Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Separation Anxiety, Cherish, Reiki, Halloween & Christening PHEW

Lots to tell.  LOTS to tell....Where to begin.

OK separation anxiety.  Ive always had a few issues with this.  Firstly, i was very attached to my mum for many years and didn't want her leaving me for any length of time.  But i FORCED myself to work through that with an hour here and there.  Determined not to rely on other people to keep me calm and also because i didn't want to be a huge burden on her.  Then she went to America for a 5 week holiday and I was absolutely fine.  So i cracked it.  Since then I have obviously left the family home and although i wouldn't like her travelling to the other side of the world, the anxiety has gone.

And now theres Nathan.  When I know he is going out for the day with someone, I look forward to the break, but i also feel a sense of dread, because i KNOW that when he leaves I'm going to feel uncomfortable.  As usual it is a control thing.  If he goes out and i panic and want him home, how quickly can the person he is with return him? What if that person doesn't have a car but is having to take a bus or 2?  That will take ages and by then ill be ready for the nut house. Even worse is when he goes out with his gran who has no phone.  So not only can i not get him back, but i have absolutely no idea where he is. 

The rational side of my head tells me to chill out.  Nathan needs his days out, i need the break.  Most times when he leaves I'm a little uptight, but it soon passes and i actually start to relax and enjoy my time off. For a while I actually looked forward to his days out, knowing he was being entertained and i could do... well nothing! Ah bliss.

But as the winter crept in, and my mood darkened along with the early nights, that familiar anxiety crept back. 

A few months ago my mum decided she would take Nathan out for the day and as soon as she mentioned it, i was uneasy.  I told myself i would not give into this.  Is not fair on Nathan and i NEEDED some 'me' time.  So the morning of the 'day out' arrived and i got up bright and early and got everything organised.  Breakfast, check.  Bath, check, Bag prepared, check. Nathan looking handsome. check check check.  Mum arrived and took Nathan away and i immediately felt the anxiety grow.  'Ok Lynn, chill out! This is going to pass, Nathan will have a great day and you will enjoy yours too'.  Rapid heart beat, urgent need for the bathroom (you know what I'm talking about), sitting in the cool bathroom the anxiety wasn't subsiding like it usually would.  'Ok Lynn stay strong, this will pass'.  Rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, turning stomach, dizziness.  'Can i cope with this for another 5 hours'?  No.... NO NO NO NO

The anxiety turned to full blown panic and i gave in.  No way could i ride that roller coaster for another 5 hours.  usually i look for distraction and so i thought of people i might be able to visit, or who could come to me and keep me sane, but on this particular day i knew no body was available.  And so i done the one thing i promised myself i would never do.  I called my mum,

'Have you got on the bus yet'?  As soon as she said No i was throwing on any clothes i could find and i was out the door and in the car shaking like a mad woman.  Within minutes i had reached the bus stop and highly ashamed I got Nathan into the car in front of a crowd of people, no doubt wondering what was going on.  My mum was understanding but her friend looked less than impressed.  I could tell she thought i was being completely selfish, but at that point i couldn't care less.  I just wanted Nathan with me and the panic to stop.  And it did.

Back home i got back into a state of calm and tried to provide Nathan with a fun filled entertaining day.  He was none the wiser to what had actually gone on but inside i was wracked with guilt.  I still don't think i would have coped that day had i let him go.  it would have been very unpleasant, but i only caused myself major anxiety in the future.

I had never given in like that before and now i wondered how i was going to manage the next time someone wanted a day out with Nathan.  For Nathan and for myself, we need those days apart.  There was no way i could just bring and end to them.  That's so unfair on him.  but as people started to mention taking him a trip here or there i was pretty terrified.  I didn't want him to go, but i knew avoiding it was going to cause bigger problems.

It became such an issue that i decided to contact my coach Rashelle, who Ive mentioned before.  Luckily she had a free space available and decided to try some reiki on me.  Rashelle visited my house and we discussed the situation.  After a lengthy chat we got down to work.  With any therapy Ive always been asked to give my anxiety a number from 1-10, before and after the treatment. And yes, after the reiki my anxiety had significantly dropped.  I felt totally relaxed, calm and enjoyed it thoroughly.  However, pretty much as soon as Rashelle left, i knew i still didn't feel good about it.

So Nathans gran, without the mobile phone, decided she wanted to take him for a day out.  She would be over on the Tuesday morning and they would be gone all day.  Time for a pep talk!

'Ok Lynn, you are going to face up to this and you are NOT going to avoid it.  Avoidance is THE worse way to handle this!  You will let it all go ahead and you will be fine.  Should you panic, then too bad!! Go into your bedroom and roll around the bed, climb the walls or howl at the moon i don't care, your doing it'!!

Full of determination, i got up on the Tuesday morning and very quickly changed my mind.  Nah i wasn't really liking the idea of what was to come.  I needed a plan.  I needed a way to get out of this happening.  And so i decided that when Anne arrived Id be very apologetic and explain that my dad has Nathans pram in his car and unfortunately had decided to go out somewhere without letting me know.  Oh dear id be so so very sorry.  id offer tea and cake and id suggest she spend some time with Nathan locally.  That would work!

Anne arrived and i explained our predicament.  I was so sorry, but since it was a horrible rainy day, and since Nathan would refuse to walk everywhere for 4-5 hours, it would be crazy to take him out.  'Not a problem Lynn, not ideal but I'm sure we will manage'.  Uh oh, i didn't see this coming!  Since Anne had travelled a reasonable distance and my excuse hadn't worked, i felt i couldn't argue.  So i was going to have to power through.  When i asked where they were going she simply replied, 'ah not sure'.  OK so shes got no mobile phone, she doesn't know where shes going.  She will take at least 2 buses to wherever she decides to go, but in that whole time i will have NO way of contacting her. 

Anne and Nathan left hand in hand and although i was happy for him i was terrified for me.  There was nothing else for it but full on distraction.  In the following 5 hours i was like a fiend.  I cleaned my house, and i mean CLEANED.  Every nook and cranny got scrubbed and bleached.  Still with too much time to spare i painted.  I painted FOUR rooms!! Still  i had time to spare so i cleaned cupboards, threw out rubbish, put things up the loft.  I hung shelves!! and when i still had an hour left i got in my car and paid my cousin a visit. When i look back i can laugh.  I was absolutely exhausted by the time Nathan came home and definitely didn't have a day off.  But it was a productive day, i didn't panic, and i felt i had fought a few demons.  Since then hes been on a few more days out and i haven't felt half as bad as i did on the day i panicked.

Why was that day so different to the others?  I'm again wondering if hormones can play a part in feeling higher anxiety levels.

Neve is still a regular visitor and i was delighted that she was able to join us for Halloween.  Theres nothing huge to report about this but thought i would include some of the photos we took.  Nathan was a werewolf, and really didn't like his costume as you can see.  Neve was a witch and i was some kind of scary doll puppet thing?? We had a great time ducking for apples and carving pumpkins before i took the kids trick or treating.  Neves bag was over flowing when i dropped her home and she said it was the best night of her life.  I was absolutely delighted.

Then it was Nathans Christening.
The day itself went really well.  The service was lovely. Nathan was well behaved and everyone enjoyed themselves.  I was a little nervous when i seen how many people had packed out the church.  there were 4 kids all being christened (or baptised) that day and so i soon realised id have to get up on stage in front of all these people, in this massive church, well away from any escape route.  So most of the service i just sat there willing it to hurry up.  My legs were quite shakey and i wasnt sure if they would carry me up to the alter (especially in my massive heels).  Before i knew it, it was time to face the music and thankfully i was ok.  Nathan was a huge distraction as he was full of beans and running around crazy.  I played chase and done my best to keep him calm untill it was his turn to be baptised.  He was the ONLY child who wouldnt be held by the minister but insisted on staying with me.  This was fine as the extra weight kept me firmly rooted to the ground.  It was always meant to be a small affair and so instead of a big party Afterwards everyone just headed back to my house.  I was stressed at this point.  People were hungry and looking to be fed and watered and so i was busy running around, literally with a note pad, playing waitress.

