Tuesday, 28 April 2009

My busy week

Last Tuesday I wrote buzzing with the excitement of my latest driving lesson. I was so thrilled that I had finally made it into Paisley town centre, and minutes from Gerry's house. I noticed that although the panic does come, if i ride it out and not bolt from it, it soon passes and i feel ok. I was filled with confidence and looking forward to the next few days or getting out and about and doing more and more. It didn't work out like that. Once again I am left relying on other people and i realised that i was still stuck. As i don't have my full driving licence I need to have an insured driver in the passenger seat. No one was available. Wednesday and Thursday I was so down. I was frustrated and even slightly depressed. I was sitting around the house itching to go places but with friends and family all at work or doing other things i wasn't able to do anything. I knew it wasn't always going to be like that though. I continued my walks, my daily routine but i wanted more.

On Friday I had a meeting with a new Occupational Therapist called David. It was your typical first meeting, lots of chatting and going over my history but i have a lot of confidence in David. As much as my usual OT Karen is helpful and patient, we don't actually do anything together. We go a quick drive, within my limit, and then i get dropped back home again. Karen doesn't really push me and i think in the past this might be what I have needed. Although to be honest i probably wasn't ready to be pushed and would have just avoided seeing her. David told me how we will be approaching my issues over the next few weeks/months. He said the first few meetings will be purely educational. Although i know about anxiety and agoraphobia he wants to cover all the bases so he knows we are on the same page. From there we will head out. David will take me to places where I will panic. He said that if we do something and I am not nervous during it, then it means that the task is too easy and I need to do more. In the past I would have been terrified by him, but now i am ready to take it on, i look forward to trying even more new things and having his support when i do so.

On Saturday morning i got up early and headed off to our local church. Once again it was time for my mums card sale which I have mentioned in the past. She hasn't been very well the last few weeks so asked me to do it for her. Off i went with a suitcase filled with cards, set up the stall and got to work. The sale is extremely busy with people packed into this hall and trying to grab a bargain. I managed to get a bargain for myself. 4 handmade rings from Kenya made of fishbone. A little unusual i guess but i love them and they were so cheap.

Sunday was spent with me working in the garden but that night my mum asked me if i wanted to do the weekly shop on the Monday. Hmmm our local Asda is a little bit away and also I wasn't 100% sure how i would feel in a massive supermarket. I was worried and I did fret about it the night before but I knew that no matter how i felt i wouldn't avoid it. I would at least drive to the supermarket and see how i felt once i was there. My dad came with me and once i parked up i thought 'well I'm here now, i may as well go on'. I was shaky, a little hyper too but i soon calmed down and enjoyed the shop. To be honest I let my dad get on with the food shop and I set off on my own to see the clothes or other goodies on offer. I tried to think of things I have needed or wanted but have never had the opportunity to try. And then i remembered Sushi! I have never tried Sushi! and so i set off and got it and, well sorry sushi fans, but it wasn't really to my taste. And wow the Wasabi, nearly blew my head off!! I went home and dropped of the bags and then took my mum to her doctors appointment. Once home Gerry came over and decided he was hungry so i took him for a McDonalds! It was easy. This is all so bizarre. I did take a pic of Asda but it doesn't really show its size. This place is massive. I don't think you can even see half of it in this picture. My nerves were very up and down but i guess this is what we need to go through to prove to ourselves we can handle these situations.

This morning i set off on my 6th driving lesson. This time as my appointment approached I wasn't as nervous as I was last week (still nervous!!... only not as much). I drove directly into Paisley town centre without mentioning where we were going once. Even Archie the instructor said he couldn't believe the change in me and that he noticed we drove there without any complaint from me at all. In past lessons i have moaned, suggested turning back...and even cursed at him. I'm sure he enjoys our lessons haha. I drove further again and before i knew it we were miles away in a completely different county. When there i felt my hands sweat. I knew that if i panicked i was now miles away from home and it would take me a fair amount of time to get back, but i just tried to put it out of my head and focus on the driving. It worked.
I spoke to Gerry later and suggested we go out for dinner. I am covering distances now that include all sorts of new shops, pubs, restaurants so i decided to put it to the test. I wanted to go to a restaurant and see if i could sit in there while waiting to be served, waiting on drinks, food and the bill etc without having to leave. We chose a restaurant called 'Table Table'. I did take pics but they really don't do it justice. Poor Gerry did say 'are you going to take pictures everywhere we go' but i cant help myself. I'm all over excited ha. The meal itself wasn't actually that brilliant but that wasn't really the point. I passed the challenge. Of course my head does still try to freak me out but i know i have covered that distance and been ok and also that if i got really anxious i would just breathe through it or worst case scenario drive us home, but It didn't come to that. I used to love eating out before this all happened to me, its nice to think i can start enjoying it again. From there we went shopping. Window shopping mostly but i bought myself 2 gorgeous mugs and went home completely thrilled with my day.
Tomorrow we are meeting for lunch. Isn't this all very normal???

(sorry this post isnt written very well but i just wanted to give you an update but im a sleepy girl)


diver said...

I know what you mean about 'waiting out' those anxiety attacks. I too have been out and about more this month than I have in years. I've noticed it's all pretty therapeutic - each adventure makes the next one easier. It's a sort of 'intuitive graded exposure' I guess, a process of re-aclimatising to society at our own pace ... I think this is much better than when we have well-wishers, psychologists or self-help manuals 'pushing' us in their directions and at their pace.

Wow. You ran your mum's card stall at a market, an actual mini agora! Impressive. Symbolic too, surely proof that you're moving beyond the agoraphobia!

I was wondering ... how is Gerry handling the change in your behaviour?

Jason said...

Slow down lynn! I can't keep up.:)

Robert said...

Keep at it, Lynn. You're flying!

Louis said...

My MY MY what a big success. Wow great going keep up the good work. Looks like you are on your way. I hope you are out and working soon and just too too busy to be able to keep up with all your e-mail friends like me. Because I am sure that is what you want.

MichelleBelle said...

Wow Lynn! Busy week indeed! You did so much. It's nice to hear you got through it!!!! It must make you feel real good when you think of all you did!

Breathing is so important when you feel the high level of anxiety or the start of a panic attack. I try to do alot of deep breathing several times a day even when I don't feel anxious (just for a few minutes at a time). It's helping me be aware of my breathing. And then when I am having a Panic attack it is easier to switch to that type of breathing.

Congrats on your busy, normal week and all the you accomplished!

Oh and also....Those rings you bought are so cute!!!!