Thursday, 23 February 2012

Anxiety in the beginning.....

As I was looking through my blogs, I realised that there is no background to my anxiety or panic attacks, just what I have gone through recently.  So I thought the best way to solve this is to paste an article I wrote a few years ago when I was trying to understand what is happening.  I hope it gives you a little insight into how far I have come....

From the beginning to the middle, there is no end!

I have only come to realise that after years of suffering, I really should not be ashamed of it nor should I keep it from my loved ones. I cannot sum it up in one word and like anyone else that has suffered, it really is not that straight forward.......
It started after having my first child. Circumstances meant I could not slow down and I had to throw myself back into my life with full speed if I was to achieve my goal of finishing my degree. I use to feel sick everyday and sit on the motorway wondering where I could turn off to go home or sit in lectures and have to suppress the feelings of nausea and dizziness. I felt safe at home, with my partner and daughter and this was to become my haven.
After 2 years, I completed my degree and got married. Life for me then stopped and I had to take stock of what had gone on. I got worse. I started having panic attacks with some resulting in me fainting. I remember once, we were out for my birthday and I suddenly knew I had to leave after a guy had had me in a head lock trying to kiss me and I was trying to get away! I ran outside and just collapsed unconscious on the floor. The bouncers apparently wouldn't help, (I was told this by a friend as I was out cold) as they thought I had taken something and if it had not been for a guy who worked for the St John's Ambulance, helping me, then that could have got worse. My friends took me home and I slept it off.
I did not decide not to go out or leave the house, but that is where I ended up. I would not go to social events, feigning some illness or other. I would not use Public Transport and started not seeing friends. My body changed the way it dealt with these things as I think it knew people needed to see something to believe I was unwell. I already suffered from IBS and so my bowels would just open (excuse the graphics) and I could not leave the house.
Eventually after about 4 years, I agreed to take anti-depressants from my doctor. I never wanted to go down that route, I had always thought they were a taboo, something weak people took. I could see it in my people's faces when they found out, they could not understand but they knew I had not been myself; and supported me. My husband always found it hard, as he was also in that frame of mind. He stood by me.
I saw a Councillor who talked things through with me and said I was suffering from post-natal depression, social aniexty and general anxiety. After a few sessions with him and the tablets, I thought I could take over the World and stopped both. Bad move.
In my head, I thought, these are the things I can do and the things I cannot. I stayed away from trains and buses but was able to start going out more. I did notice when the aniexty started to creep back in but tried to ignore it.
My first child was 8 now and we decided to have another. Straight after having number 2, the anxiety started again. Now, don't get me wrong, I thought it was all under control. Plus I was not depressed at all so I could not understand what was going on. My doctor decided that this time around, we needed to deal with the issue and not just mask it with drugs. I started on a low dose of medication and was referred for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It took a long time just for the appointment to arrive but the after the first session, I felt different.
By no means am I cured nor is there an easy answer. I have to take each day as it comes. I finished the first stage of therapy and have started to go out more again. I am building it up slowly. As for the trains and buses, I am yet to tackle them but I will. From the therapy, I took away ways and means of dealing with the anxiety as it happens plus I also met others who were like me and I did not feel like the odd one out. I talk more and have a close friend and a husband that I know I can tell anything too, even if it sounds mad in my head, it has to come out so that it doesn't fester.
There is so much more to this story, the ins and outs but I don't need to bore you with it all. I just wanted to tell my side a little and if that helps just one more person, then I have achieved something. I will grow stronger, I have to grow stronger.