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!!!


Jason said...

Great to hear Lynn! I know you'll get there too. I'm doing things almost daily that felt impossible not so long ago. Not only is it possible to get better, but it's inevitable if you go about it the right way.

Keep it up!

Lynn said...

Excellent news. Fill me in Jason. What have you been doing?

angela rodgers said...

Hi Lynn

I've been reading your blogs for some time, in fact, I've read back through all your entries. I find them really great to read, not only because our lives as agoraphobics (certainly much of what you write about describes my daily struggle as well) have a resonance but also your style and how you write is well, very good. You could write for a living, like Steph Penney who wrote, you know I've forgotten the title but anyhow she overcame having agoraphobia through having to do the research for her book by having to get to the British museum most days. Then won the (I think) the costa prize that year.Maybe that is the answer, who knows, certainly not for me, I cant write half so well!
Anyway, carry on what else can we do!! By the way, I too through being physically unwell this year haven't been able to push boundaries any further either and like you feel like a failure and I too find that the change in seasons is effecting me as well. Please keep writing, people think that panic is easy to get over and just dont understand or even try to understand agoraphobia, so I for one am glad you're there. Best wishes. Angela

Jason said...

Lynn, it's not so much the things I'm doing that are exciting to me(still got a ways to go for that). I'm mostly excited about driving/walking further from home and not having to constantly battle my anxiety. I can make appointments now without hesitating or worrying about whether or not I can do it. If I need something from a shop that's 25 minutes away, I hop in the car and go.

It's just those little freedoms that other people take for granted. That's what I crave the most. I know I'll never be completely free of anxiety, but I'm starting to see little glimpses of a light at the end of the tunnel.

A lot of the progress I've made is just building confidence and believing I can tell my anxiety to f off when it starts huffing and puffing. The more you tell it to f off and just do what you want to do in spite of it, the less it tends to huff and puff.

Lisa x said...

You don't give yourself enough credit! I've I'd have been half of what you went through in the last year I'd barely be able to face the day let alone push the boundaries of agoraphobia! You'll get there again - you always do!

I'm really dreading winter this year, last winter was hellish! Maybe it's a Scottish thing! I'm seriously considering buying a S.A.D lamp. The dark nights are already getting to me.

Lisa x

P.s. Any chance of sending a touch of the OCD my way? Annoyingly that's the only thing I don't have!

Lynn said...

Jason thats brilliant news. I find when i have that excitement back, thats when i make the most progress. When you actually want to get out there and push yourself, kick ass. Its great. Stick with it and let me know how it goes.

Angela thank you for your lovely comment. I never really consider my writing to be very good so to be comapired to an accomplished author is a lovely compliment. I had never heard of her but i had a quick google and I see shes from Scotland too. Im going to look into this more I find her really interesting. I hope your journey with agoraphobia hasnt been too bumpy lately.

Lisa im pretty sure it is OCD now. Its ridiculous i really cannot relax. I see a speak of dust and Im out with the hoover like someone possessed. If you mess my cushions ill have them plumped up again before your ass is off my couch. Im pretty convinced i just need to get a life and If i was having one of those outdoors, id be far less concerned with how my house is looking. How are you?