Monday, 31 August 2009

Time for a Ramble i think

Hmmmm whats been happening with me? Not a lot is the answer to that!

Ok so i joined the gym, which i told you about. Really got into it as well and then i got the flu. Seems to always be something stopping me in my tracks these days. All the baby stuff seemed to go on forever and to be honest it was STILL on going for a long time. I have an confession to make. I was bad. Well you know I was at the hospital for my scans etc etc. And the last time I was there I had the miscarriage confirmed and felt really anxious and scared? Well I was told to go back for a scan again to make sure everything had gone naturally.... and I didn't go back. Agoraphobia really is a total nightmare. Even though you KNOW you need to go somewhere, it can seem almost impossible. Obviously the last time i was there had really put me off going back. Where was brave Lynn who was up for tackling anything?? Well she was hiding for a couple of months. Totally in denial.

So weeks past with everyone on my back saying 'have you made an appointment, have you made an appointment'. It was too much pressure. So i lied and told my parents I had been to the hospital and been given the all clear (they were away for a few days so i could have gone while they were away). Eventually the stress and guilt got too much and I called my doctor.
I thought that if i went to see her she would just say 'Ah well lets send you for a scan' and i was dreading it because I really didn't think i could manage it but luckily she didn't do that this time. I should mention that I was worried something wasn't right as my pregnancy tests were all still saying i was pregnant and i new that wasn't right. So I finally seen my doctor last week and was given a thorough check over. She took bloods, she done swabs, she ran tests. And the result? Well my hormone levels are dropping, but very slowly, hence the positive pregnancy tests. That should sort itself out. And yes I did have an infection! Oh Lynn Lynn Lynn Lynn. Burying your head in the sand does not work! Luckily all i need to do is take a course of anti-biotics. It could have been worse though. I could have been left infertile so I know I cant be taking risks like that in future.

So then I began the drama of taking the pills again. We all know how much i LOVE pills. Not!! I shouldn't bother reading the leaflet that comes with pills, but i always do and it scares me every time. Usually if they say it can effect my breathing I wont take it. My breathing is how i keep myself calm so i don't like anything that messes with my breathing. This one, however, said it would make me drowsy. Well fantastic! I don't DO drowsy. I don't want to feel any way but alert. So that was off putting. But the clincher would have been when i seen that it could cause hallucinations. We all want that don't we? Especially when we suffer from anxiety. Well it took a couple of days for me to suck it up and take the damn things. OBVIOUSLY I have had none of the side effects, even though i knew i wouldn't have any, i was still stressing. Now i take them every time I am meant to and I even look forward to taking them because I feel them working and feel my body healing!

So i spent last week with the flu. It was a struggle. I felt VERY agoraphobic one day. In fact that's not true. I felt very ANXIOUS. I am telling myself that i am no longer agoraphobic. I stuffer from anxiety, this is true, but i don't fear going outside anymore. I don't fear supermarkets, big buildings, crowds, and i can handle queues to a certain extent. My only agoraphobia moments are traveling a big distance from home, but i think that's more about habit. I haven't been travelling far for so long that the thought does scare me. And I am certain that if I went far I would panic about it but I wouldn't necessarily flee for home like I would have in the past. So last week I was feeling anxious. I was feeling frustrated too that I haven't been travelling as far as I was when i was taking my driving lessons. I hadn't been close to Gerry's house or into Paisley since the visit to the hospital. but to stay sane I tried to cut myself some slack. Ok, I hadn't done those things but I had still been going out everyday. I still went to the gym which was new. I still went out to lunch, seen friends etc. I was pretty much still doing everything, apart from driving a little bit further. The pregnancy, the miscarriage, the flu all affected that, but it doesn't mean i wont do it again. In my head I remembered back to when i was housebound. I was really worried that U would end up that way again. I was avoiding the hospital, avoiding my driving lessons, and it was avoidance that caused me to be agoraphobic in the first place. The thought of ended up stuck at home again terrified me so i decided to act. I got my diary and wrote a plan for the week. There were silly things i was avoiding but I decided to write them down and make myself achieve them over the next 7 days.

