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