Everyday without fail, i take my medication at 1.30.  Always have!  yeh i know i am probably being over cautious but its just the way I am.  My phone has an alarm to remind me of the time so i will never possibly forget.  So, I'm running around like crazy making food when i realised it was time to take my tablet.  Got the packet of pills out, noticed there was only one pill in the packet, took it, and got on with my cooking.  My alarm went a few minutes later 'ok i can put that off since i have taken my tablet'.  Everyone fed, lots of happy customers, i mean family. 'Thanks for coming and goodbye'

Phew, feet up and relax.  Clearing away the mess i noticed the packet of pills winking at me on the table,  And yes, there was ONE tablet still in it.  OK, i either miscounted the first time OR i haven't taken it at all. 

Now usually that thought would send me into total panic.  Having never missed one id be worried about what to expect.  The rational Lynn would say 'nothing is going to happen.  You've missed one pill! No big drama here.  You've been on them for that long that you'll still have plenty in your system.  You'd need to miss them for days before you'd feel a thing'.  The worrier in me was a bit more concerned with what to do now.  My medication specifically says on the leaflet that should you miss one, then just leave it.  Don't take anything and just continue at the correct time on the day you  remember.  So i was surprisingly very calm and very rational.  I decided i would just carry on with my day and id take them at 1.30 on the Monday. 

About an hour later i felt really weird.  Dizzy.  Disconnected,  Anxious.  Well that's all i needed to feel to be honest.  It was all i needed to send my brain into overdrive!  And so i panicked. and i panicked. and i panicked.  For the first time in about 4 years i needed to call my mum for help.  I needed her to come and get Nathan while i got myself back into a state of calm.  Luckily although the panic was awful, i was completely handling it.  I knew it was rising and falling.  I knew i was going to be OK, and i just had to ride it out.  Now i know people might say it was all in my head, or that i brought it on myself with over thinking, but i stick to the fact that i DID NOT FEEL RIGHT.  Even the anxiety was different.  very bizarre.  I ended up calling an emergency number for advice.  Eventually i got to speak to a doctor who told me that missing one pill couldn't have caused those symptoms.  He told me i could take a tablet now, or even just half a one, then take my normal dose tomorrow.  I took a half straight away, and whether it was psychological or not, it worked.  I felt myself relax and the rest of the night was normal.  BUT the reason i mention it is the following day i began my period and I'm definitely noticing my anxiety changing at this time of the month.  I always have done, but its MORE noticeable than ever.  I'm keeping a close eye on it now anyway and if it happens again then ill definitely be mentioning it to my doctor.... i still don't know if i missed a tablet or not lol .

The jewellery business if going quite well.  Word is spreading and Ive had enough sales to keep me going and keep me pursuing it.  Especially with Christmas coming i could use the extra pocket money.  Id be grateful to anyone who could 'like' us on facebook or just spread the word.  It was very difficult at first to find a balance between seeing to Nathan and starting the business online but now that Cherish is up and running its not been so hard.

Sometimes i write a blog and get a sense of achievement, that Ive written a good piece... well I'm not getting that tonight.  It seems a bit messy and rushed, but i was aware of the weeks and weeks since my last post so i really just wanted to get something published asap.  I have been super busy with the things Ive mentioned, plus weve both had flu and a horrible winter vomitting bug and now of course the lead up to Nathans birthday and Christmas, but its slowly coming together.  I hope you guys are all good and well.  I will try and not leave such a long gap between posts next time and ill be back before Christmas to tell you about a job, a psychic and a new man! Byeee x

Monday, 15 October 2012

Shameless Advertising

Hi guys i wonder if you can help.  Im trying to start a little project.  Maybe even a business although its very fresh so not sure how it will go.

If you have facebook could you please like or share this page?

It would be a great help thank you muchly :)


Thursday, 11 October 2012

Letter To Myself

(My foot and Nathans foot)

Welcome back panic attacks.  Oh how i have missed you so... not.
Its been years since ive really had one.  Ive had a few anxious days here and there.  And maybe even the start of a panic attack, but ive had enough control to quickly bring it to an end.  And so its always just WONDERFUL when they pop up, you know that way they do, just to remind you that they can.
Its only been in the past week.  I could feel the anxiety looming.  Felt that familiar churning in the pit of my stomach.  Had a few unwelcome thoughts.  Not been feeling as comfortable in certain situations. And so when it came to a head, and i had a panic attack... well i panicked.  My mind was in overdrive.  Why is this happening?  What if this is going to be the one i cant control?  Are these back for good?  Am i going to go backwards now?  How can i look after Nathan properly if im dealing with these everyday.  Is this going to rub off on him and one day he will suffer them too?  What if i blackout for the first time ever, when im with Nathan? What if i cant breathe?  I dont have any paper bags and they are meant to help. 
Negative thought after negative thought.
Picturing the worst outcome in every scenario totally adding fuel to the fire.  All this equals one stressed out anxious me.  And although i have gained some rationality again, and am feeling back to normal, i decided to have a word with myself.

