Monday, 21 March 2011

Toughing it Out

Well last week was hard! Anxiety was very present and you all know how scary it can be when you've been rid of it for a while. I am, without doubt, my own worst enemy! I managed to give myself an emotional beating by thinking about problems over and over and over again.

The weather was typically poor with very dull sky's and rain and then to top that off we had a day of heavy snow.

I was stuck at home although as usual i made myself walk everyday, even just a little. I was fretting that I'm not doing enough outside, Nathans not getting out enough. Is this the agoraphobia coming back (although its never fully been gone). Is this going to get worse? No I wont let that happen i will fight it. But what if its too hard? This went on for a couple of days non stop until i was fit to be tied!

Why do we do this to ourselves. It is so frustrating because I knew the whole time I was just thinking about things too much. Fretting about things that probably wont even happen and making things seem far worse than they need to be. God its so exhausting!

Eventually the anxiety came, thanks to myself. At first i was even more anxious wondering how i would cope with the inevitable panic attack, as i have never had one alone in my new house OR while I'm with Nathan. But soon i talked myself round and decided i would ride it out and that it would actually be a good thing if it happened, as i need to learn to face it again, and tough it out on my own. So i got my panic attack essentials ready. My wet wipes, for the sweats. A magazine for distraction, a glass of water and my ipod for music distraction or some Apps i could play with. Even the app for panic attacks which is a last resort usually. Oh and always in my mind is 'I will video the attack' as this in itself would be a good distraction tactic. Of course when i finally faced it and was prepared, i was no longer in such fear of it and so the panic attack never came. I did have a few mini flutters, but that was all.

I fought back by making sure i was out even more each day, it is clearly not good for me to ever be stuck in the house too long. And i went visiting people to keep myself and Nathan entertained. Also i went a drive and pushed myself a bit further as i know without doubt I'm feeling a bit more on edge because I know i should and could be doing more than I have been. It all helped and the anxiety passed. I was able to kick back at night with the knowledge that I had fought and won, and that i had done enough that day. Enough for who? Well enough for me because it seems i like to give myself a really hard time!

The rest of the week was much more relaxed but i have definitely taken a step back recently. Its such a nightmare but all we can do is preserve isn't it. There have been a few times where i have been walking and thought 'hmm I'm not feeling too good so i will just not bother going to... wherever' but i plod on anyway because i know that's the kind of avoidance behaviour that got me into this mess in the first place. I feel less guilty about Nathan because I have such great family that they are always offering to take him places. He goes out with me everyday and each grandmother once a week so he is doing and seeing everything he should be at his age. I just look forward to doing so much more. I need to get off my own back. Hes only 3 month old for goodness sake. The distance he is travelling shouldn't even be an issue!

On Friday i got a bit of worrying news. If you have been following the blog for a while you will have read me talking about my little nephew Luke. I sing his praises all the time as we are so close and he is more like a brother to me. Luke was born with spina bifida and is wheelchair bound but really he lives such a full and normal life. He is a fantastic little guy and brings happiness to so many peoples lives. However Luke has always has very sensitive hearing and doesn't enjoy things like fireworks or loud noises. Lately the bell ringing in school has been bothering him and so his parents were going to get his hearing checked again. But on Friday it went a little further. When the bell rang he suddenly got himself worked up. He couldn't breathe and it looks like he took a panic attack. Well.... this is one thing we never want to happen to any of our loved ones. Don't get me wrong there have been times i have wanted certain people to experience JUST ONE so they can see how horrific it really is. But not the kids! Poor Luke was screaming in the playground and luckily his grandfather who had just taken him to school was nearby. When he finally got to him Luke was screaming 'Don't leave me'. It took an hour and a half for him to be calmed down. Apparently he has sweat on his top lip and was shaking for a long time afterwards. So to me it definitely sounded like a panic attack.

