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.


jenlovestim8 said...

Big hugs to you, Lynn! Everyone goes through ups and downs with anxiety and you are pushing through it like a trooper - good for you! And you are right, Nathan is getting out just the perfect amount for his age. Actually, he's probably doing more than most 3-month-olds since you are so conscious of how often you take him out. You are a great mommy! Your nephew sounds like such a cutie pie. I have an 8-year-old nephew and he is literally my sunshine. :) I'm sorry to hear that Luke has had a couple of panic attacks, but I sure hope that he gets through it and gets stronger. It can be scary for adults, but even moreso for kids who don't totally understand what is going on. It's awesome that you can share your experiences with him and help him - he's lucky to have an awesome aunt like you. :) I will pray and send happy thoughts to you, Nathan, and Luke for more happy days and less anxiety....or none at all. :) Keep fighting the anxiety - you are certainly an inspiration to me.


Lynn said...

Hey Jen thanks for your message. I enjoyed your hug lol. I will keep on fighting and report back. Time to give this thing a kick in the butt x

feeling-brave-again said...

Hi as a fellow anxiety sufferer I was glad to see your blog and am just writing to say hello and bookmark it for further reading.
Thank you for sharing your story and giving hope to others!

Kelly said...

Hi Lynn!
I am so glad I found your blog - I haven't finished reading through it yet, but I wanted to leave you a quick comment!
I finally found your blog after weeks of searching for blogs by agoraphobics who had documented their pregnancy and childbirth. My husband wants to have children, desperately, and I am terrified of it.
I'm 29, I live in the States, and I am what they call a "functioning" agoraphobic with social anxiety and panic disorder. "Functioning" means I hold a full time job outside my home. But every meeting, every friendly get-together, going to the mall, etc - they're all a struggle and a challenge for me.
I am terrified of pregnancy and childbirth on it's own (as well as all the doctors and hospital stuff...I faint when I get inside a hospital. Completely terrified) but my biggest fears come from trying to balance the struggle which is leaving my home every day to work - COMBINED with all of the fears and insecurities and pains and such that come with pregnancy.
I'm scared I'm just not strong enough to do it. And financially, I need to work for us to be okay. My fear is that my agoraphobia will become so bad when I'm pregnant that I'll lose my job and it will be a stressful situation for us to deal with, in addition to the pregnancy.
Anyway - I am so glad to have found you here. Please keep posting! And I'll be reading your older posts as soon as I can. :)

Cloudy said...

I hope your anxiety passed.