Dear Lynn.... Dear Dear Lynn, 
When are you gonna learn?  Jeez woman will you chill out?  How many times have we been here huh?  How many years have you been having these silly little 'turns' and freaking yourself out?  Has experience taught you nothing?  ITS GOING TO PASS.  IT ALWAYS DOES
Ok, i remember when you just started having the panic attacks, you had them over and over again all day.  But Lynn it was new and scary back then.  You didnt know what was going on.  But now you do!  You know how to deal with it and you deal with it well. 
Remember in the past when you panicked, or even felt slightly anxious?  You would hide away in your room.  Not really talking to anyone.  Avoiding everything, avoiding life!  Just trying to keep it together.  But really you were probably just sitting there OVER thinking and making it worse. 
How about instead of doing that, you get up off your ass, you take a deep breath, hold your head up high and say 'Im not taking this shit again'.  Because you dont NEED to.  Stop sitting there thinking mental thoughts and freaking yourself out.  Stop analysing every senstion in your body and dramatising it, convincing yourself things are about to get really bad.  Get up, stand tall and tell the panic 'Not today thanks, im actually kind of busy'.
Go wash the dishes, stick some good music on and sing at the top of your voice.  Dance, play with Nathan.  I bet, as your doing it, the anxiety will subside and if it doesnt?  Who cares,??  Your getting on with your day and not allowing it to take over.
Every Autumn you do this to yourself Lynn.  You dont like the change in season, i know this.  You dont like the dark nights creeping in, the coldness. the bad weather.  Your already imagining a horrible winter arent you?  You cant take Nathan out in that weather so its gonna be tough.  Your gonna be depressed.  Everyday will be like groundhog day.  Youll get lower and more anxious.  And then theres the fog and the snow that you have no control over.  You hate that.  Your car starts acting up and you arent able to get out as much.  You have no control over any of this and so you get anxious.  And as that anxiety creeps in you make it worse.  You allow yourself to feed these thoughts.  Well how about you dont?  How about you stop looking to the future and GUESSING how your gonna be before its even happened?   How about you take it day by day... hour by hour even.  Start living in the NOW.  Not next week or next month.  Who told you that you had psychic abilities... cause you dont!
Can i also point out that its that time of the month.  You know the time im talking about.  You know you always feel slightly more on edge at this point.  Your also worrying way too much about money.  Christmas, and court.  Dont you think all of this combined could be the cause?
Instead of scaring yourself and falling into this negative process, let me remind you that you do this every year at this time.  Let me tell you that your not entering madness and your not about to revert back to the old Lynn who panicked constantly.  You think this every year.  I get exasperated with you.  Its just the change in season and in a few weeks, even a few days, youll be right as rain.  As a veteran in dealing with this stuff let me also tell you... youve already experienced the worst of it.  Youve never collapsed and blacked out.  Youve never stopped breathing.  Youve never needed to call an abulance or rushed yourself to the hospital.  Youve never lost the use of your legs.  So what makes you think thats gonna happen this time?  Surely that stuff would have happened before when you had no knowledge of panic.  You didnt understand it was only adrenalyn.  You didnt know how to sit down and breath deeply.  You didnt know that distraction helps. But now you DO know all those things.
So ok say you have a panic attack, and im not gonna lie, they are pretty horrendous, but say you do.  really whats gonna happen?  Well let me tell you.  Your gonna have a rapid heart beat, your gonna sweat, get wet palms. your going to feel as if your disconnected from reality.  Your probably going to quickly question what to do.  Do you call for help, do you try to get some air.  youll get yourself worked up and make it even worse for a second.  Your mind will be running at 100mph, Your inner voice will scream 'This is horrible.  Oh my god make this stop i hate it!!!' and then what will happen?  Well it will probably stop.  It will slowly get less and less.  You may sit there feeling weak, physically you might be shaking uncontrollably, but your ok.  Your absolutely fine.  And yeh maybe for a couple of minutes after it youll feel it rise again...and then fall.  And rise and fall.  But eventually it wont come back at all.
Its not nice and i know that so im not being cruel, im just being realistic.  If you feel it coming on just keep busy.  If you genuinley cant avoid it then heres what to do.  Go get a glass of water, some wet wipes.  Take a seat and face the bastard.  Tell yourself 'Bring it on', 'If your gonna come then just come, cause im ready for you and believe me i can handle you'.  Take nice deep breaths in through your nose.... hold it, then blow slowly out of your mouth.  If you get too hot, fan yourself.  If your sweating too much, give yourself a wipe.  And when it passes, which it will, give yourself a few minutes and then get up and get on with your day.  Youve won.  In the past youd have obssessed about it and wondered how to avoid the next one, dont even waste your time, just get on with things.
And while im here can i just discuss Nathan.  You are killing yourself with guilt here.  Stop it.  Everyday you beat yourself up about what hes NOT getting to do everyday.  You think your boring him and hes lacking stimulation because you cant take him many places.  You watch the clock and give yourself such a hard time if it reaches noon and you havent had him outside yet. Jeez Lynn seriously, lighten up!  Instead of looking at what your not doing with him, look at what you ARE doing.  You love that boy and shower him with so much affection.  You play with him, you read to him, you draw, you educate him.  You sing together, dance together.  Go walks, drives, go shopping, go see friends.  Just because hes not surrounded by kids out playing all day doesnt mean he has a bad life.  Hes got a great life! Many other poor kids arent so fortunate.  Do you see how happy he is?  How confident?  Could that maybe, just maybe, be something to do with you and the fact hes in a secure and loving home?  Stop blaming yourself for the days when your too tired to fully give yourself to him.  When you sometimes lose patience and need some 'time out'.  Being a parent is exhausting.  Being a single parent is even harder.  Your boy is doing great, and hes happy.  So relax!!
Lastly, and i dont mean to be soppy, but can i just say i love you.  They say 'god loves are trier' and if this is true, he must love you very much.  Because i see that you do try Lynn, and you do well! You constantly worry about what others think, but its not important.  Let me tell you that i like you.  I really do.  I think your a great girl, youve very kind. Very generous and you have a good heart.  Try to remember that now and then.  And if you ever feel a little lost, then just read this letter.  Hopefully it will put you back on the right path but in the mean time Lynn, just chill out.  Breathe and be happy.
Lots of Love

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Good Advice from someone whos been there

I received a comment on my last blog, telling me about this guy Gethards post on his 'Tumblr' page.  I enjoyed reading it and thought i would pass it on.  I can completely relate to how Gethard feels towards a complete stranger, and also why his message is to never give up. 


Anonymous asks: Gethard I know you’ve talked bout depression and anxiety issues before and if you don’t answer this cause it’s a complete downer i understand but I’m curious if you ever had suicidal thoughts. I admire you and your show and have just been in a really bad place lately. I used to see your show as the last thing I had to look forward to but I haven’t even been back for months and can’t even bring myself out the door to get there without panicking. I’d appreciate any advice really.

I just got this message and am going to answer it. Anonymous, this one is just for you, but since this came into our inbox anonymously I have to post it publicly. My apologies. I feel very unsure of if this is right to post this, but I want to help if I can. Anyone else can feel free to skip reading this one. - Geth

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

More kids and a sleepy Me


Remember me??  I used to write a blog on here but got a bit caught up in other things and forgot to write a post for almost 2 months.  Tut Tut, this just won't do!  So here I am Hello my friends :) :) :)

Well, whats been happening in my little bubble lately?  Honestly, not much! Meh

Ok so we've had the tale of the ex partner and the day he lost his marbles but luckily things on that front have been pretty quiet.  Oh no wait, that's not 100% true.  I was contacted by a girl to tell me shes been seeing him since New Year but recently just broke up as she was tired of being treated like dirt.  This girl is lovely and has been lied to just like i have through the years.  I have no issue with her whatsoever, just another unfortunate victim.  But was a little put out that she had spent quite a bit of time with Nathan, which i obviously had no idea about. 

And so the bickering with myself and the ex continues.  Purely down to the fact he isn't capable of the truth and when it comes to my son i would really like him to respect my wishes.  I.e, if he has a new partner can he make sure its serious before involving Nathan, and maybe let me know whats going on (is this unreasonable)?  Anyway this has resulted in him kicking off (again) because he doesn't like to live by anyone's rules but his own.  This might sound like I'm being unfair but I'm actually describing him perfectly.  Having researched some of the things i was faced with in the past, it looks like i was in a 4 year relationship with a sociopath.  This has actually freaked me out to be honest, but it explains so much to me and gives me a certain amount of closure.  No wonder he had no empathy, patience, loyalty and guilt... hes a sociopath.  Now i know the signs i can happily say ill AVOID these types in future and so i look forward to what will be a breeze compared to my previous relationship.  I must be strong after all because i have put up with A LOT. 

So onwards and upwards as I always say.  The summer here has been no existent.  A complete washout!  So the weather always plays a part in my everyday activites, especially when considering what to do with a little 'un.  We've had a few nice walks, a few trips to the park, lots of house visits to other friends and their kids.  But really not much with regards to progress.  However, due to the relationship breakdown with Nathans dad, he hasn't seen him for a month.  This means i get no time out whatsoever.  On top of this it seems Nathan has entered the 'terrible two's' a couple of months early. 

He is nuts!!! Lots of fun things been happening around here.  Where to begin?? Oh he has discovered a lovely noise he makes, which he will repeat for hours on end in the same tone, which is enough to drive the most calm person to the end of their tether.

 'argh...argh....argh.....argh.....argh.. a bite, a pull of your hair, argh....argh...argh....throw a toy....argh....argh...argh...have a screaming fit...cry....go limp.....laugh....argh....argh....argh....whats that?  whats that?  whats that?....argh....argh....argh....juice....want juice.....tantrum.....argh...argh...argh...bite'

That sums about about an hour of my day.  Of course there is much more than that going on and it is EXHAUSTING.  I'm like a broken record, my new mantra is 'im so tired'.  I'm actually sick of hearing myself say it.  So perhaps an excuse, but i find it hard to make new plans, look at ways to progress with my 'pushing boundaries', most of the time I'm just trying to stay awake.  In between the dirty nappies, dinner breaks and story telling, we have made a few trips but nothing to really rock my world.

Also my mum has decided to give her house a long overdue make over, and so since she suffers arthritis and other ailments, i stepped up as chief painter.  So picture me with roller in hand, speeding round the house with Nathan Argh, argh, arghing at my feet.  Fun times! This usually patient girl has had a few hissy fits herself!  This just equals more exhaustion.

Something i was grateful for this summer was Nathan making himself some friends.  For 1 and a half it seems hes quite popular with the local kids, and so it seems is his mum!  It seems bizarre that I have 6 and 7 year olds appearing at my door to ask if 'Nathan is coming out' but it relieves a bit of my guilt about not doing much that week. So Nathan and myself will go to the little play areas with all the kids.  Yes, when hes older he can go alone but its far to early for that.  This means some of the children like to follow us home and have also come into play for a while/wreck the house.  Queue more work, more exhaustion.

