pushing myself as this might throw me back to the beginning. I will listen to the advice I’ve been given by professionals and believe in time, I will be back to my normal crazy self. 🙂

Onwards and upwards I say, one baby step at a time.