Thursday, 28 February 2008

More Setbacks!

Last time i wrote i was full of good intentions about making my schedule and reading my new books etc. But as is usually the case, day to day life can sometime get in the way.My books arrived and i got stuck in. Reading for hours and taking notes. So far the first cognative behavioural therapy book is good. A lot of what it tells you is common sense but i have a lot more reading to do before it gets into detail.

Anyway next thing i know i had unbelievable toothache! It really was unbearable. For the next 2-3 days i was like a zombie. I tried everything to cope with the pain. Painkillers, clove oil, rinsing the tooth in alcohol, putting aspirin directly on the tooth. I ended up on the internet looking for home remedies. I found someone who said you should rub ice on the bit of skin between your thumb and index finger. Well i didn't have ice. So i rubbed a frozen chip (french fry) on there instead haha, i must have looked ridiculous.

So finally the toothache has passed (touch wood) but things are still a bit crazy at home. Luke is STILL in hospital. The family are still taking turns in stay over night with him. I am STILL missing him more than i can say, thinking about him constantly. His mum has just given birth to a little girl and they are in a different hospital. Its madness!

My mum is doing what she always does, shes running about trying to do everything to keep everyone happy. She has been having chest problems and is having tests done over the next few weeks to see whats going on with that.

Because my mum is pretty much always at the hospital, i am spending my days looking after the house. Cleaning, tidying, doing laundry, making dinners etc. So i haven't really had the time to sit on focus on my reading or making plans to get out and tackle anything.

I guess it's not too suprising that i have been feeling a little anxious too. Mostly because im worried about everyone else. It's not been too bad. As i live in the family home there is very rarely a night when i need to sleep in the house alone. Either bother parents are here or at least one of them but last week i had to face a night on my own for the first time in years. During the day i am fine on my own, i actually enjoy it, but at night i think my mind would wander. I would imagine the someone was trying to get into my house or something and end up anxious.Anyway, last Friday night was to be my night alone. My dad was getting ready to go out, my mum was staying in the hospital. I went for a bath and my mind went wandering. What if someone tried to break in? What if i feel anxious? Who will i phone? What if i can't get hold of anyone? What if i panic so badly that i can't get to the phone? What if i pass out and im all alone? What if i panic and can't get to the door to let someone in? I couldn't believe the thoughts coming into my head, i have NEVER had a panic attack that has made me pass out or unable to get help. When i DO panic i retreat to my room to be alone and have quiet, i don't even want people around. I KNEW they were all completely irrational but the anxiety took over. I panicked!

I thought about calling my mum at the hospital and asking her to come home to be with me. but i also thought this was incredibly selfish and that my nephew needs her more than i do. I couldn't ask my dad to stay because he is in a band and was playing a gig, so he would be letting down his band mates and the people going to see him. So my dad was leaving and i told him i was scared. He simply said 'Well you'll need to just deal with it. Even if you do panic'. I know some people might think this was heartless but it actually done me good. I thought about it and said, ok, i am 27 years old. I'm not a baby, i don't want to rely on others. I am going to deal with this in my own and if i panic then thats just too bad. And just like that the anxiety left me. I felt fine.I don't know if i would had stayed so calm for the whole night untill my dad returned but my boyfriend Chris showed up so i didn't need to find out. I ended up texting my dad and telling him not to rush back but to stay out and enjoy himself because i was ok and was just being silly earlier. However the thought of a night completely alone still doesnt exactly appeal but i know it's a challange that i am willing to take on should i have to.

So.... another week has past like hundreds before when i haven't done much at all. I feel its understandable but i also feel all i do is procrastinate!! Am i just making excuses AGAIN???I do feel that i make great progress when i am completly focused on myself. When i am totally devoted to the task at hand and right now i just don't feel that is possible. Tonight will be my first night alone without friends or Chris popping by and thankfully i don't have the toothache to deal with so im going to get my head into the books again. This weekend i have my other two nephews again. Riley & Jude are coming to stay so that means that Saturday and Sunday are going to be busy with the boys and again i wont really be able to do much regarding the agoraphobia except perhaps taking them for a walk. Anyway i am rambling. This update seems all over the place, a bit like my head at the moment. Oh and also in the news it is now saying that the medication i am on, Seroxat, doesnt actually work! Oh well that was music to my ears haha something else to be dealing with. Anyway i will be off. Hi to everyone, hope you are all well. And a special mention to Monica who is in hospital this week. You are in my thoughts xxx