One of the little kids who started to appear was a 7 year old girl called Neve.  Imagine a scruffy little thing, always dirty, hair always needing a brush and FULL of energy and naughtiness.  That's Neve.  The other kids seemed to give her a hard time but Neve was quick to lash out, giving her a reputation as 'bad' as well as being known for telling a lot of lies.  Well I'm not quite sure what done it but Neve has taken a MAJOR shine to me.  I'm not going to go into it too much but i get the impression she doesn't get a lot of love or attention at home, and so shes found a softy in me and is clinging on for all its worth.  She now appears at my door everyday as soon as school breaks out.  We have baked cakes, gone shopping, done the garden together, shes come to my classes with me.  I was really concerned as to what her parents would think since they had never felt the need to meet me (i would be very concerned if Nathan told me he had befriended a 31 year old and was eating dinner in her house!!!) , and so i chapped on their door and introduced myself.  They are perfectly happy with it and to be honest i think they like the break as Neve is a HANDFUL.  So i now feel like i have 2 kids!! More exhaustion.

 (i found this necklace and note posted through my door.  I returned the necklace to her mum but kept the note lol)

My classes that I loved going to have been less frequent.  More so because my friends seem to have moved on from their sudden interest in keep fit, and they no longer go.  This means i need to go alone, and although i have done it a few times, its much easier to say i cant be bothered when i know I'm not letting anyone down.  but I'm letting myself down.  I really love my classes, its a bit of adult time for me and a little break from the demands of kids, and so I'm going to make a point of doing more.  Its not as easy doing it alone, but ill try my best.  You would think this would leave me even more tired but actually it give me more energy.

Ive still not had much of a social life and obviously I'm at home every night with Nathan but i know this needs to change.  I need to look into getting a sitter and having the odd night out.  I know it will do me good, perk me up.  We all need some time out, and so ill sort it out... eventually.  I have a christening to attend in 2 weeks so that's something to look forward to (or worry about).  Lots of adults having fun, obviously i could take Nathan but i think for that day ill give myself a break and relax!  However, its at the edge of my comfort zone and ill probably find it hard to 'relax' but ill soon settle.

Speaking of christenings, Nathan has never been christened.  I'm not a regular church goer by any means, but i do have my beliefs and so it seemed natural that when Nathan was born he would be baptised like most babies.  Unfortunately, due to the state of my relationship last year, i was in no frame of mind for it, things were far too messy.  But i always regretted that it hadn't happened.  And although this year things aren't much better, i decided that its been long enough.  I contacted the local church and now i am just waiting on a date.  It wont be a big event like christenings are these days.  Loads of friends and family in the church followed by a big knees up somewhere.  It will be much smaller, with just a handful of us, no big party.  Just me and my son at the alter doing what i should have done long ago and I'm really looking forward to it.

So i guess this is why theres been a bit of a break in writing.  Ive made no big breakthroughs, felt there was nothing of great significance to tell you.  Could beat myself up about what I've NOT been doing, but while I'm actually sitting here writing this, i realise theres a lot i HAVE been doing.  Hopefully my next post will be far more focused on over coming a few obstacles.  On that note i bid you farewell, hope you all doing great and i am off to the land of nod.  Oh do you have agoraphobic dreams?  I always do.  I'm always far away and trying to get home.  Not anxious, just in a hurry hmmm. xxx

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Battles, both emotional and physical

I join you today a bit of an emotional wreck.  It has been pretty eventful here since i last posted.  And sadly, not always in a good way.

Positivity first - Still doing my keep fit classes, in fact I have probably stepped it up a notch.  I am now a regular at body pump, my new favourite, which is basically lifting weights to music.  Sounds dull but its actually really enjoyable.  I am skinny enough and so this class is better for me as the other more active classes would probably cause me to lose weight, which is not what i go for.

Still taking Nathan to his little clubs.  Mothers and toddlers groups etc.  Cant say Ive felt completely comfortable from start to finish when i go.  but I have a little inner battle going on and so far Ive been winning. 

Also Ive been driving further again, and taking Nathan on more little trips to see friends etc.  I feel there is more to tell but maybe it will pop into my head as i write... this post is not only for catching up, but for distraction.  Distracting myself from whats just happened.

Ok it might not seem a big deal to most, but my brother has decided to move to Australia.  For YEARS my brother Derek has talked about a move overseas.  Job opportunities, weather, money all not being fantastic here in Scotland, he was convinced moving away would be the best decision.  I think we all thought it would never happen.  But a few months ago the ball was rolling when he booked his flight to Perth, Australia. 

He has friends over there, he has the chance of a job and he has somewhere to live.  It sounds fantastic and hes absolutely right, it WILL be a better life.  No doubt about it.  And so as the date was approaching i decided we couldn't let him go without a good old knees up.  I went about choosing a venue, and through facebook, i contacted his friends and got an impressive guest list together.  It was supposed to be a surprise and i felt that if i could pull it off it would be something i would be very very proud of.  Who would have thought a few years ago that id be doing this.  And so the venue was booked, guests invited all i had to do was arrange food, decor and getting him there!

Last Saturday the party was looming and so i headed off and got decorating.  My friend and i filled the bar with banners, Australian flags, bunting and balloons.  It looked great and so i headed home to get my party outfit sorted.  Sadly about 5 minutes after i left the pub, Derek decided to go for a pint!!! So the secret was out.  His friends were supposed to be keeping him away but really he just took it upon himself to pop in and no one was quick enough to stop him.  Derek is quite an emotional guy, although he tries to hide it, and he really didn't want a fuss.  But he knew we needed him to be there and so the party went ahead.

It was a fantastic night.  For me it was the first night out Ive had since Nathan was born.  hes 18 months now so that's a LONG time.  I was delighted to see the amount of people who showed face.  Family, School friends, workmates, Football friends, gym friends, The place was packed.  And best of all Derek looked like he genuinely loved every minute of it, although it was hard seeing my big tough brother shed a tear or TEN.  I was completely relaxed and really enjoyed the whole night, stumbling home around 1.30, way past my bed time.  It was a huge success.

Its weird.  Derek is my big brother, and so hes just always been there.  I have so many fantastic memories from when we were kids. But as adults we spent less time together, as you do.  We never really talked about anything deeply anymore.  Just pleasantries.  And i guess that's quite sad.  But no matter how little we've spoke, i always have huge amounts of love for him.  Hes my big bro!  Hes been amazing with Nathan, very loving and definitely fulfilled the roll or 'fun uncle' and when times have been tough for me hes also been the 'protector'.  But for some bizarre reason i didn't mind the thought of him leaving.  I felt nothing.  I just thought ' Aw well hes going away and its no big deal, he will be happy, ill get used to him not being around as much'.  How stupid i was.  Derek has just left and i am devastated.  I write this through tears and with my heart pounding, stomach turning.  My brother is gone.  God forgive me for being over dramatic.  I should be grateful hes alive and well having recently attended the funeral of a boy with a younger brother and 3 sisters in mourning.  (That was horrendous).  But from an agoraphobic perspective this is killing me.  I am realistic, and no matter how much driving i do or how many classes i attend,  i wont be flying to Australia in the next year.  From a totally selfish point of view i don't want him to go.  Or i want him to go for a month and then come home.  I'm telling myself to look to the positive.. i KNOW its the best move for him.  And i KNOW ill be fine in a few hours.  But for now i want to feel this sadness.  I love him and hes gone.  And i don't know when ill see him again.  Nathan wont remember him, hes too young.  And that makes me sad because Nathan loves him so much.  Agoraphobia, sometimes i can bear you, sometimes i can live with you hiding in the shadows, but at times like this is hate you.  Because you are not me.  You are not who i am.  And so I'm not saying goodbye to trips to Australia.. not yet.

The other news is probably more shocking and will be difficult to explain.  You've all known about my relationship with Nathans dad and just how turbulent its been.  Well the icing was layered onto the cake a few weeks ago.  Ill describe this is best i can but for reasons, i will explain, ill keep it brief. 

