Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Duh Duh Duuuuuuh

Uh oh the dreaded day has come! The day the doctor decides to change my medication.

Probably seems like nothing at all to most people. For years Ive heard of other people doing it with no worry at all. But those people weren't me. Me the neurotic, obsessive, control freak. If i am late even by an hour in taking my tablets, id panic. But wait.... id never be late taking the little blue pill. I am far too uptight for that. I have an alarm set to remind me everyday to take it at the SAME time. Obsessive? Yip! Ive even heard people say 'I wasn't feeling too good today, and then I realised I have forgotten to take my tablet for a few days'. Excuse me?? How can you forget such a thing. I have realised that while i thought I was quite a chilled person in some areas, I am very highly strung in others.

There is absolutely no need for it, like with many things in my life. I have never felt a pill is the cure. But for years I have happily taken mine thinking 'ah its not doing me any harm'. Never mind the fact it probably isn't doing me any good either. 10 years Ive been on this stuff. 10 years is a looong time. Ive often been asked how long i have been on my medication and when i respond my answer is met with a raised eyebrow and a suspicious look. After 10 years why haven't my doctors changed it? Why have I not wanted it changed? My answer has always been the same, 'its never been a good time'. Always an excuse with me hey. But for years i was housebound and thought maybe the medication were keeping me sane. maybe without them Id have been an emotional wreck. Ive never been prone to depression, maybe that's because of the pills? Then my recovery began. Well I best just stay on them while i focus on my recovery. I don't need to deal with withdrawal at this time, wait till im stronger. Then Something else would come along.

We did discuss coming off them when i was pregnant but i was told they wouldn't harm the baby and it really wasn't a good time to be perhaps be feeling more anxious.

So here we are. The day has come. And how do I feel about it? Well I'm scared of course. Maybe someone else would take it in their stride but i know how my mind works. I don't know what the doctor will suggest. Will they lower the dose at first, or will they tell me to miss a tablet out here and there? Either way, on the first day that medication is lowered or missed i will be a nightmare. I'm wise enough to know it might be fine, and while its happening I will need to distract myself, keep busy. But I'm big enough to admit I ain't looking forward to it. Once again its the fear of the unknown but what i do know is that I am willing to do it.

This happened because i decided to take the bull by the horns and start fighting back again. I met with a nurse yesterday and discussed my latest situation. How ive maybe stepped back since Nathan was born. And so her first concern was my medication and contacting my doctor. Oh Lynn Lynn Lynn you did ask for it really. On a positive note i do want this. Ive heard a few people over the last year who have been put on a medication that really HAS had a positive affect on them. They are feeling happier, more positive and are out doing more than ever. Now i am not suggesting a pill is the cure, because I have ALWAYS felt its about us putting the work in. But when Ive been speaking to these people I couldn't help but wonder if it was something i should think about. Something to give me a little kick up the bum maybe. So now it looks like its happening anyway. I will no doubt keep you informed of any changes and lets keep everything crossed that its a success. At the end of the day, even if its a horrible experience, ill get by. Always do. I was bad enough trying to get ON these tablets and if i can handle that then i can deal with some heightened anxiety as i go through these changes. My medication is 30mg Seroxat a day. For my American readers I think its the equivalent of Paxil. In the 10 years since I was first prescribed this, medicine has changed and there are far more preferred drugs for people with anxiety/agoraphobia. Id go as far to say that my doctor probably wouldn't prescribe my pills to anyone these days.

I received an email the other day which some of you may be interested in. Admittedly I haven't checked the website out yet but the women was telling me some of the readers might find it helpful. It seems to be only American but its called Healthtap. They sound quite interesting and you can check out the website or the mobile app. Certified in 82 states they put '5000 Doctors at your fingertips' and according to my email, its free! So maybe take a look and see what its all about.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Back to the drawing board...Again

Well hello everyone. Another overdue post, it seems i am turning into Miss Procrastination these days. Not good!!

I like to keep my blogging positive but there is some depressing crap i should get out the way first.