  • Book driving lesson

  • Phone Doctors

  • Drive round town everyday

  • Walk every day

  • Listen to Paul McKenna every night

  • Phone Aunt (i had meant to visit her once but didn't go and hadn't been in touch since)

  • Book Dentist

  • Phone Occupational Therapist Karen

  • Phone Hairdresser

  • Make Fiona's invites

  • Go to Gym 4 x

Ok Fiona was having a party and asked me to make her invitations. I had put it off and put it off thinking the party was months away but received a text asking if the invites were ready. Ughhh. Finally I spent a full day making 70 handmade cards for her. Very Fancy the were and I was very pleased with them and surprised how well they turned out. I ticked that off. I got my hair cut, ticked that off. Dentist grrrr, booked it, went, had a root canal. Had avoided it so long, even sitting in the waiting room i wanted to bolt, but I didn't. Got it done, no pain relief, but none needed, it was fine and I was told I don't need to go back now for 6 months YEY! Ticked it off. I had got a bit lazy with Paul McKenna. When things are going good you can let these things slip a little but I felt I needed that wee routine again so hes been coming to bed with me at night. Driving lesson is booked, been to the doctors like i said. Phoned Karen the occupational Therapist and had a meeting with her. That had all stopped due to the pregnancy/miscarriage/flu, but now we are back on track.

So basically i done everything on the list. I think the list was a great idea. My head was all over the place with the things that needed done but that helped me to see more clearly. Then you have the sense of achievement when you have ticked everything. Once again I tell myself that agoraphobia will not win as long as I face up to things and don't be AVOIDING again.

I also went to the local pub quiz with my brother last week and really enjoyed that so we are both going there together every Monday that we are free... I am always free obviously but he might have to work. We will see how that works out. My other brother is planning to move to New Zealand for a year with his girlfriend, so in an effort to save his pennies he has moved back home for a while and renting out his house. His dog George has been staying between our house and his girlfriends house and im enjoying that. He is such a miserable looking thing but i love him to pieces and I think he likes me cause he follows me everywhere and likes to sleep on my bed (although Gerry says hes not allowed on the bed, i actually dont mind and what he doesnt know doesnt hurt him. Dont tell him lol)

Finally, today I visited my Auntie. I was meant to go a few weeks ago and missed it (that's when I was having the car trouble). I kept meaning to phone her then forgetting so was feeling VERY guilty about it, but today i finally dropped by for a visit. I am ashamed to say I also have an uncle who lives in my town and also I see him now and again when he is with my dad, i never see his wife or his daughter, my cousin Olivia. Today though when i went to my aunts she phoned them, told them I was there and they popped by. My uncles wife, Linda doesn't feel like my aunt. They only met in my teens so she seems more like a girlfriend, and the fact she is only 34 makes me feel like she is more of a friend. Anyway, it turns out that Linda doesn't have many friends in this town and since i too have been moaning about my friends lately it seemed like a good idea that Linda and I should meet up. So, being a member at the sport centre, we have arranged to meet on Wednesday for a body attack class. Linda tells me this is like aerobics or something but i am game. I will be awful no doubt. Last time i went to a class the pensioner in front of me completely showed me by dancing away while i was collapsed on the floor looking like i was having a seizure! So I am happy about this. A new friend. I think it sounds like we both need one. And little Olivia. Well she isn't so little anymore. She is now 15 and I was so angry to hear that she is starting a new school tomorrow. Angry because she is making the move due to bullying. I hate bullies, i really do. Olivia's best friend suddenly turned on her one day and beat her up in full view of the rest of the school. Other people decided to get involved and also get some punches in. And so it went from there. She has been receiving threats via text, has been hit several times and finally it got too much when they started making knife threats and even taking knives to school. I am so angry but what can you do? They have told the teachers and they don't seem to be very helpful at all and so now she is moving school. It is probably the best solution, taking her away from them completely and now she can get on with her life. her new school is in a better area so I really hope it works out well for her. I will be checking on her in future now. I feel so bad that all this was going on and I knew nothing about it.

