Monday, 26 October 2009

Have I Done Something Wrong?

Guess who is unwell again? Yes, it's me!

Seriously this is just getting ridiculous now ha. For the last 3 days I have had the cold but I would rather describe it as the flu! I'm sure its actually the flu!

I have stayed in bed most of the time but obviously each day I've gone out just to keep on top of things. I haven't been sleeping very well, and when I do, I wake up soaked with sweat. At least my body is fighting it.

Oh well, its not got me down or anything, but since I am in bed resting up I figured I would write a little post 'cough cough'.

The reporter who wants my story has been in touch a couple of times and she HAS interviewed me. But my decision wont be made until she reads me her story. I sense that she is trying to go in the direction of 'meeting Gerry made me better' and i wont be agreeing with that because it isn't true and it would misguide any agoraphobics reading the article. Are they going to start looking for love so that they can be cured? That's not what happened to me, so I will see what she comes back with. I did write about the article in the comments of my last post and what would make me want to go ahead with it.

Firstly, there are agoraphobics out there who don't have access to the Internet and who might stumble across the article and find some relief. To discover they are not alone and to see that change is possible. Secondly, They HAVE offered me money for the story. To be honest this is something i would NEVER have agreed to but I have debt! The money would take care of this debt and would mean that I could move into my new home debt free. Many people are encouraging me to go ahead with the article but somehow a part of me cant help feel like a sell out and if i really think about it, i don't want to do the article. I should mention that the money i owe... i owe to my mother, and I cant bear it. I want her taken care of so that she no longer has to worry. Also the coward of me thinks negatively. I live in small village where a lot of people know me, but to them I appear 'normal'. They have no idea of my story. I am sure many people would think my story is interesting, they might even sympathise that Ive had a tough time, but what about the small minded people who could see it? What if i get people whispering or even shouting 'weirdo' at me in the street. Yeh I am probably over thinking things a great deal. Chances are the article will appear in some little obscure magazine that no one from here will see, but you never know do you. Also Jason hit the nail on the head when he said he isnt defined my his agoraphobia and that is exactly how I feel. Yes it has been a big part of my life but there is so much more to me than that. So do i really want that label attached to me. Even writing this now I wonder if this is really worth all the hassle?? Its not at all... but then there is mum.

Having being stuck in bed for a few days I have had time to think about the past few years and I remembered how i felt when this all happened, or when I was having a particularly anxious time. Has anyone else ever wondered 'Have I done something wrong to deserve this'? What goes around comes around is what people say. Karma and all that. I used to wonder if this phobia was punishment for being a horrible selfish child. Or was it happening because I had lied before. Or cheated on a boyfriend when I was younger? I tried to turn this idea into a positive and say that this is happening for my future. This horrible affliction is actually making me a stronger, more empathetic person. And hopefully in time it will have equipped me with the tools to help other people in need, maybe that's why it happened? Just wondering.

Oh and the clocks changing. Does this only happen in the UK? Does anyone else dislike it? I know with anxiety people can dislike change... not being in control. I think it messes my routine. Its actually ridiculous but i take my medication every day at 2.00 on the dot. So the clock changing means i have to rethink this. Do i take it a 1 (since the clock went back an hour). or do i stick to 2.00, which means it is actually 3.00. Confusing? Its a total pain! I now take my meds at 1.30 haha. More to the point the clocks going back means that it gets dark earlier now. Darkness in Scotland seems to set in about 4.30 now. Great huh! I miss the sun!!!

Well i guess Ill be off again. Im reading 'The time travellers wife' and enjoying it so much. Usually i race through books in a couple of sittings but I am actually trying to take my time with this since i am enjoying the story. Hope you are all well.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

House Hunting and Gordon Ramsay

Hello Blogland! I feel my blogging is seriously lacking at the moment so once again it is time for a catch up. How are you all getting on? I hope you are well and anxiety free.

I have been doing ok I suppose. Considering it has been quite a stressful few months I am just relieved that I have still been going out everyday. Even if it's only a short drive or a walk I still make sure I leave the house. I have noticed though that I have just been maintaining the progress I have made. I still go to the gym, visit friends, go to the shops and things like that, but I haven't actually been pushing the boundaries. The one way I always got to push those limits was on my driving lessons and due to everything that has been happening I still haven't booked those! (Always procrastinating but I WILL sort it out).

It was Gerry's birthday and I decided that I would book us a table in a restaurant which we have both been dying to try. It isn't actually that far away really, but it would still be a bit of a challenge as I haven't really ventured massively out of my comfort zone in a while. For weeks I had known about it but it never worried me at all. I was confident that on the day of the meal I would just get in the car and go. But then on the day before the meal Gerry surprised me by suggesting that we give it a trial run to the restaurant. Well this didn't go down to well. Obviously Gerry just thought he was being helpful but I wasn't happy at all. To have it sprung on me like that, I suddenly felt like I couldn't do it. The drive seemed way too difficult. I don't actually know how to explain this....