Its that time of the year that I like least! The change of seasons from summer to Autumn. or in Scotland's case.. from slightly warm and sunny to dull, freezing and gloomy. We have had a really poor year weather wise and it feels winter is definitely upon us. This change affects me year in, year out, especially when the clocks change. I'm not sure when this is happening but i sense its soon.

I have always wondered if I have SAD (seasonal affective disorder) as i am pretty useless in winter. lacking motivation, a bit down etc. I am without a doubt a sun worshipper. I could spend all day laying in the sun or walking with Nathan or my nephews. And my mood will always be bright. I seem to spend all year working towards summer and the progress i will make in those months. Because in the summer I feel i can DO MORE with regards to my agoraphobia. Its completely stupid of course and totally wrong as I am pre-programming myself to be pretty rubbish in winter. But realistically who wants to go a walk in the freezing cold. Or go a drive when the roads are covered in snow and you don't feel particularly safe. However i should try to think positive!!

So as the seasons change I always ask myself, how did i do in the past few months. Did i do anything big? Did I make progress this year. And the answer this time is simple. No! Ive not done anything at all. Certainly nothing to be proud of (apart from 1 thing which i will go into later).

I am an expert at making excuses. Aren't we all? I didn't do this today... but that's because of such and such. Well my excuse this year in my lack of progress and slight relapse is that its been one tough year. Ok compared to some people it might not seen like much but i would say its been stressful and stress really does have an affect when your trying to focus on getting out in the world and pushing your boundaries. Obviously at the start of the year I had just given birth and so I took a few months to just learn to be a mum. Ok not something you can learn but something i definitely had to adapt to. My life changed completely in so many ways when Nathan came along, but even then I still kept up with my daily walks and trips out. As the months progressed my relationship was going down the drain and I had to deal with that, not knowing just how badly it would turn out. Next thing I moved house. I don't think i really appreciated just how stressful that would be. More so because i basically done it on my own, while seeing to a new born. Stress, stress, stress. Settled into the house and within a month BANG relationship disaster and total devastation. Am i being over dramatic? I think you'd need to have been there to see how bad it was, and i allowed the hurt and anxiety of that break up to go on for months. For about 4 months it was a daily event to be arguing face to face or via text with my ex or someone else involved. It was utterly exhausting and more than once i thought i was actually losing my sanity! I wished so many times that I was stronger and able to deal with things better but hey it is what it is and its all done now.

So these are my excuses. New baby, moving house and relationship in tatters. Dealing with that I the nagging guilt that I needed to be on form for Nathan. He couldn't see me sad and so I would paint a face on each day and appear to be fun happy mummy. Making sure he wasn't affected and lacked for nothing and god it was so tiring. I always have the guilt that hes not getting to do all the things he deserves and so ill go out walking with him, or visiting friends and family as much as possible.

Its had an affect on my nerves for sure. A few times I struggled with small walks. A lot of things which were once easy suddenly became a struggle again. Ive had issues with walking without the pram. Ive heard this so many times, it becomes a crutch, you get used to walking with it. And so when its gone you feel a bit, unsteady. Insecure. So Ive had to mentally get over that. I started to struggle with walking through open spaces like a square or field for example. Obviously very common in agoraphobia but not something that ever affected me. I felt i needed a smaller more closed in area where I had something to hold onto close by should i 'have a turn'. My eating problem, with not being able to swallow properly got quite bad and so i lost a ton of weight. I put this completely down to stress.

The biggest cause of my agoraphobia was always avoidance. And so when i started to get better i decided i wouldn't avoid anything anymore. It was such a buzz to say yes to things for a change instead of 'no i cant'. but as the years progressed Ive found myself using avoidance once again. Appointments have been avoided, or just ignored. And its bugged me cause I know this is dangerous territory. I know what this behaviour can lead to. Time for a good swift kick up the backside for me! Turn it into a positive here. Ive recognised what Ive been doing and I wont let it happen again. Time to smarted up and give myself a shake!