We had been getting on quite well, friends, seen each other all the time, spent lots of time with Nathan etc.  There were good points and their were bad points, which are pretty irrelevant now.  But he went out drinking one Friday night, with the promise that he would be taking Nathan out the next day, as he always does on a Saturday.  Unfortunately he showed up on the Saturday drunk.  This hadn't happened before and so although i wasn't too pleased, i told him to go into mine and sleep it off.  I took Nathan down to my mums and left him.  Soon i went back home to check on him and lay Nathan down for a nap.  To tell you how the argument started is actually quite embarrassing, but lets just say it was something and nothing.  It was facebook!  Good old facebook, i wonder how many fights it has caused.  I seen something i didn't like too much and so i woke him and asked him to leave.  It was a build up of a few things and feeling i was basically this guys doormat.  But i felt calm, i didn't feel surprise, just closure.  'Please leave'.

Well in his drunken state he got up and rambled and shouted, all while making way to leave.  He didn't know Nathan was home and so he really wasn't too bothered about his behaviour.  I opened the door to let him out and WHAM.  My head was smashed off a wall.  What followed was something i have never experienced before.  I was dragged out of my home, by the hair, into the street where i was repeatedly punched while this monster screamed all sorts of obscenities.  I felt no pain, i felt nothing.  All i could think about was that Nathan was in his bed and i needed to get back inside.  Also playing on loop in my head was 'i cant believe this is happening, i cant believe this is happening'.  Nathans dad has put me through the wringer but he has never lifted his hands so i was pretty shocked.  I could see people walking past and i just prayed they didn't say anything because he was so completely gone, i didn't know if he would hurt them!

It came to a head when a knife was produced.  It sounds crazy but i never thought he would use it.  but still you need to be realistic and look at the evidence in front of you!  I never thought he would hit me either.  He stopped when he finally heard me cry that Nathan was in his bed, and luckily i managed to get away.  I ran into my house and locked the doors and called the police.  He continued to try to get to me, kicking at the door.  I really thought he was going to get through it, but eventually he ran off.  I sat there bleeding and pulling out clumps of my hair.  'What the hell just happened'.  Thank God, Nathan slept through the whole thing!!

The police came out and interviewed me.  I was fine, shocked but once that passed i really was ok.  My head had been split open but other than that i had no major marks or bruises hmmm for someone who lost it, he'd shown some amount of control.  It was traumatic though, and for me, with a history of panic attacks and anxiety, i wondered how i would cope.  I know that no one will show sympathy for what he done, and i don't expect them to.  Also i wont make excuses for it, because there is no way to justify it.  But i know he just snapped.  Lots of other things had been going on in his life, problems at work, family issues, and of course our relationship, and that day it all got too much.  Since then hes started counselling, has been put on antidepressants and beta blockers, and has had to take him from work.  The incident has knocked him sick as through this crazy behaviour he has lost alot of respect, if not all, as what happened was done very publicly, and news travels!  It will go to court in October, where i will need to attend along with another 2 witnesses.  But probably the worst for him is that he cannot speak to me, approach me or even enter my street.  My house has a special tag on it so that if i need to phone the police i will get a quicker response.  Although i stress i do not feel that myself or Nathan are in any danger.  Ive had visits from police, social workers coming to check on Nathan, and for that i am absolutely fuming! I understand they are doing their job but he made that happen and my son is happy and well. 

So there you have it.  An eventful month of highs and lows.  My life coach said she thinks its impressive that ive kept on going but it has been quite tough.  At a class last week, i really struggled.  I wanted to leave quite a few times but i held on telling myself to take it a song at a time.  Thankfully i made it through without bolting.  So its hard but i know i have strength inside of me and now that Nathans dad hasnt been allowed near, i know i am free.  Free to totally push myself and focus solely on myself and my son.  Limitless!!! So the practice and determination need to keep on going.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Still Facing The Fear

Hi guys and girls.  Its been a month since my last post and thought it was high time i filled you in on the latest goings on in my rock and roll life (sarcastic? me??)

Well, the fitness classes have kind  of taken over.  Ive been going 3 or 4 times a week depending on Nathan really.  I feel huge guilt when I'm sorting his dinner and sometimes rushing a bath, all so i can leave him for an hour.  But i am loving the classes.  Im hooked on powerhooping which is just great fun.  Body attack and Body pump are now regular and Ive tried a few others to.  This Sunday i am trying Bokwa, which judging by YouTube clips, i will find impossible, but will provide a good laugh.

The classes are my 'time out' from mum duties.  My friends go all the time and its provided me with some sort of social life.  People tell me i should use my time off to just sit back and relax, but i would feel too guilty getting my mum to watch Nathan just for me to laze around.  And so i nip out for an hour where i sweat my a** off, struggle to breathe and catch up with the girls.  For me, i love it.  Where Nathans concerned, i kind of struggle to find the balance.  I don't like leaving him too often and i feel less guilty on the nights where I have no classes, but i tell myself that mum needs some time out too.  On an anxiety level there have been highs and lows at classes.  Powerhooping has become such a favourite that i would hate to miss it.  I know in the past when i have missed something, then maybe missed it again, it has been really difficult to go back to it, if Ive gone back at all.  And so im probably quite uptight about it.  The fact that i WANT to do it so much, just makes me more nervous in case i fail.  But ill work on that and hopefully lighten up. 

Ive mostly felt fine when i know I'm going to a class at night, but of course there's been the odd time where I've thought about it and felt nerves kick in.  Ive visualised the drive there and imagined all sorts of panic attack scenarios.  But Ive stayed determined and kept on going.  It does get easier to ignore those thoughts with practise.  There have also been times in class that Ive felt a bit floaty and out of sorts.  A feeling I've had a lot through anxiety.  But i try my best to ignore this too.  To breathe and relax myself.  I know that should i HAVE to... i can leave.  But Ive never done it.  Also with classes being so busy, some with over 100 people, the car park can get pretty busy.  I always park in a place where i can get out quite quickly, but last night i got stuck behind a big queue of traffic.  I had a brief 'arrrrgghhhhhh i don't like this i don't like this' moment.. but i took a deep breath and it passed.

Also Ive been picking my friends up and dropping them off which has added to my journey.  For some this might be normal practise.  But to an agoraphobic, that extra responsibility and pressure can make you more anxious.  Yeah its hardly pressure but i don't have the option to just ditch a class and run should i panic.  I have someone else to think about that i cant just abandon.  I'm trying to embrace these little challenges as they are little examples of ways i can help myself grow and improve.  As always the thought is way worse than the reality.  Of course Ive wondered if i can actually make the journey to my friends house or will i have to explain that I'm freaking out and run.  But the reality is i calmly make the trip while we chat, and if i do get nervous, it is very brief and no one would have a clue.

The weather here has been pretty shocking and there have been no signs of summer at all.  This isn't so good for Nathan and I. And my forever crappy car is off the road, so its been a tough month regarding us getting out together.  We have mostly played in the garden or gone little walks.  I do get the use of my dads car from time to time so its not so bad.  Nathan has his play dates and we visit family so he is kept entertained.  But i suspect that from now till he leave home, ill always wish i could do more.

I don't think I'm selfish with regards to Nathan and what i want for him.  I could be a blubbering wreck if i really let myself be dragged down by thoughts of what i 'should' be doing for him.  I do feel terrible when i hear about people taking trips with their kids.  And i have a horrendous guilt that he doesn't do some things because of the way i am.  For example, his little play group he was going to, well i would only go there by car.  And since that's off the road, and mummy cant walk that distance, he has missed his group.  Sometimes i can brush it off and tell myself hes too young to even notice.  But there are other times when i feel utterly dreadful.  If he had a 'normal' mummy he would still get to his group.  We'd just walk it! But I cant focus on that.  I need to be positive.  If i was to dwell on the things i CANT do instead of what i can, id drive myself crazy. 

As long as Nathan is happy, i will be grateful for that.  And so last weekend i could have been sad when his dad took him to the beach, but instead i was just pleased that he was getting to the beach at all.  His first time on sand.  His first time seeing the sea.  And i missed it.  I could be really cut up about it, but I'm more thrilled that Nathan go to go there and he had an absolute ball.  I wont let anyone tell me that ill never take him to the beach.  I just couldn't go that day, and maybe not in the near future, but never say never!  There are a million and 1 'firsts' that i have been there for and i plan of being a part of millions more.

