Well hello everyone. How are you all getting on? I realised I better get in touch to update you on my change of meds and anything else that's been happening. So where to start....
The meds. A letter of referral has been sent to my doctor to advise my medication is reviewed and surprise surprise i have heard nothing so far. Of course I am fine with this and just play things by ear. When they are ready to make the changes, i will do as i am told. Someone commented on my last post saying that I shouldn't do it 'cold turkey'. I totally agree and that's not something i would ever consider. i think when you've been dealing with mental health issues for a long time you realise how to handle somethings, but if there are people out there who have been put on a medication and suddenly start to feel normal again, my advice is simple. Do not just stop your medication. You probably feel better BECAUSE of your medication and to stop them suddenly could lead to withdrawals, and withdrawals can be quite uncomfortable. With any medication do what your doctor recommends because at the end of the day, they know more about this stuff than we do.
Anyway in the mean time Ive been feeling much better and much more positive than in previous posts. We have reached the time of year i least enjoy but its not bothering me too much. Nathan and i are doing great and enjoying our little home and our routine. We had his first Halloween, which involved the blissfully unaware Nathan dress as a skeleton and we had his first bonfire night. He saw a few fireworks but to be honest he was more interested in playing with some random object at the time, he really does go into a little world of his own. He is so big now and looks much older than his 11 months. 11 months! But surely it was only last week we got home from the hospital!!. It will be his 1st birthday on the 14th of December and i am holding a party for all the family at home. I would have booked one for elsewhere but i feel that since he is only 1, home is fine. He can be lord of the manor and play with his new presents while us adults eat cake and take pictures. I'm sure he will enjoy being the centre of attention. I am not trying to be a martyr here but may i just point out that Nathan turning one also signifies over a year since i had a full nights sleep. What is a lie in? I haven't had one since.... well i cant remember. Nathan has never spent a night away from me and so every morning i awake to the sound of him ready to cause havoc...and cause havoc he does. I think i must have also changed approx 700 nappies. The joys eh. But that's motherhood for you and i love every minute and when he hits that 1 year mark i will be so proud of both of us. Him for being my special favourite person in the world, so clever, so beautiful and always entertaining. And me for my first year of being a mum.
Ive gone on before about my opinion on agoraphobia recovery and how i think its very much down to the individual. I found that therapy's i had tried for example EFT, TFT, EMDR, CBT, and lots of other abbreviated things didn't help me as much as i hoped. I found that when i took the bull by the horns myself, that's when i made the best progress. Maybe it was just the right time, but whatever i did back then opened up a whole new world of possibility to me. From being housebound and pretty much not doing anything for 5 years i was suddenly out having a life again. Doing all the things i never imagined possible. I acquired a new lust for life and an inner buzz that made me want to do more and more and more. I did get to the stage where i questioned... so am i cured now? I knew i was going in the right direction. My life was fuller, my anxiety pretty much non existent, but i still had limits on where i could travel to.
But life ain't easy. Oh no just when i thought i had it sorted i was met with setbacks. I swore to myself that if a day came that i didn't feel like going into a certain shop or felt any sense of panic, i would not avoid it. I was strong now and i would fight and fight until id chased those fears away again. But suddenly i was pregnant. I was tired. Exhausted. I didn't feel fear when thinking of doing things, and so i didn't do them as much. Thinking it was ok to do this as i wasn't avoiding things for agoraphobic reasons. But obviously the less i done them, the harder they were to do again. I realised to my own surprise that I had gone backwards. And to realise this when you have a new born baby isn't really ideal. So the guilt kicked in. This gorgeous little bundle of mine deserves the world, and here i am uncomfortable to take him to a park. Ive told you these things before and for sure my world has got smaller and smaller again. Then came the relationship issues. So to cut a long story short this year has been a hard one. I very hard one. My focus has gone from more important issues and Ive relapsed back into that frightened unsure nervous person again.
And so it was perfect timing when i was told about a girl who works with people with phobias. I had already got through the toughest part of the year and with a new determination to focus on my agoraphobia i figured it would be a good time to find out more. I was told that this girl has fantastic success rates, has helped countless people with phobia and/or anxiety. Takes great enjoyment from her job and doesn't do this for financial gain. She does it because shes a good person who enjoys using her skills to help people better their lives.
