It’s been a while hasn’t it? Sorry about that, but there have been changes afoot…
My last post was written in a fit of negativity and frustration, annoyed at myself for how my anxiety was making me behave. I poured this frustration out in a tumult of words, and it changed something. I’ve been told that getting your thoughts and feelings out on paper (or laptop screen…) can be really beneficial, helping to make sense of them and subsequently deal with them. I’ve never written this blog with that intention, it was always more about being open and honest, doing my bit to help end the stigma that surrounds mental health issues. But venting seems to have flipped a switch. The one that overrides the bit of my brain that tells me i’m being rubbish and makes me feel a bit self-pitying. The one that tells me that if I want to get better, the best way to do it is to help myself get there and do what makes me happy. That it’s ok to be selfish sometimes.
Now, i’m not saying that i’m totally cured, never again to be plagued by pesky panic attacks or followed by the black dog. I feel like it’s always there, lurking at the back of my mind like Voldemort under Professor Quirrell’s turban, occasionally giving me a little prod, saying “Yoohoo, i’m still here..” I’m expecting these reminders for quite some time to come, though as they say, forewarned is forearmed, so this fact no longer fills me with terror as it did not so long ago.
So, I made changes. Left my job and gave myself a reason for getting out of the house, one that I was (and still am) super-giddy about. I’d been moping around the house on sick leave for too long. I NEEDED a reason to get dressed, have a shower, leave the house and actually talk to people.
The cumulative power of these changes is astounding. Just the act of getting showered and dressed made me feel a little better. My sister told me I looked nice. Another positive tick. I was out of the house all day without a panic attack- more happy points. All this made it easier to do the same the next day, and the next and so on. Looking back, it seems such a simple thing. Why didn’t I do it earlier?! I could have actually enjoyed the summer instead of hiding from it. But such is the iron grip of anxiety, that acting positively to alleviate your symptoms feels completely beyond your reach.
I’m still taking it one day at a time, popping an anti-anxiety pill when I feel a bit edgy, and last week I finally started my NHS funded cognitive behavioural therapy to go alongside the bereavement counselling i’ve been having for the past few weeks.
Things are looking up.