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Cognative Behavioural Therapy For Dummies

I thought i would let you know that i have just bought this book on Cognative Behavioural Therapy. The customer reviews are all very impressive with each reader giving the book 5 stars. Here is an example :-

I had used the 'Dummies' series of books before and enjoyed reading them. The style of writing is extremely easy to read, you can simply pop in and out of the book to re-read certain sections as it is all categorised, and the two writers use humour which helps a great deal when dealing with this subject. I recently had a slight re-lapse when on holiday and had a panic attack. However due to the way the book is written I easily found a part I needed to re-read and was feeling 100% again within minutes If you are suffering from negative thoughts, depression, panic attacks, phobias etc. then this book is for you and WILL help. After reading only a small section I was feeling much better and thinking "hmmm, now I understand!"

I have also bought another booked called The Cognative Behavioural Therapy Workbook
This is described on Amazon as follows :-

CBT is a proven and effective approach to mastering your thoughts, and here the authors of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Dummies show you step-by-step how to put the lessons of their book into practice.Inside you'll find a huge number of hands-on exercises and techniques to help you remove roadblocks to change - whether you're seeking to overcome anxiety and depression, boost self-esteem, lose weight, beat addiction or simply improve your outlook in your professional and personal life - and regain control over your life.Rhena Branch and Rob Willson are CBT therapists at the Priory Clinic in London, and the authors of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Dummies.

These books may or may not work but i will give them a read and then i'll report back with my verdict. I bought them as i thought they would give me a good idea of what to plan on my weekly schedule, what tasks to attack etc. I will let you know how i get on.

Attack Anxiety Website

I'd like to thank the women who left me a comment regarding the site 'Attack Anxiety'. There is a lot of helpful advice on there and it also offers a free Subliminal CD and E Book. Hope people find this useful, anything is work a try.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Questions & Answers

I have gone through a load of my emails and thought i would answer more of the questions i have been asked. I have written about most of this before but this is probably a quicker way to recap.

What is your diet, do you drink caffine?

A good diet is obviously better for us for a number of reasons but i have heard it is also good for dealing with anxiety. I few months back i stopped drinking fizzy juice (soda) completely. I now only drink water. Yes i do drink Caffine. When i first got anxiety i cut out caffine and alcohol completely but now i think they are both fine in moderation. If i am having a particularly anxious day i will probably give coffee a miss.

I found this website which may be more useful

Have you tried EMDR?

I haven't tried this yet but i am due to try it in the future. A friend of mine who is a nurse is learning EMDR and i have offered myself up as a guinea pig. Apparently my friend sat in with a man giving EMDR therapy and she was shocked by the impressive results. I have no idea if this will work or even just help a little but i am willing to try anyway, i don't think it will do any harm.

What benefits am i entitled to?

I know there are a lot of people who read my blog in the states and unfortunatley it seems that they don't get financial help that we have in the UK. If your anxiety has stopped you being able to go out to work you should be entitled to Incapacity Benefit and maybe also Disability Living Allowance.

What is your biggest fear when having a panic attack?

I had many fears in the past. Now i don't have them that much at all. When in the midst of extreme panic i would most commonly worry that i was either going to lose control, have a heart attack or stop breathing. I finally managed to get my head around the fact that these things weren't going to happen to me. That it is just anxiety causing these sensations, adrenalin pumping through my body. I have read so much information and experienced so many panic attacks that i know nothing sinister is going on.

How do you cope when having a panic attack?

I go somewhere quiet and comfortable. I breathe and try my best to relax. Recently i have been using EFT and tapping but usually it is all about letting it pass. I accept the sensations i am having and i talk myself through them. I tell myself that this will pass and it always does. Sometimes i will take a drink or will fan myself down to keep cool. I have also used wet wipes on my hands and wrists as i can get quite sweaty. The coolness seems to help me. Really i just try to keep a level head and talk myself through it and i have got better at this with time.

Have you tried 'The Lindon Method'?

I personally have not tried this as yet. It is something i will look into, but if anyone else is interested they can check out the website

Do your attacks stop you doing certain things?

Yes! But this is what i am working on. My life became so limited when i was housebound but thankfully i got out of that situation. Obviously it isn't easy to change. I am 'stuck in a rut'. Instead of TRYING to do different things and putting ourselves into a panic situation it is a far more appealing option to just stay home. To stop trying all together. In the end this is the worst option as it only frustrates us more. I have spent weeks lying in my room thinking 'i wish i could go out and do things'. Why not just GO AND DO THINGS, then i wont be obsessing it over anymore. I know it's easier said than done. But this is where baby steps come in. A work in progress.