Well Ive met so many therapists and tried so many things that i guess Ive been a bit sceptical in the past. Ive often met with people with the thought 'wow they might cure me' but quickly became aware that NO ONE is going to cure us. The only person who can do that is US but there is nothing wrong with getting a bit of advice and a helping hand on the way.
And so i met with the 'life coach' last Thursday. I expected someone arriving armed with a pie chart cut into sections... Relationships, finances, hobbies, etc and to to help me find fulfilment in the areas causing me problems. But it was nothing like that. I immediately liked her and can see why she has such a success rate. She is a warm, caring beautiful person who immediately puts you at ease. Instead of me feeling my achievements were nothing special, she made me feel proud of myself and gave me a much needed boost. We done some NLP exercises and i genuinely could feel some of my anxiety reduce. Thinking about driving distances would initially make me feel tense, but after some work on these issues i realised the tension and nervous tummy were settling down. The session lasted 2 hours and was all based on my anxiety, my past panic attacks, memories of fear etc. Talking about where all my 'issues' have come from really did help me see things a bit clearer and make a lot of connections where i hadn't noticed them before. She explained to me that the work we did would be making changes in my head, or my sub conscious if you like. And so i was to let it all happen naturally and just see how i felt. Well in the days that followed I felt very tired and on one day all i did was cry. I don't cry unless I'm reeeeeally upset, it takes a lot to make me cry. But as i shed the tears i felt i was having a great release. A release i really needed.
In the following week i knew i had to try a few things to see if changes had been made. But i knew, as did the therapist, that i wasn't gonna be 'cured' in one session. Not when Ive had my problems for 10 years now. But i went out and tried a few things and although i could see things clearer i was still hitting a bit of a wall. For the first time in ages i found myself questioning how on earth i ended up with this. Why do i have the behaviours that i do. Did i get this because i am just a worrier. or could it be that my life experiences have caused me to behave in certain ways and make certain decisions? Am i gaining some sort of benefit from being agoraphobic. I have 2 inner dialogues. One which wants a life and to get out there and do so many things. And i have another who tells me 'oh don't do that you might panic'. It took me a while to realise that both of these sides to me want the same thing. To be happy and to be at peace. They really need to get together and have a chat. They might like each other and stop arguing.
And so my next session came and i expected the same kind of work but this time it was quite different. It turned out she had read my blog and learnt a lot more about me in the week that had past, and in learning new things we started to dig a little deeper. People have often said that the way to deal with your problems is identifying where they come from, working through these problems, past experiences etc with someone i.e a therapist, and in doing this you will release them. Well again i doubted this and figured there was no point in rooting around in the past because it is what it is. Whats the point in wasting time talking when i need to be doing something more practical, i.e going out! But as we chatted i made connection after connection and realised so many parts of my past and my thoughts could be having an effect on my present. Who'd have known i have major confidence issues. Who'd have thought i don't have much self respect. That i don't see myself as very valuable. That when treated like a doormat or hurt id just think 'oh well maybe that's all i deserve'. Like i said Ive had sessions in the past and its not done much for me, hasn't stirred many feelings. But as we chatted i found tears rolling down my face. I felt a huge sadness and yeah OK i felt a bit sorry for myself. Ive beat myself up about so many things for so many years. Ive carried a lot of guilt. I don't take compliments well and i expect most people wont like me. Why? A cried a few times and when she left i felt that id made some kind of discovery. I think my problems as far deeper than i ever imagined. I think there are many 'issues' that Ive maybe never recognised before, but in noticing them i did feel less confused. Lighter. And after a few exercises we did i immediately felt a sense of 'i am worth something. and i don't deserve to be treated like crap'
So although the thought of a long journey still makes me uncomfortable i am finding a little candle burning inside of me again. Just a little flicker. But i can see that in working together, and working on my own too, its gonna get brighter and brighter. And in dealing with all sorts of issues its going to have a positive outcome in where my life is right now.
I will of course keep you posted on my future challenges. The girl/women/therapist/life coach has a website and no doubt will have no problem with me linking you guys to have a look but ill get her go ahead first. I am nervous. But i am excited about the doors opening for me here.