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
 
You

16 comments:

Jenn said...

Hi Lynn!
I came across your blog by doing a google search. I am also a struggling agoraphobic. Can I tell you that this entry was absolutely AMAZING!!! I totally needed this. I have been having a horrible time getting back on my path and I swear you were talking to me in your letter. I'm going through the same thing except I don't have a child. Everything you wrote in your letter is absolutely TRUTH!!! I wish you the best and thank you so much! Your post touched my heart and gave me hope again. =)

Lynn said...

YEY!!!

Jenn thanks so much for your comment. I actually felt really great writing this post. It just felt right. But i just wish i could word it better and really hit the message home. I hope it spurs you on and gives you a bit of determination. I know i will be reading it to myself now and then. I might even add to it but i think its going to be a handy tool when times get tough. Youve really made me happy though, thanks again x x x

Lynn said...

YEY!!!

Jenn thanks so much for your comment. I actually felt really great writing this post. It just felt right. But i just wish i could word it better and really hit the message home. I hope it spurs you on and gives you a bit of determination. I know i will be reading it to myself now and then. I might even add to it but i think its going to be a handy tool when times get tough. Youve really made me happy though, thanks again x x x

Anonymous said...

Loved this post! I tell myself off sometimes too. It's almost like there's two of me, not in a schizophrenic way or anything, but there is the rational me, whom I trust, and the recovering agoraphobic me, who suffered from a mere chemical imbalance. That's where that worry comes from - adrenaline-producing chemical imbalances. That's seriously all it is!

Anyway, when my retiring anxious mind starts to wobble a bit I rely on my rational mind to take over and sort everything out. This was the problem when I was in the middle of my anxiety disorder - there was a disconnect between my rational self and my anxious self. Now when I get the occasional anxious wobble I almost laugh. 'Bring it!' I say. 'You don't mean anything, so come. Try your worst.' Without a doubt, I NEVER have any more troubles beyond that initial wobble. Nothing bad ever happened to me when I was in a panicky state but it was worrying about would COULD happen that made it so bad. So you are right, Lynn, to tell yourself to live in the now coz you know, deep down, that nothing you can't handle will happen to you tomorrow, next week, next month - ever. Even in the more distressing situations like traffic jams and plane flights, there is always an end.

The thing is, that deep down rational thought needs to hover on the surface. 'Deep down' can take a while to draw out whereas 'surface' thoughts can be reached much more efficiently. I think the trick to keeping your rational thoughts higher up in your conscious is practice. You know when you've practice something so often that you can do it without hardly thinking about it? I believe thinking rationally works in the same way. Practice it and it will eventually happen without you having to concentrate. It's as automatic as breathing. It's the same with anxiety! You 'practice' feeling anxious so often that it happens without you even trying!

Those deep breaths from the stomach are amazing. Those ones that release the adrenaline by the lung-load. Breathing is such an innate human characteristic. All you've gotta do is breathe deep and that anxiety floats right away. One of the main 'tricks' to beating anxiety is also one of the most natural human capabilities. When you put yourself in a situation where the worry starts to pile up, all you have to do is start breathing deep. All that stress and worry and fogginess just leaves your body. It's awesome!

Keep it up, Lynn. You can do it! Anxiety can kiss our respective arses for good ;)

Lynn said...

Fantastic comment anonymous. Love your positivity. Very similar attitude to mine and it absolutely works. Bring it!!!! :) x

Jason said...

Great blog Lynn!

You said - "I think your a great girl, youve very kind. Very generous and you have a good heart."

I'll just add cool, intelligent and very good looking;)

I have the same condition where as soon as I notice it getting dark earlier, on comes the anxiety. Bleh!

if things really do get dull and boring this winter, we'll have to chat for a few or play an online game or something. I'm determined to get out and stay busy, but sometimes the weather is too much.

Lynn said...

Great idea jason. Are you on my facebook page? Id like to talk more. Youve been commenting for so long but i feel i dont REALLY know you. Id like to. Would be nice to catch up x x

Dianne said...

Hey Lynn,
Fantastic letter. I do this thing of self motivation too when it gets really scary and I feel like things are getting out of control and i need some grounding. I've written a note to myself and saved it on my cell for easy access. I read it every time I feel like I am in need of a pick-me-up. But you are so brave for putting it all out there and helping all of us in the process. I feel so much better knowing there is someone out there who understands so completely. I say it again Nathan is so so lucky to have a mom like you. You will get the better of this. I promise. Luv n hugs.

angela rodgers said...

Hi Lynn

Great post (as always) having read the blogs, I agree with pretty much everything said. Been upset today, no real reason but change in the weather/seasons/darker nights is probably behind my own low mood too but I had a similar talking to myself. It does help. Heartened to read that you made the effort in your letter to Lynn! Your blog reminds me that I'm not alone and if you didn't do the self speak you may become too low to write and then where would all us agoraphobics be!

In the Pink said...

Lynn,
I am so pleased to find your blog.I am bipolar with anxiety and agoraphobia. New places, busy places, and confined places trigger me. I started therapy for it two months ago and that has been a big help but reading blogs like yours is also a tremendous benefit. Sometimes the anxiety becomes so overwhelming I become physically ill and have to run to the bathroom. haha fun times. Anyhow I keep talking about me but only because I felt a connection with what you wrote. Thanks for blogging. If you ever feel like checking mine out it is www.nodifyouhearme.blogspot.com

Jenna Valentine said...

I too, have suffered from Agoraphobia/PD/being home alone for about 11 years now, and am currently 32. I just last night started my own blog about it, as for the first time since 2001, I'm seeing a Psychiatrist. It's just as frightening to start new meds! I've read a bit through your blog and will keep on reading - the little bit I saw was inspirational, and I can use every little bit of inspiration I can find. Best of luck to us both!

angela rodgers said...

Hi Jenna

I would like to follow your blog too, what is called please

Angela

Anonymous said...

That could be titled Dear Jo.

Would be absolutely perfect for my wife then

Thank you for the inspiration

From the partner of a sufferer.

Red said...

This is very much what I needed to read to myself today. Thank you for such a smashing post of a letter :)

Anonymous said...

i've had depression/anxiety for about 6 years now at first it felt like there was no future then i developed
agorophobia wich made it 100000x harder to deal with and still is to this day. i've learnt that theres no quick fix and feeling better does take time and sometimes lots of it. my tips after experiencing this
for 6 years would be, try to avoid prozac if you can and only take as a last resort, if you do take them you can expect trouble when coming off the medication withdrawals etc. the only other thing i could say would
be to try and relax at night times right before bed, it
really does help. my personal choice of relaxation is http://www.dinomoz.com
but whatever or how you choose to help yourself i wish you all the best of luck and never give up things WILL
eventually get better.

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