So… I’d finally accepted that I needed some help to conquer my anxiety, and resolved to actually take the anti anxiety tablets that I’d been prescribed, and had been sat in my handbag, ignored, since. I’d been invited to the cinema my a close friend that I’d not seen in far too long. Perfect opportunity! For the last 6 weeks or so, the thought of leaving the house had caused me real problems. This was going to be a challenge, but one that I was determined to at least try and tackle. An hour before setting off, I took a tablet. I arrived at the cinema in a taxi (well, I didn’t want to push my luck by dealing with a bus ride too!) aaaand… I survived the evening! No panic attack, and even managed to smile. This was a huuuuuge confidence boost. Massive. Ginormous. The next day was my telephone assessment with the mental health services provided by the good old NHS. I had filled in the questionnaire, scoring the maximum for almost all the questions on how my anxiety was affecting my day-to-day life. At the end of the conversation, the counsellor (rather sheepishly I thought) informed me that the waiting list for talking therapies was at least 8 weeks. Overall, despite my good day at the cinema, I was feeling desperate. How was I going to cope until then?! I felt so let down by this. Angry even, at funding cuts to mental health services, the politicians who had allowed it, and at myself for not even being aware of these massive restrictions to services until I was in need of them myself. (I could have a long rant here, but I figure that many readers will be more than aware of the issues surrounding mental health treatment in the UK, and probably are worse off than me in terms of treatment time, so I won’t rant. Much)
This phone call had plunged me into a spiral of self pity. I was in the house by myself (a rare occurence) and really powerfully felt that I wanted to be around people today. My brain seemed to realise that it had to help itself, if the NHS couldn’t, and I braved a short train ride to go see my brother. He had friends round that I was close to too, and I’d always found his boyfriend very easy to talk to too. Suddenly, I was spilling out my feelings at a hundred words a second to people that I knew wouldn’t judge me, and I felt BETTER. so, so much better. Someone was eating a pizza, and I wanted some. This was a development, I knew. I hadn’t had an actual appetite for weeks! This was a further boost to my confidence, and the next few weeks only got better. All of a sudden, I was eating better, sleeping better, living better. There were a few wobbly days, but nothing like the last couple of months. The anti anxiety tablets, coupled with my rediscovered ability to leave the house, had given me a new lease of life.
Now that my brain was working semi-normally, I started to have thoughts about what to do with my life. Return to work? Volunteer? Study? Lots of options….