In the home nothing is avoided. I AM a domestic goddess. The house is permanently spotless, all washing done, meals cooked, Nathans bottles prepared. Hoovering, dusting all done. To the point I have wondered if I have OCD!!! It would make sense. Its something i have complete control over but i COULD not sit in a mess. I need my house immaculate and everything in place when i sit down at night and then i can relax. I'm afraid i must be a nightmare to live with. If i see a cushion out of place ill run and plump it up. What is it with us women and cushions??? I have way to many on both my couches and my bed but it looks so much nicer. Never mind the fact i spend most of my day fluffing them. Or taking them off the bed only to put them on again. I just counted 20 off the top of my head.

So the way the year has been i have taken my eye off the ball. Ive allowed my head space to be taken up by less important things. Should fighting agoraphobia be at the top of my list. Well yes probably but in everyday life its not always possible. And so its not been my main focus for a few months. I could deal with that if i was on my own but with little Nathan here i cant help but feel guilty. He doesn't need me to be taken steps backwards. I have been anxious a lot but Ive had no full blown panic so i need to get my fight back. My focus is returning to where it should be and I'm getting back into that 'zone'. Get out more, push myself more. Go further, get the buzz back. Its and endless struggle and sometimes you just cant be bothered can you. Its sooo tiring! But but but but its worth it when you get there!

Nathan and I go a walk everyday. Its probably only half an hour but I'm doing that old routine of taking it a street further each time. Its been relatively painless apart from the odd wobbly moment when my hearts went like the clappers and Ive felt that urgent ARRRGH feeling. But i tell myself to breathe and look into Nathans eyes and distract myself. Always wanting to be in control I'm not great at being in cars with other people driving. I like to be the driver. But now and then ill hand the reins over to someone else as a little challenge to myself. Sometimes I'm ok but a few times Ive had a little panic when the person driving has been a bit slow or on one occasion, when we has parked up and i was ready to go, they sat chatting on their mobile. No no no when you have me in your car you go go go! I held it together though and didn't scream at them even though i was screaming in my head. I feel in a way its back to the drawing board. Back to square one. But i tell myself its not square one. I made all my progress after being completely housebound. And so i know i have it in me, whereas back then i didn't think i could do a thing. Now i know that's not true. I am capable of so much more. We are ALL capable. We just need to get the belief. More so we need the confidence and i can totally see that's where Ive suffered this year. My confidence has taken a major beating and so its time to get that back.

My plan of attack is the same as before. Go out everyday, although that's never stopped, i do need to push the boundaries more. Listen to my Paul McKenna agoraphobia audios. And work with the support worker to improve and not avoid. A simple plan but Ive been here before and i know what it takes. Oh i should mention that I deleted my facebook incase anyone has been lookinf for me. It was just a break i needed after the split. There were a few people on there who were involved in the relationship split in some way or another and i just wanted to take a step back for a while. No doubt it will be reactivated in future.

On a more positive note we have Nathan. A total joy in my life. I still get excited to see him in the mornings. He has become quite the delinquent and i am usually woken by the sound of him wrecking his cot. The mobile is ripped off and he uses it to bang on the bars. Always with a big smile for me. His first word has been. It was 'HIYA' which he mostly says when looking in the mirror. Talking to himself already. Hes crawling and into EVERYTHING! He says Dada but hes always said this and I'm not convinced he knows what hes saying , its just a noise he makes haha. Hes said Tata and waved a few times and so we are working on this new talent. And his latest thing is kisses. Tonight he was in his baby walker as i made dinner and as i walked past at one point he lifted his arms and blew kisses awwww I love this stuff. And hes at that age (9 months) where he will be doing more and more.

The one thing I'm proud of is taking him to the park. It was something i wanted to do for ages and it nagged my head for a long time. I wanted to go but didn't feel confident to go alone and so finally there was a day when my mum and I were both free and we headed off. I think i was far more impressed than Nathan and also the bigger kid. I didn't care how silly i looked but I went on each swing, slide, roundabout without a care. It meant a lot that i could do that with him and i plan it to be a regular thing, as long as the weather is decent. Hes got a good little life and that's something i am grateful for. A family who adore him. A steady home routine with mum. Our walks and stories and play. And for the trips further afield, he has regular days out with his grandparents and his day swimming with daddy. So we are coping ok for now and as time goes on i KNOW ill be doing more and more. Watch this space!!!