Welcome to my blog
Let me give you an overview of my life with anxiety. Promise further posts will be shorter!
Around 7 years ago i had my first real taste of anxiety. Basically, I had an inner ear infection which made me dizzy and sick and i tried to do too much too soon after being diagnosed. This led to me having funny dizzy turns in some places such as shops and i fought for a long while after thinking i was dizzy when i wasn't. For some reason the doctors kept my tablets from this on repeat prescription and they became the tablet that cured everything. I did not take them often but any time i was going somewhere where i had not felt well in the past, or if i thought i was dizzy i would pop one and all would be well.
Forward a couple of years and i was stressed at work doing a job that hadn't been explained by people who then went on holiday leaving me with it. Too much stress and too much coffee and also memories of the dizziness i had felt a few years before led to anxiety and near on panic attacks at work. I say 'near on' as while i had the 'fight or flight' symptoms often, only once on my way home from work did i actually have the full blown banging heart, feeling dizzy, sick, need to run, sweating, full on attack. I managed to stop it by popping one of my 'magic' pills from the ear infection that i was still carrying around with me and quickly getting out of the traffic queue. It's clear that the tablet would not have actually done anything to stop the attack but that just shows how your mind is in control of this disorder as, at the time, these tablets had become a crutch to stop feeling like this. I remember at the time this was all going on, going to the loo at work and looking in the mirror at the size of my pupils. They were clearly in 'fight or flight' mode!
I fought it then and fought it hard. I had a 200 mile drive on my own for a short break around 3 weeks after all of this and i am certain that the only reason i got over it relatively quickly was because i went and didn't start putting things off. I got myself a book (Anxiety and Panic Attacks by Robert Handly), learnt some relaxation from it that also involved trying to change your subconscious and took that with me.
That drive was hard! I couldn't stop in case i felt ill and panicky and so when i did have to go to the loo i remember stopping at a garage, running into the toilet, going as quick as possible and running out and back to my car! I just prayed that i wouldn't see any traffic jams too as i was stuck in one when i had the attack before. It must have been my lucky day as it was a good 3 hours before i saw much traffic and do you know what, when i did see some, it didn't really bother me! I believe that driving for that long just desensitised me to it. When i got 10 miles away from my destination and could see the coast ahead, that was a magical moment for me, a real triumph, something to be proud of and a kick up the arse of the anxiety! By this time i was pretty much completely relaxed. During my stay, i practised my relaxation and subconscious retraining and while there were times i felt uncomfortable such as sitting on my own in a busy breakfast room, i fought it and had an enjoyable break.
Things were definitely easier after that. I had conquered the demon and now had the ability to control it rather than it me.
Over the next few years there would always be situations i avoided such as eating in a restaurant on my own and sitting in the middle of meeting rooms, cinemas, or restaurants. I like to be on an end and at the back. However, anxiety did not stop me doing anything.
Fast forward to this year and it all seems to have started the day after giving blood and nearly passing out on the way to work; clearly i had not drunk enough liquid after. I turned my head to check the traffic and everything slowed down in my mind and i had to pull over while i fought off passing out and feeling sick. From that day onwards i struggled a little with that part of the drive to work as all the anxiety feelings came back from in the past when i had been dizzy and had to work on my subconscious again to get me through it. I was kind of getting there when my dad was taken ill and then died 2 days later. This was 6 weeks ago. He had been ill for a few years and i had spend those years slightly on edge and certain that any time my phone rang from my mums house that it would be bad news. Being on edge for a few years has no doubt contributed to my situation. That and seeing how ill he was becoming.
Already fighting the panic and then having this happen threw my off balance and seems to have tipped my anxiety over the edge. Immediately after, i was coping okay but by the time of the funeral i was slowly getting worse. Pretty much from when he died, i found i couldn't breathe in properly. I thought it had something to do with hayfever upsetting my asthma but after antihistamines from the doctor made no difference i accepted it was something else. What followed over the next couple of weeks was numerous visits to the doctor as during this time, i was getting more nervous about driving, work and just going anywhere. Blood tests were given last week and thankfully they all came back okay. However, that then left me with the scarier alternative, this is anxiety in full action and the mind is not as easy to heal as other illnesses. I also have an viral infection in my ears which is really not helping!
On my visit to the doctors at the end of last week, i was told that i have GAD, Generalised Anxiety Disorder so at least i can now put a name to it. I was offered tablets and therapy and after a weekend sleeping on my options i decided to go for both, i just want to get better, being like this is really not like me. I am independent and have never had a problem doing things on my own but now i struggle with the thought of stepping outside the office at lunchtime. I have a holiday booked for just over 2 weeks time and at the moment the thought of it makes me feel ill. I won't be able to cope with the airport, flight and people.
So thats where i am today, on day 2 of taking Fluoxetine and having a few days off work to give myself a boost and get over the ear virus. I have also found some inspiration and good reading in the form of a book by Paul David called At Last a Life. He has explained exactly how i feel and i am only a third through it. Have a look at his website anxietynomore.co.uk as it has genuinely helped me see a bit of light through his suggestions that you don't give into it and you need to give your mind a rest thinking about it all the time.
I will keep on reading the book and tomorrow i am going to try a drive out to the shop. As he says, it is only adrenaline overload that is making me feel this way, nothing else. I am not ill. Why should it bother me? If i feel ill then i am just going to go with it.
Please feel free to comment if you are also trying to get through this horrible disorder. We will get there, i have before, and will not be beaten this time