Recovering … albeit slowly

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It’s been days since I last posted. I have been trying to recover from the ordeal that was the ESA medical assessment. The bad thing is … I never even got seen! After all the stress leading up to the day and the anxiety and panic on the day, I was told they couldn’t guarantee that I’d be seen if I waited even though I was on time.

I’m so grateful a good friend went with me as I don’t know how I would have coped without him. As it was, I was in a right state! My hands were shaking like a leaf in a hurricane. My heart was racing, my head thumping and all I could think was “the darkness has come to swallow me whole and there’s no escape!”. The receptionist kept asking “Do you want to wait or reschedule?” but I couldn’t respond. Words failed me as my mind swarmed with thoughts and questions and feelings. If I wait, how can I possibly stay sane long enough? If I reschedule will it be held against me? Why can’t I stop shaking? I feel like my hand is going to fly off across the room and through the window any second? No, I’m not brave for having my hair coloured Cerise … it is a hiding mechanism so people don’t look beyond the colour and see ME! How long will I have to wait for another appointment if I reschedule? Can I put myself through this all over again? How will I cope with coming back another day? I don’t believe your computers went down earlier, I think you are lying to me. I think this is a tactic you use to judge people. I feel dizzy. I feel trapped. I cannot decide.

Eventually I agreed to reschedule mainly because I couldn’t decide and just let that happen. The lady had to call to get a code in order to reschedule. What code? What does it mean? Is it going on my record? Is it a signal to say “this lady freaks out easily”? Or maybe it means “her hair is Cerise so she is brave” i.e. doesn’t qualify for help. She shows me a form and says if I receive another one I need to fill it out and send it in asap. I’ve done that form months ago. I sent it back. Did I not fill it in well enough? Did I fail that test? Did they not receive it? I remember the form, I remember the anxiety it caused. Why is she suggesting I need to do it again?

I need air. I need to breathe. I need to get out; to run. I can’t run. My legs are too weak. I need a cigarette. I need 5. I want to be cuddled up in bed. I want to feel safe. I just want this horrible experience to be over.

The following day I found the form in amongst a pile of other papers I hadn’t been able to cope with. I began to fill it in and by page 3, my nerves were shot. I have been working on it slowly over the past week. I’m almost done but feel I have made many mistakes. I have rambled. I kept forgetting things and then adding them in so none of my answers follow a logical sequence. But it will have to do.

It’s taken me a week to partially recover. I’m still highly anxious in spite of taking double my normal dose of anti-anxiety pills. I’m struggling to sleep even with sleeping pills – also double my normal dose. I feel like I might snap at any given moment. I plummet into dark places daily and struggle to climb back out. No I am definitely not what I would consider recovered. I’m not back to “normal” whatever that may be. But I am surviving and right now that is enough.

Psaryce x

Adapting To Change

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I struggle with this. Big time. I just don’t cope with changes – even minor ones. I used to be able to go with the flow but then a bunch of stuff happened (and it still happening) in my life and now I have a huge need for a feeling of control. Now changes need to be considered, thought through and planned. Unexpected things completely freak me out. I just panic and it is so exhausting to go through a series of panic attacks before I can finally give in – usually into a crying fit – and begin to get a handle on myself.

The attacks aren’t always the same – it seems to depend on the situation. But there are elements that appear in every one. The obvious heart-racing, chest pounding, head thumping, blurry vision and the dreadful feeling of hopelessness caused by lack of control. Sometimes I just freeze physically. I cannot move at all until it passes. With others I dash about shaking and unable to stand or it still for more than a few seconds. Lately a lot of mine have sparked off flashbacks of a trauma I survived many years ago. And sometimes these, in turn, cause a flood of unpleasant memories to pour through my mind.

Regardless, my mind is constantly thinking and questioning every little thing at a very rapid rate. I curse myself. Negative self thoughts wizz past before I can stop them. You are a fool. You should know better by now. You are a stupid idiot. You’re not worthy of anyone for anything. Your pain is not justified because you don’t matter. Nothing you say or do matters. You are useless. A waste of space. And the questions! So many questions! About myself, my decisions, my thoughts, my actions, my existence. I also question others … what are their real motives, are they using me, are they intentionally trying to hurt me? Why did I let myself trust them, believe them, feel for them, let them in, confide in them, give them the benefit of the doubt, make excuses for them, etc, etc. This list of thoughts and questions could really go on and on and on!

