Monday, 7 March 2011

Anxiety....

Anxiety can be described as many things and believe me I have described it as many things over the years, many of which I cannot write on the internet! It cripples the individual to the extent where the anxiety is totally in control of your mind and body.  Only when you start to realise this can you really and truly battle it and take back that control.

My anxiety started during the pregnancy of my first child about 11 years ago.  I never realised this at the time and only looking back can I say that is when it started.  I fell pregnant while at university and the timing was not great.  I knew I had upset my family and was not following that path I had originally hoped for for myself but life is funny like that.  I always knew I had to keep my baby, that was never an issue.  Life would have to work around her and it did.  That is a complete other story and maybe I will blog about it soon.
I had an active social life up until the point I discovered I was pregnant.  Once I found out I was pregnant I just did not want to go out.  I started missing work, missing parties and totally missed spanish classes, (this was the only one I had at 9am) suffice to say I carried on going inward, into my own little ball.  it was easier to let others tell me what I wanted and what I should do so I had no decisions.  I finished that year and knew I had to complete the course - which I did - and came out of university with a 2:1 honours degree.  Getting to and from classes had become unbearable at times.  I hated traffic on the motorway (I had had to move home so family could look after my daughter) and use to panic on the motorway.  I would throw up on the side of the road or spend my time in the toilets when I arrived.  Once it was so bad, I thought I was dying and rang for help on the side of the road but when the woman mentioned an ambulance, I knew that was too far and declined the offer.

After university, I wanted to go to work.  Work life consisted of me rushing to nursery, rushing to work, putting on a smile, being ill at work, being ill before work generally not feeling great if I had to leave the office for anything. I moved jobs and the same happened again but as I stayed in the office all the time, I knew I could cope.  Outside of work was just as dull, I stayed in, did not venture out.  Most of my university friends were working in London and I slowly drifted from them as I never wanted to go out.  I left nights out early as I felt ill or got sick before leaving the house so did not actually go.  I wanted to go out for my birthday once but was a little scared about drinking in case I was sick.  People love to point out your not drinking, or that you should down your drink and I hate that kind of pressure, it is an individual choice.  This night in particular, I felt so ill, I left the club and collapsed outside.  The bouncer would not assist as he thought I had been taking drugs which I have never done, so left me with my friend.  Thank goodness a kind stranger stopped to help my friend with me.  There are some nice people left in the world!

This was about 4 years after the birth of the first child and only now did I seek help.  This could not be right, I should not feel so rubbish all of the time.  She did prescribe anti depressants and counseling, all of which I thought had worked.  I had started to do a few more things.  Had a complete list of excuses at the ready too.......

I think the medication had just masked some of the problems.  I still would not ride on a train without breaking out in a cold sweat and so avoided at all costs.  I still did not really like going out for an evening with friends unless it was at their house.  I would not do things like Farm visits, swimming, restaurants etc as they freaked me out so much.  I had comfort in going to places I knew and knew my way around.  Places I felt safe.  So over time,  I built a 'safe' bubble around me.  I told a few people what was happening and the response was and still is varied. 

After the birth of daughter number 2 about 3 years ago, it all came to a head again.. This time without the depression so much but the anxiety.  I saw the doctor who prescribed a few drugs plus proper therapy.  I had one cognitive behavioural therapy session and a year on am waiting for the next session (NHS for you!!) but I do think something is helping.  The knotty panic feeling is not coming as much and I even sat in the doctors the other day totally calm!  I still have a long way to go but I know I have to do it.  I have 2 beautiful daughters who need a mummy who will take them out for day trips.

If you too suffer from anxiety or depression you need to take it one day at a time.  Allow yourself to have low days, it will happen, it is how you deal with them which makes the difference to your mental state.  Always remember that depression and anxiety are something you can control but with help.  Depression is a chemical imbalance in your brain so you cannot just 'snap out of it' as some people would like you to think.  Seek the help and talk to others.  Message me and just let it all out if you have to, I will listen and not judge.

The mind is a powerful tool.