Living with Anxiety
Terror. One minute you are fine and mooching around the house, the next moment, the fear begins and I am routed to the spot. My heart is beating fast, tears flowing down my face and I am paralysed to the spot. Zero to 100 miles an hour in less than a second! WTF? That is generalised anxiety disorder.
When I think about panic attacks, I used to think paper bags and breathing hard. I didn't see it in myself. My anxiety attacks don't look like that. One day I went for a walk with my dog, nothing different or special. I had the feeling of dread and literally sat down in the middle of a field, unable to think, move or breathe. This overwhelming crushing sensation of what I can only describe as being terrified. I am beyond frightened. My order or my routine has changed and I simply can't face people or do the normal things I used to do. I am not good at surprises any more as it may trigger the terror attack! I call them stupid panic attacks.
I feel better in company than alone, as my mind starts to act up. I can't walk my dog. He suffers probably the most out of anyone. God forbid I get an invite to a crowded venue. The simple pleasure of walking through my own town is now my hell. Frightened to bump into people, anxious I might have to begin a conversation. I like safe faces and safe places.
I know I am not alone as I have learned to tell people about my anxiety. Helen suggested I write to her about my feelings. My friends (my REAL friends) and of course my partner know what is going on and protect me. They move me out of situations, act as shields and hold my hand when the anxiety begins. Even that makes me sad. My life has come to this. I know I will get better but sometimes for no apparent reason, anxiety just punches me in the face.
You see we (I am) are still ashamed of mental health and the stigmas of not being sound of mind. Yes, I am on anti-anxiety medication, I think it is helping, in fact I know it is helping. I am also seeing a counsellor to talk through the stages that lead up to this time in my life. Talking is good.
I turned to Helen for Mindfulness practise and she tells me she has also suffered with anxiety. Who would have known that? She's constantly smiling and fabulous. I bet it took a lot for her to talk about her anxiety? (Helen you can delete this if you want to?) But then again we simply can't see into peoples minds.
I am sad for my partner. I watch him worrying for me. He has a strategic plan for going shopping, doing errands as I can no longer function alone with these normal tasks. My children are so brilliant too, my eldest boy now holds onto my arm when we are out and about, as he knows I am feeling stressed. I am grateful for the immense support I do get. These people know I love them.
Don't feel sad for me, I am positive that this will improve. I have removed many of the triggers from my life (including some "friends"). Not just that, Helen helped me with my diet, she has started me juicing now, reduced my coffee drinking and even changed my activity on Facebook! There were lots of things putting me into the "sympathetic state"! Ask Helen about that... it's the fight and flight response.
In my sharing over my own anxiety I have met new friends who understand where I am coming from. I have made positive changes in my life to help my recovery. I feel like that I am now on the right path and there is no way I could have shared this 3 months ago with anyone.
I wish I wasn't so embarrassed about it all but I am getting there. I can't simply get over it! The battles are less and less and the war is still being waged in my head, even at sleep (when I do sleep). I use sleep APPS. The spontaneous tears drive me mad, I'm no longer any good at wearing makeup (NOTE to self: invest in waterproof mascara - another of Helen's suggestions)
I have stayed strong for too long and something had to give. I have never dealt with anything as difficult as my own soul. It is time to unite with others, not in a shouting/join a group and beat our chests kind of way, but have a conscious attempt to be kind to others. To have consideration for others as we never really knows what is going on in their own lives.
Life is tough enough. I am letting the shit go, maybe my words of advice will be to let your own shit go? (you can delete swearing too Helen)
On a final note I learnt (again thanks to Helen when she sent me this...) the human body is 90% water, so basically we are a cucumber with anxiety!