Today was a day where I had use of my dads car.  Id heard of another playgroup that would suit Nathan and decided i should give it a go.  Its a bit further than I'm used to driving, but only because i don't get the opportunity to practise like i did in the past.  I felt fine knowing what was in store.  I knew the route i was taking and i felt pretty confident about the trip.  In fact looking back, i didn't once consider that i might not make it.  Sheer determination had taken over and i was going there no matter what!  My classes are quite good because although i might be nervous at first, I'm soon jumping around and following instructions, and so I'm distracted and before i know it the time is up.  It was the same with the last group i took Nathan to.  It was so filled with activities, that i didn't have time to think about how i was feeling, i was too busy.  And so today i found it more of a challenge.  Today's group was more your basic mother and toddlers set up.  A big hall (eeek) filled with toys, and chairs round the sides for the mothers to sit and watch.  Where was my distraction?  My mum had come to and I think that's probably what helped me get through the first 10 minutes.  Yeah i thought i was going to be OK, but when i was greeted with this huge room and basically was just to sit still, my mind went into over drive.  'What if i cant make it out to the car', 'What if my legs don't work when i stand up', 'what if i want to bolt, that would be so unfair on Nathan', 'i hate this feeling, i want it to pass now. Ive had enough of this crap'.

Its not even that far from home! 10 minutes drive tops.  But its probably because i was out of practise.  I looked at Nathan playing with the toys and told myself that this is where i wanted to be.  I told myself i was not moving.  I would find distraction!  I took myself over to Nathan a few times and played with some toys, i read signs on the walls, i went to the bathroom lol.  Just walking around instead of sitting thinking, began to help.  I had a cup of tea, tried to chat with mum, all the while my head was screaming and my legs were like jelly.  But i kept on going.  I told myself to stop it, i took big calming breaths and told myself that nothing bad was going to happen.  Worse case scenario would be that id panic, but even in the most horrendous panic attacks I've never been left completely immobile!!  Id get to the car and be ok!!  Soon i realised we'd been there for half an hour and my anxiety began to subside.  'You did it' I thought to myself.  Nathans played, hes had his little breakfast with friends.  Hes enjoyed himself, and if you really wanted to leave now, it would be a bit soon, but it would be ok.  Knowing that the pressure was gone (pressure i had completely put on myself, no one else had done it) well i relaxed and enjoyed the rest of our time.  I stayed about an hour and a half in the end.  And surprise surprise, after all those horrendous thoughts of panic attacks in the car etc, i drove home completely calm and content. High 5s all round.  The only way this is going to improve and i am going to relax easier is by doing it more and more and more.  And so ill be going again this week.  Tonight I'm wiped out.  No doubt that's got something to do with this morning.  Anxiety and facing up to it is pretty tiring stuff!  But isn't it worth it.  I think so x

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Like Attracts Like

Hello lovely people, how are you all?
A very positive Lynn here, things are going well :)
Ive stuck to my previous plans as described. Doing more and getting back out into the world again. Taking Nathan to his play groups, on play dates with friends.
Also instead of ruling out new friendships with the usual mindset 'I wont pursue this friendship as i wont be able to do the things they want', i am opening myself up and letting things happen naturally. I'm not putting the walls up and pulling away. I'm remembering that I have something to offer people, and that if they are going to be part of my life they will accept me as i am. And i am hopeful that i will be doing more and more and breaking more barriers may they be related to anxiety, habits or relationships.
No doubt i have been in a 'rut', whether that is down to my old habits of avoidance and playing it safe, or if its partly down to being in a baby bubble and all consumed by motherhood, i don't know. But i can feel myself moving beyond this now and i am very excited.
New friendships are suddenly happening with several people from all different areas in my life. Some I've met through Nathan, some Ive met through friends i already have and some completely out of the blue and its really lovely. This in itself give me a confidence boost and adds to this feeling of 'growth' that i have. Does that make sense? I really feel like I'm growing as a person on so many levels. I have a strong sense that i am moving away from my old way of life into something new and much more fulfilling, and i have this feeling in my gut, like there's a little light burning, and its just getting brighter.
Ive made myself reconnect with lots of people and stop hiding away. I'm in touch with a much larger group of people now and through this have started to get more involved in their plans. My closest friend has recently had a baby and has gone on a huge health kick. Shes joined the local gym and has been going to classes most nights. I used to love the gym and just before Nathan was born i was pretty much hooked on keeping fit and went to the odd 'body attack' class. Back then it wasn't about losing weight, but more about enjoying the natural high that i gained through exercise.
I missed this part of my life. The first year of a baby being born is pretty crazy. Its absorbs your whole being and normality pretty much goes out the window. I always knew as Nathan got older i would slowly get back into things but its amazing how quickly hes grown up. To me hes still brand new! But the reality is hes grown up so much in the last 15 months and im slowly emerging into a life where i can actually do something for me. Don't get me wrong, i could have done this before but just didn't have it in me. Again, this could be for many reasons, but now seems like a good time. Nathan goes to bed at 7.30 and so from then on, the night is mine. He very rarely wakes up so i have the odd hour or 2 to spare if I'm not completely wiped out. So when my friend suggested i joined her at a class, i agreed.
It was quite strange going through the usual bedtime routine, knowing that i was going out once Nathan was asleep. Change in routine can unsettle anyone and i definitely had an uncomfortable feeling in my tummy. 7.30 is usually when i start to wind down. That's when i flop onto the couch and mentally shut down. But instead i was throwing on sports gear and getting ready to go HULA HOOPING for an hour! Yes... Hula Hooping!
I drove to the Sport centre myself and met the girls in there. Mentally taking note that only a few short weeks ago i wasn't comfortable with the drive there. And 6 of us took on a 'power hooping class'. The class itself had about 25 people involved and although some of the girls were a bit nervous, i was actually feeling ok. Even better when i realised i could actually hula with the best of them. We had a really good laugh and when i left i was buzzing that i had gone and done it. Because there were definitely a few times before hand when i could have pulled out and just flopped in front of the tv instead.
Since my days of 'body attack' classes id been hearing more and more about Zumba and had decided i wanted to give this ago too. So 2 nights later i was throwing on the sports clothes once again and off to take another class. Again we laughed our heads of as this crazy instructor put us through an hour of madness!! We were a sight to behold trying to keep up with her. But its not so much the classes i have enjoyed. Its just getting out there and having some time for me. Being with the girls and destressing. But of course the natural high you gain from exercising is obviously doing me some good. After only 2 classes im aching to get back and to be honest i think id be going much more if it was possible. Ive found myself driving home afterwards and thinking 'awwww i dont want to go home yet, i want to stay and talk!!'. Theres not really much time for talking when your shimmying around with a hulahoop or doing salsa. But i cant wait for the next class. I might also think about seeing the girls in another setting but we are all mummies and it can be quite hard to arrange.
There have been a few tough challenges like going into a supermarket i hadn't been in for a while. I chose the longest queue to stand in and its the most anxious i have felt in a long time. I did really struggle with negative thoughts and a few times really wanted to bolt. But i stayed put. Running away is not the answer. That's how all the avoidance crap starts. So i stayed and shook and wobbled and sweated until i was finally served. I wish i could say i was buzzing afterwards, but really my wee legs were trembling and i just walked away feeling a bit exhausted. I guess on a positive note i could have chosen to go home right away but instead i opted to drive the long way home. Not quite sure if i could handle it, imagining it going wrong, visualising full blown panic but of course none of that happened and it was just another little experience to add to my 'Oh look you thought you would freak out and you didn't' pile!
This experience was closely followed by driving out of my comfort zone only for my car to break down. My unreliable car grrrrr. Id been driving around for an hour with no problems, went into a shop and when i came out and started my car, it wouldn't go. Luckily i wasn't alone, but i still got a bit nervous. Having experience car troubles before i thought i needed a jump start. So i was looking around for another driver who might be able to help me. Nope no cars in sight. Hmmm ok (heart pounding). I thought over my options. I could completely lose the plot and panic. Or i could deal with this rationally. So as a distraction i got the jump leads set up on the car so that should a car appear i was ready for action. (Heart pounding). A women arrived in a car YEY!!! Well she didn't seem to keen on helping and acted like she was in a bit of a hurry. I was a total inconvenience but to be honest i didn't care. She was in a borrowed car and couldn't work out how to open her bonnet. So i climbed in and looked EVERYWHERE. This women was my way of escape. Her car was my saviour!! But could i open her bonnet? No i couldn't. And so i had to tell her just to go. That was hard haha. Watching her drive off. So i called for a taxi. Waiting while your on the edge of panic is so not easy, but i figured i better do something and knowing a ride home was on the way id keep it together. So i waited and i waited (heart pounding, head racing). Oh bugger this i was imagining running to the shop and asking where there toilet was. Bolting into it, shutting the door and freaking out. But instead i just calmly walked in and asked if there was perhaps someone who could help me. After much chatter between men about what could be wrong with the car (HURRY UP ARRRGGHH), they decided i just needed them to push it. So they described what i was to do (keep the clutch down, stay in second gear and when they shouted go... take my foot off the clutch. A bump start basically) Well when your a bag or nerves, coordination isn't that great but we did it. They got me going and as i drove off i seen my taxi arriving, oops, but there was no going back. On reflection i did actually stay calm, although on the inside i was screaming. Also its a good experience to add to my pile. Ok the car broke down and you coped, and you would cope again.
An unreliable car does limit what i do in some ways. I'm not too keen to try anything major in the fear it happens again, but once its fixed ill lose that nervousness.
And so that's about all i have to tell you. I am completely shattered these days and blogs etc have been neglected but i get round to it eventually. I'm am looking forward to tomorrow and next week and basically just accepting all the good things coming my way. Like attracts like doesn't it, and so I'm happy and positive and buzzing. Lets see what happens x