Unless depression takes over, once the mental images and thoughts and questions begin to settle down, I am totally exhausted – both physically and mentally. My head stills pounds but from a dull ache that will take ages to subside. I feel cold and weakened. I want to curl up and hide away from everyone and everything. At these times, I think I’d happily be a turtle.

But I cannot withdraw to that extent. I have responsibilities. I have a daughter. I have to get to a place where I can function before she sees me. It upsets her too much to see me this way and I want to protect her from this nightmare as much as I can. I must do the best I can.

If you have read this far and feel like maybe you just had a ride on a roller-coaster, well you sort of have. Today I have gone through this cycle more times than I care to count. Tomorrow I may not experience it at all … here’s hoping!

Psaryce x

Fitness For Work Assessment

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Thursday. I have to try and cope with life and the additional stress and anxiety that precedes a fitness to work assessment. The last one I went to I was treated appallingly. So I am already experiencing anxiety about this one. Here are some of the thoughts rattling about in my mind continuously. I can’t seem to shut them up!

How will I managed to get any sleep the night before when I’m already stressing about it? What if I oversleep? How would I force myself to go if I have a bout of massive depression? Or if my anxiety continues to rise? Is there anything I can do to calm myself down while I wait for it to be time to leave on the day? Will I have to go alone or will my friend be well enough to come with me? How on Earth will I cope if I have to go alone? Will I get there on time or will I end up being late? What will traffic be like? Will I be able to walk from the car park to the office? What will I be feeling when I finally get there? How will I be received at reception? Will they keep me waiting for ages before calling me back? How will I cope with waiting even just a little while? Who will I see? What will their attitude be? How will I control my nerves? Will I cry? How many panic attacks will I have before, during and after the appointment? Will the person accept what I say or discount everything I feel and have been going through (like last time)? How will I feel once it is over? How long will it take me to recover from the ordeal this time (it took a week last time)?

Today is Monday. I am already exhausted from the anxiety I am experiencing over this appointment even though it isn’t until Thursday afternoon. I feel jittery and nervous. I can’t sit still. I can’t focus or relax. I am already struggling to find something to distract me. It looks like this is going to be a very long 4 days.

Psaryce x

PS: Curious to know if you have experienced something similar. Does this sound familiar to you?

Feeling Stagnant

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I’ve recovered from all the merriment I consumed on New Year’s Eve but still have a sore throat and a cough. Those combined with my leg muscle troubles have caused me to feel a bit stuck. I don’t have the energy to get up and do things that I really want to do. It sucks. If I get up and move around, the legs make every move so slow and the cough rears it’ head with a vengeance. Of course that then irritates the sore throat even more.

But I am so bored trying rest and take it easy! I’m one of those type of people that if I sit still, I fall asleep no matter what. That includes: watching telly, reading any book, crochet, knitting and colouring. I don’t even have to feel tired! I just sit on my couch and next thing I know I’ve fallen asleep, stretched out and at least an hour has gone by.

I sometimes wonder if it is the couch’s fault. Is it an secret doorway into Dreamland? Maybe it is possessed by a sleep demon that infects you with a sleep venom. Perhaps I am personally haunting by a Napolapagus ghost that waits until I sit down to strike. I have pondered these explanations and many more because, sadly, I seem to be the only victim. My munchkin can lie about on the thing for hours without so much as a yawn!

Am I alone in this? Or are there others out there that are afflicted by this as well? Please say it’s not just me!

Psaryce x

Last of 2015?

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Happy-new-year-2016

So it’s nearly here … that moment when our calendar and clock obsessed society says that a new year has begun. But I’m not one to buy into the Gregorian calendar and rarely pay much attention to what time it is … often I have to think really hard or check to see what “day” it is.

As one who is on a Pagan path in life, my new year was back on 31st October … Halloween aka Samhain. It flows more in tune with nature, in my opinion, as it’s the end of the harvest, end of the lightest half of the year. It is a time when darkness begins to descend and a cycle of life in nature and spirit starts.

The turning of the year, to me, is when I begin to draw into myself and go into a sort of analysis mode. The dark days of winter are perfect for reflecting on one’s self and life. While this is similar to what most people in society do now, I began my pondering back on Halloween”.

I don’t subscribe to the tradition of making resolutions. To me they are too often shallow and focus on the short-term. Hence they are so easily broken. Instead, I believe in setting long-term goals that can be broken down into smaller steps. My annual analysis of self and life following Samhain is the time to review my goals and my performance over the year as I strive to attain them.