The same things happened to my nephew Riley. Since he was moving into high school after the summer holidays he went for 2 'taster' days at what would be his new school. On the last day he was walking home and was beaten up by 3 boys. It turns out that the leader of the little group is from a well known family in his town. The family are notorious for causing trouble and being in prison etc. To put it politely they are a family who you don't mess with. Over the summer break Riley's parents had to search for a new school who would take him on at such short notice. He just couldn't go back to the school originally planned. Its so sad. Riley is the most amazing little kid and he wouldn't harm a fly. Bully's eh! Well he has now moved to his new school and made a whole bunch of new friends and I just pray it works out for him.

Anyway i have rambled enough for tonight. I hope you are all well, relaxed and happy. Catch up again soon xxx

Oh and if anyone remembers reading last year about Luke's mum being attacked while driving her car one day (in front of the children) well i am happy to report that it went to court and the women was found guilty. She was charged with assalt and made to pay a fine. Justice!

Monday, 24 August 2009


A little reminder to myself. I wrote this blog months ago but after a week of having the flu and being stuck in bed i have needed to remind myself of my own advice!

Keep a diary. Write what you have done each day, no matter how small. This way you will have a sense of achievement, order and also it is a useful way of looking back and seeing just how much you have improved.
Exercise. Ok I know not everyone enjoys this, but I do think that old saying is true... A healthy body, A healthy mind.
Listen to relaxation cd's as much as possible. I have mentioned many times that I listen to Paul McKenna daily.
Get into a routine. This for me was my biggest battle but I would say THE answer to my on going recovery. I slept most of the day and was up most of the night. Your not gonna make great progress if your all sleepy and foggy. Now my day is completely structured and sticking to this agenda is keeping me going.
Don't make huge unrealistic plans. Take baby steps. When I started all of this I walked to my Gate and back everyday. When I was ready I took it further, and if you have watched my video's you will see I can walk pretty far right now.
Do things at YOUR pace. Don't let anybody dictate to you. I would say that perhaps medical professionals could be the exception here but i really don't think anyone knows the right pace for you to do this better than you do.
My fight against agoraphobia didn't just start with walking, I have taken on other problems I had which seemed huge in the past. I would only bath during the day and I would never take pain killers (or any medication actually). Now i bath whenever I feel like it and I have relaxed with taking pills. So maybe you could look at facing some problems you have INDOORS before taking on the ones outside?
Talk! Anytime you have things on your mind either write it down or talk to someone. I will never bottle anything up like i did in the past. I know its not healthy for me and only leaves me sitting about brooding.
Make the most of the days where you are feeling good. A friend pointed out to me that he makes the most of his good days because when the bad days come and he is stuck indoors he doesn't want to think... I wish I had made the most of things when I felt better. Your only going to be frustrated with yourself for not fighting back.
Whatever task you choice, be it walking to the edge of your street, do it over and over and over again. Daily if possible. I know people might worry that their neighbours will give them funnily looks but at the end of the day who cares. Your getting your life back and that's way more important than their opinions. Also you could maybe talk on your phone so it doesn't look so strange or if you have a dog take it along. Making myself walk everyday has definitely helped me in the long run. Also if i have a day when I am feeling anxious I will maybe go a much shorter walk but I still attempt it.
Remember that there will be bad days and don't give up when they come. The good days always return.
Positive mental attitude. Seems so cliche but absolutely works.
Make a list to take out with you. If you get anxious and your head gets too messed up to think it is handy to have a list that You can read that has clear statements such as, this will pass. You are better than this. You are strong and will get through this.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The Ongoing Battle

