I'm on to wish you all a Merry and Fabulous Christmas as i don't think ill have a chance to get on before then.
I hope you are all in good spirits, looking forward to the get togethers, dinner and gifts. I truly hope you are all calm and can relax over the holidays and just enjoy this time. No fretting or anxiety. If some of you are stressing about journeys you need to make or things you need to attend, then i send you my most positive thoughts and remind you that you can do it.
As for me, well I've been working really hard on pushing my boundaries and while there have been some failures, there have also been many successes. To be fair theres only been on failure but I'm not dwelling on it too much. Briefly i will explain.
An early Christmas dinner was booked for 7 of us at a restaurant. It was brought to my attention more than once that it had been booked at a location JUST for me, so that I could be there. Whenever people discussed the plans i assured them I would be there. I didn't once allow myself to think it wasn't going to happen. I listened to relaxation Cd's, i worked on my breathing, i visualised the journey over and over again. And when thinking about going i felt ok, whereas in the past id have been nervous for days before it. And so i was gutted when i got in the car to drive to the restaurant and felt the old familiar anxiety kicking in with a little bit of nausea chucked in too. Circumstances on the day weren't ideal and so i backed out. I realised i wasn't doing this meal for me. I was doing it for everyone else. I wanted to be excited about it, and look forward to it, but it didn't happen. I was scared to say no to it, scared of the total disappointment and guilt id feel when i went home having failed. But i was fine. It just wasn't the right time and I know i will eventually be back in the situation where i WILL do it.
And although i did look at this as a down point, there are a lot of things that are now achievable again that weren't for a while. I'm walking much further, I'm driving further. I'm making appointments and sticking to them. I'm going to the supermarket on my own. Making plans with friends. And these things have been done with little or no anxiety at all. This is down to practice, not avoiding AND my little helper Rashelle.
Another achievement which might not seem much, was Nathans 1st birthday. I THOUGHT it would be less hassle to have it at home. I THOUGHT it would be a quiet affair with close family and so i THOUGHT it made more sense than to book some venue when he wouldn't have a clue what was going on. In the end Nathans party had over 20 guests (which doesn't sound much but looks VERY busy in my small living room). It took me 3 days of organising the house. Decorating the place with balloons and banners, shopping and providing a huge buffet, not to mention pres ants and of course the cake. And while this might usually be easy, it was rather stressful doing it with no help and Nathan constantly by my side demanding my attention. I never realised that by throwing the party it meant i never really got to enjoy it. I never stopped! Giving drinks, food, more coffee, cake etc etc. I had to make sure my guests were happy, which they were, but the whole things a bit of a blur to me. In the end though everyone had an amazing time and felt extremely proud of myself. I did all that all on my own. This a girl who used to be cowering in a bedroom in her parents house, scared to be left on her own for 5 minutes for fear of a total panic attack breakdown.
Following the party i then took Nathan to watch my nephew in his school Christmas concert. Sitting in a huge hall surrounded by hundreds of people i was proud to be there with my son. To do something 'christmassy' together. It got me in good spirits and it was more evidence of my improvements because a few weeks ago I'm not sure if i would have faced that, but I'm doing my best not to avoid things so much (minus the restaurant).
So as the party ended my focus moved to the next event. Christmas. Well it can be pretty easy for an agoraphobic to do Christmas shopping, as practically every shop has a website now. So that's never really posed a problem anyway. Yeh of course i do miss walking around the city centre, seeing the Christmas lights and hearing the Christmas songs playing from shop to shop. But hey who needs to stomp around in the freezing cold, wait in queues and fight with people over the last 'must have toy' on the shelf? That was always my excuse when i got invited shopping and to be honest i think id still do most of it online even if i could get out there. But anyway, with gifts easily ordered i decided to step up and offer my mother a break this year. Every year since, well every year since i can remember, my mum has cooked Christmas dinner. she never gets to sit and enjoy a meal cooked for her, shes harassed and tired and i figured she deserved to properly enjoy it for once. So Christmas dinner is at my house this year. I'm only cooking for 5 but considering Ive never cooked a Turkey this could be an interesting challenge. And again cooking it with Nathan wrapped around my legs should be fun too. But hey these are the joys of motherhood and i love it.
I very vividly remember a Christmas where i was an anxious wreck. Taking panic attacks throughout the day i couldn't even have my meal. Instead i was sat on the sofa beside the dining table, watching everyone else. Theres video footage of that Christmas and I'm sitting biting my nails with huge frightened eyes. Its so sad to see and i remember it clearly, but i feel i can say i KNOW that will never happen again. I think that was my first year of panic attacks actually so it was all so new and scary, now i feel like a veteran.
I'm all organised now. Ive got in all the food, the table is ready to be set. Nathans gifts are all wrapped and ready to be laid out. All i need to do now is cook. But i hope it goes well and i can give my mum an amazing day, and i hope my OCD with the cleaning can take a back seat for a while because already I'm dreading the dishes this meal is going to create (i MUST chill out!!!)
Well i suppose i should get off and head to bed. Its Christmas eve tomorrow and i am going to offer my gift wrapping services to my mum, who unlike me hasn't wrapped a thing. I really wish you all the best and if ANYONE is having the anxious not so good Christmas then please feel free to get in touch. x x x
Friday, 23 December 2011
Posted by Lynn at 21:49