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Agoraphobia Survey

Hi guys. I was contacted by a student who needs help with an agoraphobia study. If you have a few spare minutes i would be grateful if you could give your input. Its completely anonymous and only a few questions long. Thanks http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8CBJQ8B

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Fall in love with life again

I got a lovely email the other day from a recovered agoraphobic. After telling her story she said she has now fallen in love with the world again, and i can totally relate.
Ive said before that if you've suffered panic/anxiety/agoraphobia, i think it makes you a far more patient, understanding, APPRECIATIVE person and i stand by this. I remember when i was at my very worst, i would have given so much to go a simple walk. Something that most people will take for granted. And although i wouldn't wish this condition on anyone, i do feel quite lucky that i appreciate the simple things, and that i definitely fall in love with life all over again.
Im back on track! After the hospital episode i gave myself a good shake and started to work harder with my issues. One thing that had riddled me with guilt is that I wasn't doing enough for Nathan with regards to play dates and other social activities.
Well i found a suitable class and told myself we were going. I was nervous and many times could have backed out but i was adamant that we were doing it. He deserved it and i needed it! I told myself to stop putting it off, if i just DO IT, i will be happier, I'd feel less guilty, ill be getting myself out and mixing again and a ton of other reasons.
So the morning of the class came and my little legs were like jelly. I was on and off the toilet all morning and generally just wanted to call the whole thing off. I took the journey in stages. If i just made it to the building i would decide then if i could actually go into the class, but just get there at least.
Well i got there and entered the building. The class was at the back of the building AND up the Stairs (Typical, no fast escape route) but we did it. The room was filled with gym equipment and other fun things for Nathan. Slides, swings trampolines. He was so excited and running about crazy wanting into anything but the class does have a structure. So firstly we all had to sit in a circle, about 30 of us, and sing songs, do actions etc. Then free play where the kids choose from a massive toy box, and finally they are let loose on the equipment. Since Nathan is so small i had to take him round the circuit helping him. It was more of a work out for me than for him but this was probably better. If i had been sat at the side watching i would have had time to think, but instead i was so preoccupied with that i was doing i was totally distracted. There wasn't one point in the entire class that i felt nervous. I didn't want to run. I loved it! I was so proud i had got there and took Nathan myself. No one else. I wasn't relying on anyone else for a change and i was buzzing. I got to watch my son and play with him and i loved every minute of it. Don't get me wrong, when i first went into the class my legs were ready to give way on me, but i kept on going and soon forgot about the nerves. Nathan had an absolute ball and i told the women running it that we would be going every week from now on.
From there i had to meet my support worker and due to my confidence boost i went a huge drive. We went further than i have in the last year of meeting her. We went into shops, i casually browsed the shelves and then drove the long way home. She was impressed and i was buzzing.
The entire day PROVED once again that i can do it. That Ive wasted so much time sitting worrying and imagining the worst. I was actually annoyed with myself for not doing it sooner but i cant change that. For whatever reason, i didn't do it before but there's no point dwelling on the past. I can just concentrate on improving the future.
Its hard to break out of your routine. To do something different, especially when the thought of it makes you nervous. But when you do it the rewards are so worthwhile. Pride, happiness, a self of achievement, confidence. And from there it changes your future too. Since that day i literally lost a ton of guilt and i also lost a lot of the fear id built up since Nathan was born. When i was almost rid of my agoraphobia before i had a certain way of thinking. I was always positive. I frequently told myself 'I'm doing this, and so what if i panic. If i do i will cope'. And in that one day my thinking has become far more like that again, much more confident.
With a huge amount of fear gone i have been driving more and more. Walking further with Nathan. We've been back to the class, and will continue to go every Thursday. And i set all sorts of play dates with lots of other mothers. Nathan and i are meeting a lot of new friends. This means driving to new houses where i am not familiar and maybe not too comfortable, but i keep on going. And ill be setting myself all sorts of other challenges. Im excited!
The sun is shining more often and its very true, i fall in love with life all over again. I want to do more and more and i dont want to waste any time. But what i know is that i APPRECIATE these things. I enjoy them more than i ever would have before. And i get a huge sense of achievement from every little trip we take together. Life is too short to keep putting things off and i need to remember this. Looking forward to a fun filled productive year!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

How not to cope in an emergency!

I dreaded writing this post. But i am always honest on here, and although I'm sure some may pass judgement, i felt it was important to tell the story.

I realise more and more that agoraphobia can be a very selfish condition. We need to make decisions to suit ourselves. We avoid certain tasks, days out, meetings etc to 'save ourselves', but be very sure this isn't what we want! Yes, to an outsider it may look 'lazy' or completely selfish, but believe me, avoidance is not something we enjoy, and we would much rather be living life along with the 'normal' people out there.

I have questioned many times, would i continue to avoid doing something in extreme circumstances? What if , god forbid, one of my immediate family was to die. Would i gather ever fiber of strength and courage and attend a funeral? Out of respect, grief, love, and to support my other family members. Ive always assured myself that I would. I would have to. I remember my fiance saying that if he died, i wouldn't be at his funeral. I was disgusted, 'Don't be so stupid!!! OF COURSE I WOULD BE' (cheery subject eh, and i still say id be there). But the reality is, it is quite amazing just how much we can avoid.

I always remember talking to an agoraphobic mother who couldn't walk across a street. In fact, she doesn't really walk more than 5 steps from her car, her safety net. I asked her what she would do if she was standing in a street and seen her daughter wander off onto the road. Theres a car coming. Would she act first and think later? Would she run down that street and grab her daughter, taking her out of harms way? I wasn't a mother myself at the time, and i assumed her answer would be simple, 'Well of course id just run and get her, it would be automatic', but instead she told me she didn't think she could do it, and would call for her husband instead. I remember i judged her. And i might be wrong, but i still think that in that situation she probably WOULD act first and think later, but it brings me to my own story.

It was a few weeks ago now and Nathan hadn't been feeling too well. I was totally exhausted after a couple of days of nursing him, lack of sleep and everything else having a sick child entails. I hadn't even had time for a shower as he just wanted to lie on top of me most of the time. So i got him wrapped up and decided to take him for a walk. My mum joined us and we noticed Nathan was drifting off to sleep and so she suggested that she would keep an eye on him, if i wanted to have a shower and even nap for an hour. God bless grandparents!