If there are anymore questions then please email me. I don't claim to have the answers. I only know what has worked for me. On the agoraphobia side of things i am only just starting the hardest part of the battle. But i do feel very confident in dealing with the anxiety and i know how to make it pass very quickly. For people who have told me i am brave for writing this blog then i can only say thank you. That means more to me that they will ever know because anyone will know how anxiety can make you feel so weak! In reality i think that anyone who lives with panic attacks or agoraphobia everyday is incredibly strong. Life can seem like a constant struggle but we plod on, we keep on trying. We are faced with so many obstacles like social events, relationships, work or even just simply getting through the day! and i think that it takes a very strong person to live this way.

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day everyone! I know it's a little late but i haven't had a chance to write before.

Thing's are still a bit crazy at home. Luke got out of hospital only to be rushed in again the following night. Then since he was feeling well again, came home yesterday. Unfortunately he's just been taken back in again. So the phone is ringing non stop and the family are all taking turns staying over night. It's affecting me as i obviously haven't been to the hospital to visit him. It's WAY out of my comfort zone so seems impossible. I can't help wonder if i am just incredibly weak and selfish to not even try! I do speak to Luke on the phone everyday. He know's i never visit the hospital and doesn't expect me too but i am riddled with guilt. I miss him like mad. That's now 3 weeks that i haven't seen him...feels like much longer. He was meant to be spending the day with me tomorrow but who knows when i will see him now. As long as he gets better i am happy to wait.

Someone asked me about my Open University course in a previous post. For anyone who is interested you can check out The Open Universities website. Some courses can be expensive but there is funding available. Since i can't work and am recieving benefits u was eligable for financial help. All information on funding comes with the University prospectus.

Ok so update on the Agoraphobia and panic attacks. It's been up and down, as usual. Generally i have been fine. Although one night last week i had the biggest panic attack i have had in a long time. It took me by surprise and scared me a little as this one didn't pass so quickly. I tried using EFT and tapping through it but it didn't seem to make a difference this time. Thankfully i managed to keep myself composed and let it pass. When something like that happens it is so easy to feel defeated and to get back into the old routine of feeling sad, desperate and then panicking all over again. A vicious circle. But thankfully i understand my anxiety much better now. I know these little relapses just happen. It is like the panic wants to remind us what it can do. These little reminders terrified me in the past and would leave me confind to my bed for days, or weeks! This time i just dealt with it then forgot all about it.

I have decided to set myself an agenda each Sunday night. I am going to plan my week ahead and set myself goals. This might only be something small like spending the day working in the garden or taking a walk to the shops but i know i need to get myself out of the house and more importantly i need to create a routine. How many people like me have turned night into day? It seems this is common in people who suffer from anxiety. So... i plan to be up early, washed and dressed at a reasonable hour and ready to take on that days challange. It will probably be baby steps as i find that too many agoraphobics try things that are way beyond their abilities and end up scaring themselves, leaving them back at home feeling anxious again. I will put a copy of my schedule on here when it's ready.

So i hope everyone has had a good week & that everyone is well. Thanks again for all your emails. It really encourages me to fight harder and thats always appreciated.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008


I have heard that people can sometimes have suppressed memories that will come back to them during different therapies such as hypnotherapy. These memorys could have been in their subconcious and they had totally forgotten about them untill that time. It could be something that had upset them and some people say that by remembering whatever it may be can help them in their recovery.

The other night i was talking with a friend and 4 memories came back to me out of the blue. It was very strange. When it happened i actually felt really light and quite shakey. I wouldn't say these were huge events in my life but they showed me that i was having anxious thoughts way back when i was around 13-14 and i had never known this before. I had completely forgotten these things happened! The memories were...