Last time I wrote I mentioned something about a job. Well unfortunately this didn't materialise. I had heard about a vacancy through a friend and was very interested but in the end the company didn't create the position. Shame. More and more lately I have been thinking about getting back into work. For 3 reasons i suppose. Firstly, it would be nice to earn some decent money. Secondly, it would be a healthy routine, a confidence booster, a step back into society. And Thirdly, because it would be a good place to meet people.
I have spoken before about how agoraphobia can affect friendships. I was lucky enough to keep 3 best friends throughout my housebound years. Ok, maybe I could walk to the end of my street for a few years, but social events were impossible. I kept my friendships going through phone calls or weekly visits from my friends. Perhaps not weekly, but often enough. I expected that when I got my life in order, and started to go out, it would be exciting and I would enjoy lots of days out with my friends. I would busy, socialising and living the life i had missed for the best part of 8 years. It hasn't really worked out that way. My friend's have made lives of their own now. They are living with partners, or working, or raising children and I don't fit into that on a daily basis. Yeh there are still phone calls but I have noticed that I am not invited to social events. Do they just forget to ask me as they got so used to me saying no in the past? I know there are more reasons than this, for example one friend has a controlling boyfriend who doesn't really want her to have friends and the other is a workaholic so rarely goes out anyway. But basically its been very difficult for me.
What can I do to fill my days? I call friends and suggest that I pop by for a visit, but i am met with reasons why i cant. I walk alone. I go driving. I cant keep going shopping as ill be left penniless. And so it seems that I am ready to look for a job. Easier said than done. In the past I always got any job that I went for. The problem at the moment is that there are no jobs available. No one is hiring. So i looked for another solution. I don't actually know what made me think of the gym. I successfully changed my diet about a year and a half ago which resulted in me losing lots of weight, feeling better and become much healthier, but I have never really been a fan of exercise. The gym to me seemed like my idea of hell if I'm honest. But last week I had the thought that it would at least give me something to do with my time, and ill be getting healthy in the process....and wow i might even meet people!
So last Tuesday i joined the local gym. I was given my induction and left to get on with it. I have been everyday since. I love it! I have gone alone, or Angela has come with me which is great. We have now both become members and are really getting into it. I am not going to become obsessed with it and will take days off when ever i feel like it, but at the moment I'm enjoying my day having a bit of purpose. It also feels good that I have done this for myself. I get up and get myself ready then head of to the gym. I feel independent and I like it. As for meeting people, well the gym is not the ideal place. Once inside everyone is so focused on whichever machine they are using, the kind of tune out to everything that's happening around them, i do too now. And so this might not be the answer to that particular problem but i enjoy it none the less. In the mean time whenever i see another girl my age working out i give a friendly smile, of course they probably think I'm strange or even lesbian but maybe they might just think I'm a nice person lol.
And so the job hunt will continue and i will obviously keep you up to date on that. I'm not sure if it would be too soon to take on work, but i tell myself that it only has to be a few hours somewhere. Break myself in easily.
Panic has still not returned. I actually don't remember the last time I had a panic attack. This doesn't mean i don't dread them. Yes i know i shouldn't live in fear of them, but you cant help worry. If it does come i think I am strong enough now that i will accept that it has happened and then move on, continue as normal. In the past a bad panic attack would have me locked in my room for almost 2 weeks until i was ready to face some sort of normality. The only time I have come close was on Friday when I took my mum for her weekly food shop. We were in a huge supermarket and I felt a little dizzy, but i get that often so didn't let it bother me. it was while waiting at the check out i felt the urge to leave and the wave of panic rise through my body. I refused to move though and told myself that this little wobble was a good thing. We need to feel the fear and stay put. Every time we do this, we become a little stronger. And of course it passed.
I wont be naive and think i am panic free. I accept that this may be with me for life. But i hope that I will deal with it far better than I did in the past and just keep on going. I think it is possible with a positive mindset and good support. Which hopefully I have.