I didn't hesitate. I had a loooong soak in the bath and climbed into bed, secretly hoping for more than an hour. I woke up a couple of hours later feeling a little better but got into a panic when i noticed I had several missed calls and text messages from my mum. I called her immediately and was filled with dread when she told me that 'Nathan isn't right at all Lynn. Hes gotten worse and his breathing isn't right. I'm really worried and i think he needs to go to hospital'.

Well i felt sick, but again i calmed myself by thinking 'mother knows best, Nathans mum, ME, not his gran'. Yes he'd been poorly for a few days but i knew within myself that he was ok, and that with plenty of rest, he was going to be fine and get over it. Its just a cold!'. Shes just panicking i thought. And so i threw on my clothes and ran to check my son. I was more concerned when i seen him though. She was right, he wasn't looking too good and his breathing was definitely not normal. He was panting rapidly as though he'd just ran for miles, and his eyes looked lifeless. I called the emergency doctor and began talking through his symptoms. All the while i was getting him into his pram and racing back to my house to get him comfortable, or to see what was decided. 'How long has he been like this'? 'Check him for rashes', 'Take his temperature'. I was getting more nervous but still tried to calm myself by saying it was just a virus and they will tell me to put him to bed and give him plenty of fluids. And so i answered question after question, checked him all over, there was no rash, and then eventually the doctor asked me to put the phone to his mouth to check his breathing.

'No that isnt right at all' she said. 'I am trying to decide if i should just send you an ambulance'.
Well........ that was me, a nervous, shaking mess. An Ambulance! Seriously??? Oh my god this cannot be happening. Whats wrong with him? Is this serious? And then the little selfish agoraphobic voice kicked in. 'I don't want to go to the hospital'.

I am totally aware that the usual response to this would be to accept the ambulance and rush your child to hospital. Not giving the journey a second thought. Just get them their quick!! No matter what it takes. In the end she advised me that instead of an ambulance, i could make my way there myself. Emmm yeh ok Doc!

In hindsight, an ambulance would have been better. Id have gone it there, hidden in the back, with medical staff working with Nathan straight away, and also to help me should i need calming down lol. Circumstances that day were not ideal. I had my nephew staying, and also Nathans step brother. And so before i could leave i had to find them, as they'd gone out. Calling their mobile phoned, proved useless. Why do they never answer??? But on the plus side, Nathans dad was here and so we got him into the car immediately. It was decided that his Dad would make his way to the hospital and i would find the boys, and head to the hospital as soon as i found them. Again, in hindsight, i could have called my mum and asked her to hunt for the kids, while i headed to the hospital with my son. But that selfish little agoraphobic in me was GLAD to the excuse to stay. This is what i am ashamed of. I didn't know what was wrong with my son. I didn't know if it was serious (although i had a feeling he was ok), but i still hid. I still avoided. I am furious with myself. Nathan deserves so much better!

I started running round the streets looking for the boys, but to be honest its a bit of a blur. I was in a daze. Every inch of my body was trembling and i really didn't feel i was on this planet. I was totally gone. I called Gerry and got no answer on his mobile, which made me worse. I was imagine all sorts of horrors. But eventually he sent me a text saying they had arrived at the hospital and were waiting on the doctor. This was about 4.30pm. I text constantly, obsessively. What on earth was i going to do to stay sane while i waited for the kids to appear... and so i cleaned. Like a women possessed i cleaned!! And i tidied myself up. I might need to actually go to the hospital and so i best be prepared! And i prayed. 'Forgive me for the times i wish he would stop crying. That I said i needed a break. That i lost patience. Please just see he is ok. I will never complain again'.

Quickly i got another text. 'Lynn hes fine, you need to calm down. The doctor has checked him and they arent too worried. Put the dinner on, we will be home soon'.

Hmmm i started to relax, but of course the guilt didn't leave me. I should be there. My son needs me and i am not there. Yes he has his daddy. But its ME who pacifies him. Its me he wants. Thankfully the other 2 kids turned up and my immediate thought should have been, ok i can go now. But i didn't. I text Gerry who informed me that they would be coming home soon, and so there was no point going to the hospital. Of course i felt relief, but it still didn't feel right.

I cooked the dinner, and they still weren't home. I waited. I prepared Nathans fresh pajamas and sorted his room. They still weren't home. Eventually i received another text telling me they were in the children's ward waiting for a paediatrician. What on earth was going on? If he was ok they'd have been home by now. It was now past 7pm, his bedtime AND he hadn't eaten since lunch time. I called the hospital and spoke to the ward nurse. I ranted on about how Nathan must be starving, could they please give him something to eat, and stop trying to give him juice, when hes ill he wants milk, and not from a beaker but from a bottle. I SHOULD have been there telling them these things. Holding my boy and making sure he was ok. But i was sitting doing it via phone. And i felt like shit. No other word for it. I felt shit.

Another text 'Lynn they are going to monitor him for an hour and if he doesn't start drinking they are keeping him overnight'. Well that's that i thought. I have avoided the trip but now its inevitable. I WILL NOT leave Nathan without me over night. We have NEVER been apart at night. I wont leave him in that strange place wanting his mummy. If they tell me my son is being kept in, then i have no choice. I'm going. The agoraphobic me was saying 'how on earth are you going to get there'? 'Will you be able to relax and stay the night'? And all the unwanted thoughts were telling me i couldn't do it. But i also had my rational thoughts telling me that i would get there. I may be uncomfortable, but i will get there. And once there id do my best. Should i really be struggling, i am in a hospital so there's help available'!

I eventually got the text saying they were on their way home. It was 1am. Nathan had been gone for 9 hours! I tell myself that if i had known he would be gone for 9 hours i would have went. But would i have really? Yes had an ambulance came id have went, but after that, what would have got me there? I felt guilty, sick, useless, ashamed. You name it. But it doesnt change the fact that i wasnt there.

If i hadnt sent Nathan to the hospital at 4.30 i know i would have at some point that evening, because when i finally got him back in my arms i was quite panicked by his breathing. It was much worse and he was making a horrible noise too. In the end we were told he had bronchioitis, but that there was nothing they could do. they could give him oxygen but his oxygen levels were ok. And so it was the usual advice... bed rest and fluids. I made a bed on the floor beside his crib. I wasnt leaving his side. I watched him most of the night untill i eventually gave into sleep.

I know that i was judged. No doubt about it. My own parents judged me. The said that they truely believed that if it was concerned Nathan i would just have gone. Yeh well i had beleievd that too. And yes circumstances meant that I had excuses. I had the kids to find. From about 5.30 onwards i was told he was waiting to come home. But i know within myself that im making excuses. I should have been there. Had i not had anxiety, i would have let my mum find the boys, i would have gone to my sons side even if it meant he was released as soon as i got there.
And no matter what anyone says i will always be ashamed. And of course i worry. I worry about next time. I hope that time never comes but i have a son here. What about when hes playing football and falls awkwardly breaking his ankle. Or decides it would be interesting to push something tiny up his nose and it gets stuck. What will i do then?

It just spurs my recovery on again. I need a good kick up the ass! No more procrastining. Life is too damn short for wasting time. Get out there and get your life back. The winter slows me down, without a doubt i do much less. The spring has started to show itself now and then, and on those bright sunny days, its actually amazing how different i feel. I'm happy, cheerful and i want to do MORE. I was also struggling with Nathans lack of friends. Kids his age who he can play with and so I've become a beg a friend. I have no shame in asking a mother with a child of similar age if she would like a play date. We have had one already and have another 2 mother/toddlers lined up ha. Also i have enrolled him in 'gym joeys'. A play group which is on weekly and although its a bit out of my comfort zone and ill have all the usual obstacles to get over, we are GOING!!! I am gaining confidence again and i am excited for the months ahead. I might actually make some friends! This in itself bringing a whole lot of other problems (do i tell them about my anxiety, what about when they invite me out to somewhere that's completely beyond me. But hey ill deal with that later).

In the meantime Nathan got better. He was back to his usual crazy, happy, boisterous self within a week. And he passed his bronchiotis onto me. That's payback right there lol