I have found that making a plan in advance can be a good thing. I knew about the meal and I was mentally prepared to take that trip when the day came. I wanted to go, so obviously when you WANT to do something, it doesn't seem as difficult. But on the other hand when you want something very much, it becomes a bigger deal and therefor maybe your putting yourself under pressure??
This would make me think that making plans in advance is the best way to go. But then I contradict myself because I have often said I don't like plans. I don't like appointments. I don't like to be tied to something. For example a doctors appointment or a dentist appointment can have you totally stressed on the lead up to the dreaded day. Thinking about nothing else and in my experience, losing sleep over it.
Spur of the moment can work too. I can suddenly decide to go see a friend or go nip to the shops as they seem easy now. But if you suddenly ask me to jump in the car and drive 10 miles I wont thank you for it. In fact Ill prob shout at you.
I'm afraid I don't know which way is best. Maybe it totally depends on the frame of mind you are in... but I digress.

So after Gerry mentioned the trial drive to the restaurant (which i refused) I suddenly felt anxious about the following day. I thought about nothing else all night and built it into this huge tasks which i would have to undertake. To be honest, it had become to hard. I was gutted and totally frustrated with myself. But I told myself to at least TRY. Even if I had to turn back, i had to at least try it. I couldn't just rule it out, cause that would be the agoraphobia winning.

So Gerry's birthday arrived. I got up and got myself dressed to go for the meal. I was physically shaking and even thought of changing the venue and visiting a restaurant closer to home but I refused. Our table was booked for 4.00 so it was more of a Sunday lunch really but at 3.30 we set off. I chatted and tried to relax myself, in fact I was prob wittering a lot of rubbish but Gerry is used to me by now. Then disaster. Disaster for an agoraphobic on a mission. The road to the restaurant was closed. Big Diversion signs filled the road and I had no where to turn back. I don't really know what came over me but I just followed the diversion (not that I had much choice). I was nervous though and certainly not thrilled by it but i continued to drive. To Gerry the diversion probably didn't seem to long but to me, as you can imagine, it felt like miles. Thankfully we arrived at the restaurant in one piece. While eating our meal I did worry about the drive home. It wasn't going to be the straight road that I had initially planned, i had to take the long route again uugghhh! What if I panicked and couldn't get home quickly enough? Maybe my anxiety realised that I wasn't playing ball that day because soon I became really relaxed. When I thought of the drive home I actually looked forward to it. I would be driving through an area where I hadn't driven in years and I was happy to take a leisurely drive and just check out the scenery. But soon Gerry added that he wanted to go somewhere else. Don't you hate it when you think you have just achieved something major and then someone asks you to do more?? Being his birthday I felt I had to give it a go and after our meal we found a pub in a quiet old village and had drinks by the log fire. It was lovely but since Gerry was drinking alcohol and I wasn't, meaning i knew i HAD to drive home, i didn't want to stay for too long. The drive home was now going to take 3 times as long as I had first thought. Also I think it is sometimes helpful to leave when your on a high. Let your brain remember the good memories you had being out. If I had hung around too long I may have become anxious, panicked, and then wouldn't have ever wanted to go back there. So i was ready to go, knowing that since it was a success i will feel confident in travelling there again.

Gerry was a happy boy and I a happy girl. Last year for his birthday I set up a table in my bedroom and cooked him a meal, so things have changed! Happy with my success Gerry then told me 'Next week we can go have dinner with my parents'. Great pffft! (the pic above is the restaurant. The pic is from there website where there isn't a great deal to choose from. I did ask Gerry if I could take some at the meal but I know he gets annoyed with me because any time we go somewhere new I get the camera out ha. Its very much 'look at me, look where i am now!'

I have spoken before about my nephew Luke who was born with Spina Bifida. Words cannot express what Luke means to me, I would do anything for him. He was very excited last week to receive a VIP invitation to meet Gordan Ramsay. Gordon is the patron of the Spina Bifida charity, i think a member of his family was a sufferer. So Luke is going to meet the chef at the end of the month. I have always been a fan of Ramsay's. I know he is infamous for his foul moods and bad language but i have always liked him so I'm wondering if i should tag along ha. We are waiting for more details in the post.
House Hunting. Gerry and I are now desperate to live together. I do love living with my parents but we cannot wait to have our own place. We have been back out house hunting again and after viewing about 6 places we have chosen one which we both love. The only problem we have now is waiting for Gerry to sell his. Fingers crossed it wont take too long. Ideally it would be wonderful to have something and be moved in for Xmas. I cant think of anything nicer than waking up together and sitting around our tree opening presents but time will tell. I'm sure we have many Christmases ahead of us so I can be patient.
Finally, tonight I received an Email from a journalist looking to interview me about my 'story'. Having read my blog online the girl wants to know all about my life, how I became agoraphobic and how I am doing now. I don't know how I feel about it to be honest. I think it is good to raise awareness about agoraphobia but I'm not sure if I want everyone to know my business. Ok that sounds strange as I speak so openly in my blog, but no one from my town knows this exists. The only people who will know about this, are fellow sufferers who have searched for agoraphobia online. But to appear in a magazine, picture and all... I'm not really sure yet. Ill think it over.
So there is my catch up. My life over the past few weeks. I am happy and physically healthy (i think) but the mental health will probably always be an issue. I can deal with that though, I'm used to it now. My friends still suck ha, I havent really seen them at all. I have tried! But hey I am persistant so I wont give up lol.
Oh one more thing. Tonight i stumbled across a new agoraphobia blog by 'agoraphob' really enjoyed it and totally related with the author. If you fancy reading it you can find it by checking out my comments and clicking on Agoraphobs profile. She mentioned this device which apparently helps anxiety. Why did i not know about this lol??? If anyone has used this let me know your thoughts, and for those of you who havent heard of it, here is the link.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Panic Returns