He was taken to the doctors and the doctor gave some good advice. Well in my opinion it was good advice. His mother was going to keep him off school for the rest of the day but the doc told her to take him straight back. Since it was Friday he may has spent the weekend dreading going back and getting himself into a tizzy. The doctor explained what the breathing problem was, he hyperventilated, and told him the trick of using the paper bag. He also explained that we shouldn't make too big a deal out of this. Act normal. Because really we don't want to scare Luke. He is a sensitive wee soul and actually very easily spooked. Thankfully he went back to school and was totally fine. I called him later and although i didn't want to make too big a deal out of him i tried to explain casually that i have had many attacks myself and that they aren't so bad once you learn to cope with them. I should mention this has happened to Luke once before and so you can see why we are worried this is the beginning of a longer problem. If it was a one off due to the bell we might not be so concerned. Anyway, he wanted to come and stay with me that night. Whether that's because he wanted to talk about dealing with panic or because i am such fabulous company i don't know ha. I asked him to explain how he felt when it happened and told him about the first time i took one and to be honest he looked at me like i had 2 heads so clearly our experiences werent very similar, but id still say it was panic nonetheless. We all know it can come in many forms.

We will all be keeping a close eye on him from now on...but just from the side where he cant see us. Lets hope it doesn't happen again. How heartbreaking to watch these little innocents deal with something so horrible and to feel completely helpless. I think that's what scared me the most was that i couldn't just make this go away for him. Because really the only person who can make panic attacks go away, is the person who is taking them. So fingers crossed for little Luke.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Thanks to Everyone

I wanted to write a quick post thanking everyone for your comments recently.

I started this blog as a way to vent my frustrations. Having kept a diary for years, i knew that getting my thoughts out somehow made me feel a bit better.

For a while I thought about stopping the blog because I wondered if anyone was reading and I felt i was repeating a lot of the same kinds of experiences, i didn't want to bore yous. But then in the past few months the comments have pretty much blew me away. People say that they love the blog, i love to hear this. People say i'm an inspiration, which i cant believe, but which makes me feel fantastic.

Now people are writing to me about how agoraphobia stopped them from having children, but in hearing my experience they aren't so scared and are actually re-evaluating the situation. I am so touched its unreal. I cant believe that i have affected people in this way but if i give even one person a bit of hope then i am delighted.

The best thing I'm hearing now is from Cloudy - OMG I'm pregnant, you helped me get the courage to do this. Now i just have to face it.

Seriously i almost cried when i read that. Massive congratulations. If i can do it anyone can. Yeah its scary when you think of whats ahead but take it day to day. Now that my pregnancy is over i miss it so much! I know not everyone loves being pregnant and at the start i certainly didn't enjoy it. But looking back i loved stroking my bump and just the excitement that surrounds it. Enjoy it. And then what comes after those 9 months is just the best thing ever. Why should we miss out on such an amazing experience? We aren't bad people. We have just been unfortunate to suffer with anxiety. It doesn't mean we don't deserve the happiness being a parent brings. And i have said before that i think having anxiety can make you a more understanding, patient person. Good qualities to have as a parent.

As for me well im doing ok. Im probably still a bit hard on myself if Nathan doesn't get a decent day out. I make sure we go out walking every day, so much so that even if its raining cats and dogs i still make sure we are out, whereas a non sufferer might stay indoors that day.

Remember i used to need a bike to go everywhere? Well i seen myself replying on the pram a little. Being so used to walking about with it i felt a little unsteady when i went out myself. I let my mind work over time and it almost became an issue. But i refused to let it happen and as soon as someone was there to watch Nathan i went out walks alone again. Its a never ending battle isn't it pfffft. But we battle on.

So thanks again everyone. I cant really put into words what your comments mean. I do read them all and try to reply to them (which i always did) but since Nathan arrived I've not been so 'prompt'. And congrats again Cloudy. If you ever want to chat you know where I am.

Oh and i turned 30 in January too. :/