  1. Having tickets to see my favourtie band twice. Each concert was quite far away. I remember feeling really uneasy about going. In the end i sold my tickets and felt total relief that i had got out of the situation. (Obviously i used avoidance before i could even recognise what i was doing)
  2. The next memory was actually being at a concert which was quite far away. When the gig was over i began to head home when i realised we had missed the last train. I panicked. I felt that i needed to be home asap. The people i was with wanted to stay there all night and catch the first train home in the morning but that wasnt an option for me. I INSISTED on getting a taxi even though the fare would cost us a small fortune. My friends weren't impressed but once in the cab i was happy and relieved.
  3. Another one was when i went to the cinema with my boyfriend. After the movie ended we went to catch a bus home. The bus wasn't coming quick enough for me. Again i was engulfed with the feeling that i needed to get home as quickly as possible. Instead of waiting i ran to a call box and phoned for a taxi. Nothing could happen fast enough for me.
  4. Finally was when i went out with friends to a village next to mine. I was in good spirits but when arriving in the village i realised i really didn't want to be there. I felt that urgent sense of 'get me home' again. I called 3 different taxi companies and just prayed someone would get to me within the next few minutes. When i got in the taxi i was happy and actually a little hyper because i was on my way home. I was safe.

I have no idea why these memories came back like they did. I have no idea why i had completely forgotten about them till now. But mostly i was just really shocked! I never questioned my behaviour back then. I didn't wonder why i wanted to go home or why i felt so uneasy. I just bailed out of the situation and then felt better. But yes it shocked me when i realised that all this happened when i was about 13-14 so the signs were there. My anxiety and panic attacks didn't properly start till i was 19 but i can now see it has always been there, lurking in the background.

I don't know if these suppressed memories coming back will help me in some way? I suppose it can only do me good and help me to understand myself more. I felt like i wanted to share this though, maybe some of you have had a similar experience?

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Weekend with my boys

It's been a great week for me. The anxiety i had been experiencing has completely passed, like i knew it would eventually. I went from not going out at all to suddenly getting right back out there again and even went right to the edge of my safety zone. Been shopping and took care of the annoying things like paying bills etc which i hadnt got round to dealing with.
So back on track and feeling good.

This weekend however i will be spending most of my time at home as i have my 2 nephews Riley & Jude to look after for a couple of days. Being typical boys i will be spending most of my time either cleaning up after them, cooking or splitting up fights. Lot's of fun!

Luke is still in hospital so things at home are a little up in the air with family members taking turns in spending the night with him. Poor little soul hasn't been doing too well since his operation but hopefully he will get out in the next week.

So that's all for now. Feeling happy and positive and looking forward to the week ahead. I hope everyone reading is doing good.

The Do's & Don'ts

I found this chapter in 'Self Help For Your Nerves' by Dr Claire Weekes. For those who haven't got the book i thought i would share it as i find it helpful.

  1. Do not run away from fear. Analyse it and see it as no more than a physical feeling. Don't be bluffed by a physical feeling.

  2. Accept all the strange sensations connected with you panic. Do not fight them, float past them. Recognise that they are temporary.

  3. Let there be no self-pity.

  4. Settle your problem as quickly as you can, if not by action, then by accepting a new point of view.

  5. Waste no time on 'What mighth have been' and 'If Only...'

  6. Face sorrow and know that time will bring relief

  7. Be occupied. Do not lie in bed brooding. Be occupied calmly, not feverishly trying to forget yourself.

  8. Remember that strength in a muscle may depend on the confidence with which it is used.

  9. Accept your obssessions and be prepared to live with them temporarily. Do not fight them by trying to push them away. Let time do that.

  10. Remember your recovery does not depend entirely on you, as so many people are so ready to tell you. You may need help, accept it willingly and without shame.

  11. Do not be discouraged if you cannot make decisions while you are ill. When you are well it will be easy enough to make decisions.

  12. Do not measure your progress day to day. Don't count the days, months, years you have been ill and despair at the thought of them. Once your on the road to recovery, recovery is inevitable, HOWEVER PROTRACTED YOUR ILLNESS MAY HAVE BEEN.

  13. Never accept defeat. Remember it is never too late to give yourself another chance.



Your thoughts????

Tuesday, 5 February 2008


Not written a few days but thought i would do a quick update of what's been happening lately.

I have had amazing feedback about the blog. I am so happy that people have found it helpful to them, they now see they are not alone. I have received emails from some really great people who i am now keeping in touch with. I like to try an support people as much as i can. I don't claim to be an expert on all this but i do think i have a postitive attitude which is important. Too many people out there can try to drag you down and that't not gonna help you.