Since my little trip to hospital everything had been ok. Gerald and I had a fantastic 2 weeks with out relationship at it's best and I was one happy girl. We went to Luke's mum's 30th together and had a really good time (as pictured).
Sadly that's probably been the best bit of the past 3 weeks. I am sorry this is going to be another blog which will have some details of my 'womens problems'. Ok so I left hospital after being told it was my period. That was fine with me and I quickly continued my routine. I probably rested for 1 day but after that i was right back into the gym and also to my Body Attack class. I now go to body attack on a Wednesday night and wow it is HARD work. What bothered me is that there must be 50 people in the class of all different shapes and sizes, yet i am the ONLY one who seems to really struggle and have to take time out at the side. People tell me it might be because everyone else is used to the class, but there are constantly new starts arriving so i must just be really unfit! It is either that, or my health is still not right. I have now been bleeding for 3 weeks. I could handle that. I told myself it was just my body getting over the latest problems but on Thursday things took a turn for the worst.
I had been having cramp and it got worse and worse. The strange thing was that it came and went every 2 minutes. But it wasn't just a little pain , i would go as far to describe it as agony. I had hot baths, used head pads and took all the pain relief i could find but nothing was working. In the end i told my mother that if I didn't know any better i would have said i was in labour. Well i wasn't far off. I was having contractions! i now sympathise with all women who have had kids. Obviously the pain is worth while once your little baby arrives, and i wont be ignorant enough to suggest my pain was at the same level, but I knew nothing was coming at the end of my ordeal. What killed the most was the back pain! Every 2 minutes I was rubbing my back furiously while moaning and wriggling around trying to find a comfortable position. I called an emergency doctor for advice and was told to just keep on taking pain relief and make an appointment with my doctor. At 6pm on Friday I gave birth to a tennis ball sized lump. I guess many people would have been freaked out by this but to be honest i felt relief! I knew i was right. I knew my body was trying to get rid of something. Sometimes it is better to go with your instincts cause I could tell my doctor didn't actually have a clue what was going on. I had been prescribed antibiotics in case I had an infection. I am hoping soooo much that this lump was the cause of the prolonged bleeding, the pain and other complications. I want to say that this should be the end of a nightmare journey but I think this so often and then something else happens to surprise me.
Scarier than this was what happened at the beginning of the week. I had mentioned briefly that i was having relationship problems and those problems came to a head at the start of the week. I have been through a lot of stress recently but this seemed to hit me far worse than before. On Monday after a long night of arguments and discussions I went to bed exhausted. For the first time in years I woke up feeling very anxious and uncomfortable. I tried to think of other things as a distraction but it didn't seem to work. The anxiety grew and before I knew it I was in the midst of a terrible panic attack. The panic probably peaked at a 9/10 but thankfully it went away quickly. What scared me most was the thoughts i was having. Very suddenly the thought of going out at all scared me. Not just going to the gym, or going to the supermarket, but actually leaving my house. Just the thought of it seemed impossible. My biggest fear that I would become housebound again. Of course with this in my head I felt even more anxious. Gerry was with me and managed to talk me down a little, but it just shows how long it has been since i have had to deal with this as Gerry has never seen me take a panic attack in a year and a half!
I felt extremely vulnerable and really didn't want to be alone. I told Gerry that he would need to expect changes. I imagined I would be very needy and clingy for a while as I didn't think i could cope without him. I literally couldnt imagine him leaving and going to work, i think if it had continued I would have made him call in sick! I cant explain how it felt all i know is that I was utterly desperate. It just took me right back to those years ago when I was at my worst and it scared me so much. I also wondered how on earth I ever got through it before.
This all took place at night and as soon as i woke up in the morning i said 'we need to go out'. I couldnt stay at home. No chance. If I had stayed home i would have sat around and worried, thinking over and over again about how my phobia was returning. I had to get right back out and face it. I think we only drove to my local shops but it was enough. I was pretty comfortable and had done enough to ease my mind a little but i had to do it everyday untill the fears had passed. Thankfully i think the fear has gone now. It just gave me renewed understanding and sympathy for those who are going through it right now, or who like me, have gone through it at all!
My routine has been messed up due to my little relapse and then the tummy troubles but I am hoping that I can FINALLY get back on track. I have missed the gym this week since I think i need to give my body a rest. but i hope that when i write again i will have much more positive news to share with you all. x