Friday, 23 December 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE




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

6 comments:

Louis said...

Im very glad you had your mother with you and in good health. It's great that you have managed baby's first Christmas. You are one up on me on the internet as I still have trouble shopping on line at all. My son bought us a kindle and I dont know how to load it and i dont know how to manage a cell phone. the wife bought me a dulcimer for Christmas so i guess I will have to start music lessons again. But thats ok. It will be good for me. I guess the point is we are all managing challenges and everyone is dealing with them differently. You have a happy NEw Year.

Labyrinth said...

I stumped across your blog and I must say wow.

I would say I’m one of the most un- Agoraphobic people, I love the outdoorness of the world, but I do have anthropophobia, and also suffer from panic attacks due to this.

And so I have no friends, I hide from people continuously, even family.

You may find it difficult to cope outside, but as someone who finds socialising terrifying, I find the ability to throw a party deeply impressive.

Each to their own eh?

Jason said...

Hey Merry Christmas Lynn! Glad to see you're doing well and can't believe you've already celebrated your sons first birthday! Can't be a year already can it?

Anyway, I don't think the dinner thing should be looked at as a failure. You have to be willing to have those times when you don't follow through with plans. I think one of the things that really led me to agoraphobia was the attitude that I'd rather not make a plan at all than plan for something and not show up. I was putting too much pressure on myself and always felt like I let people down if I wasn't there.

Happy new year!

artgirl said...

Hi. I just read part of your blog and I can see how positive you are and how I think that helps you. I have agoraphobia and I have had it off and on for about 15 years. Sometimes I can go and drive through Candy Cane lane at Christmas and go to the grocery store and sometimes I am pretty much homebound. Although I can usually go outside and right around my place. In fact that seems helpful most days.

I have been thinking that I have not been as positive lately, and while that is perfectly understandable, I think it is effecting my progress. So, thanks for the reminder that being positive makes some difference.

And I will share with you, in case it may help you, that exposure therapy helps me. I can't find a good article on it on the internet; I learned about it from a therapist (in the US, where I am). It is basically exposing yourself little by little to your phobia, on a regular basis, but if you feel anxiety, it's important to then not proceed (like you did with the dinner). You listened to yourself and respected that you did the best you could at that time. And also, things may not change that much or at all from day to day for a while. For me I can walk a certain distance right now and I don't push it farther unless I feel no anxiety.

The therapist told me that it can take a long time with exposure therapy, but it is effective. He had worked with a police officer who acquired a phobia of dogs due to being attacked by one of the police dogs. It took a year of them working together for him to recover completely and go back to work.

Happy New Year to you and your son!

Regards,
Candy

Blogger25 said...

i am so glad I found your blog. I have had anxiety and depression for 10 years, and agoraphobia along with driving/car passenger phobia for almost a year. I am so glad that I'm not alone. I would love advice...please email me at jpaigepost2@gmail.com

Max said...

Therapists are bad for you - it's only in their interest to keep you dependent on drugs :@

Agoraphobia, in my experience (as a former agoraphobic) lies heavily in your subconscious. Realize how and why you got it in the first place and you're free! Or at least that's what happened with me.

RECOVERY IS ACTUALLY NOT RARE AT ALL!!!

You gotta expose, expose, expose! I've tested so many different mind-tricks and non-traditional techniques on myself that I once found myself in the middle of a forest with a pen and paper in my hand, drawing a map of my surroundings @_@

Sounds crazy but what's crazier is that it actually works.

That's a nice content-rich website! Guys, could you please check out mine too? I'm writing a blog and I've described how I've gotten rid of my Agoraphobia. Just google "former agoraphobic" or go to former-agoraphobic.comlu.com

Thanks and lots of luck! You're gonna need it! I'll see you on the other side of Agoraphobia!