I wrote a post a few days ago about my NLP experience and the therapist who claimed he could cure me in one session. I was really angry with what happened back then but i let it go. Now though i have got talking to someone else who has just met with the same guy. She too has been ripped off and left feeling worse after he got her hopes up. After doing a bit if research i have found more people still and have decided that something has to be done. I have written to the Daily Record which is one of our biggest newspapers in Scotland. I hope to hear back from them but if i don't i will try The Sunday Post which is where i first found out about him. I really think he needs to be exposed for what he is. I honestly don't know how he sleeps at night. Oh yeh i am sure there are people out there that he has helped, but what about the others he has let down and basically treated really unprofessionally? When i know how this is going i will name him on here.

So i've been a bit busy with different things, ive been out walking but i do need to do it more. But its cold and miserable and i'd much rather be warm and cosy haha... maybe im making excuses.

Sometimes we just have other things going on and we can't put our full attention on getting out and pushing ourselves. Today my nephew Luke is in hospital having a big operation so thats my priority right now, even if all i am doing is sitting nervously waiting for the phone to ring to hear he's ok. It's a bit tense at home, we are all worried although he will be fine.

Finally today is my mum's birthday so we are gonna have a nice dinner tonight and then i'll be seeing my boyfriend so doesn't look like i'll be going out but all in all i am feeling good. Still positive. Still planning on fighting this and kicking it's ass. Thanks again for all your emails and i would encourage everyone to get in touch if you haven't already. Keep smiling x

Friday, 1 February 2008

The Mind Boggles

I have had a lot of emails recently from people who have been reading this blog. The most common question i am asked is about the symptoms of a panic attack or about my negative thoughts.

People seem to be worried by the thoughts in their head and want to know if they are alone or if i have experienced the same problems. I'm going to write a very honest list of everything regarding both what anxiety and panic attacks to do my body and also the thoughts i have had and again i am doing this to show that no one is alone....believe me i have been there and so have thousands of others.

Panic Attacks ( What i feel DURING an attack)

  • Heart Pounding
  • Churning Stomach
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Sickness
  • Sensitization
  • Utter terror!!
  • Shaking
  • Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (feeling detached)
  • I may think i am dying
  • I may think i am having a heart attack
  • I can't breathe
  • I may think i am going to pass out
  • I fear i will lose control and completely freak out
  • When at home i don't want to leave the room when im panicking
  • When i'm out i can't get home quickly enough but worry, 'what if i don't make it'

When i am not having an attack but am feeling anxious this can affect me in many ways. I have both negative thoughts and physical symptoms caused by stress. I am going to write a list of both of these, this could be a long list haha

  • Fear of not being able to breathe
  • The feeling that i can't get a full breath
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitization
  • Sweaty hands & Feet (attractive)
  • Churning Stomach
  • Numbness in my fingers (Pins & Needles)
  • Palpitations
  • Not wanting to face anyone, switching off phone etc
  • Lose patience easily, very irritable
  • Always going to the bathroom (I thought this was just me, didnt know it can be anxiety)
  • Tiredness
  • Very Edgy, can jump at the slightest thing
  • Avoidance (either avoiding people or avoiding situations i.e making phone calls, going out)
  • Become preoccupied with, or obssess about one thing
  • Shaking
  • Always imagining the worst outcome
  • The weather affecting my mood
  • When summer is ending and its getting dark earlier i feel anxious
  • Fear of never getting better
  • Fearing a panic attack everyday 'Do i feel ok, will i panic today'
  • The feeling of not even wanting to leave my bedroom
  • Loss Of Appetite (some people may be the opposite and eat more than usual)
  • Completely messed up sleep patteren
  • Light Headedness
  • No Motivation, very lethargic
  • The fear of a heart attack due to a tightness in my chest (caused by stress)

Ok i will leave it there for now haha. I'm sure there are more but it's first thing in the morning and my brain isn't functioning yet. I know that people who haven't experienced anxiety will look at that list and think... 'Wow this girl is crazy', but i know i am not. The things above don't worry me because i am used to them now. They come and go, I have good days and bad days, but i seem to know how to cope now no matter how unpleasant it is....and it is VERY unpleasant.

Our mind's really are our own worst enemies, and we fuel our panic by living in fear of 'What If's'. I think all we can do is recognise that we are not going crazy! We are just anxious, and the things above are caused by that anxiety.

Like i said i am sure there are many more things i could have added to the list so please don't worry if something you suffer with isn't up there. The chances are i've just forgotten to add it. But if anyone wants to ask me anything then feel free to email me. I have had such positive feedback from this blog and i want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has gotten in touch. It's great to hear from you all xxx