Sadly I have not been doing this in recent years. I have been wandering through my life without aim and because of that I ended up feeling lost and overwhelmed. In doing so, I have been giving away my control and my power. My defences had been weakening for many years before and it has taken me several more to get to this point. A place within on which I can build afresh and retake my life. So this year I began taking steps to try and climb out of that void so I can re-engage with my life full-on.

But still, I live within a society that cherishes it’s tradition of New Year’s Eve. On my path, I adopt the customs of a variety of people. Not just the society I live in but also ones I have studied from around the world. If a tradition or custom makes sense to me and I like it, I incorporate it into my life. At my basic nature, I am a Free Spirit so this way of life allows me to live free without boundaries.

So 2015 is going and 2016 is arriving. Millions will celebrate it and so will I along with some good friends. And as I raise a glass at the stroke of midnight (cliché or what?), I will be toasting in the coming year with the most basic Pagan belief chanting in my head…

And Harm None, So Mote It Be!

Psaryce x

A Lifelong Student

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I am a lifelong student. There is so much knowledge out in the world that I would dearly love to gain. I have studied a wide variety of subjects over the years. From Biomedical Science to Social Anthropology, including Yoga Instruction, Sociology, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, tarot, essential oils and so much more! I simply love to learn! It satisfies my inquisitive nature, fulfils a desire within me to grow/expand and it nurtures my aspirations to understand the world around me.

So, I have decided to treat myself and just snapped up a deal for an on-line course … Master Herbalist. Many years ago I took a mail order course in Herbalism that focused on using herbs around the house for a variety of things. It was a basic course designed to give a foundational knowledge of the basics. Since then I have continued to dabble in herbalism as and when the need to learn more arose.

This course I have just signed myself up for goes beyond the basics and comes with certifications to boot! Not that I care much about the certifications … I want to learn, absorb and expand my knowledge to another level. I’m so excited and can’t wait to begin!

In addition to my never-ending thirst for knowledge, my love of growing plants combined with my belief in the powers of herbs to heal makes this the perfect course for me. As I study, I can use the plants I already have and start growing new ones with the aim of gaining a deeper understanding of each herb. There’s nothing quite so good as hands-on learning in my opinion. Touching, smelling, tasting and using various herbs alongside the factual learning will be a fantastic holistic experience.

I love to grow my plants from seed. To tuck them gently into their beds of soil and carefully tend to them. Seeing the first little sprout beginning to push through the soil. Nurturing their fragile bodies as they grow into a seedling. Nourishing them as they continue to grow and develop into strong, hardy plants. It is a beautiful experience from the start and I could never tire of the joy I receive from growing plants.

Soon I will begin on this new journey in my life. A final gift to me from the year 2015 as it is coming to it’s end … an exciting adventure for me to take with me into the new year!  I am eager to begin. I am all set to embrace the experience. I am ready to grow, to expand, to learn!

 

Psaryce x

PS: Before posting this, I got the email giving access to the course and I couldn’t resist starting right away. At a glance it is what I would class as a college level course (not university level) but that won’t stop me reading widely around each module and gaining as much knowledge as I can! Now to go research the history of the use of herbs as medicine :)

Reflecting on 2015

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Overall, I am thankful. This time last year, my mother was in hospital and I was terrified that she wouldn’t make it through. At one point I felt she had given up fighting and the thought quashed all my hopes as if they were merely a gnat which the wicked witch of the West’s house had fallen on. They were very dark days filled with anger and frustration, worry and panic … days that I don’t care to think about or remember.

But as I said, I am thankful because she did pull through and is much better now. Me? I’m still a mess. Still in a dark place but nothing like back then. The darkness will always follow me; always threatened to pull me in. Some days, like today, are better than others. It’s a constant battle for me.

2015 brought other positives as well. Chrissy got her CBT and driver’s license so she could start riding her ped. Growing up so fast! It seems the older they get, the quicker the years fly by. I dread to blink my eyes for fear of finding myself transported 5 years into the future!

As for myself, I plucked up the courage to apply for and actually get a job! The fact that I became so overwhelmed and started getting panic attacks and cannot actually go to work right now shouldn’t take away that achievement. I did a lot while I was working … a lot! So regardless of my current working status, I’m gonna pat myself on the back for that one!

I was there to see my youngest go ballistic when she opened her GCSE results and found she not only passed but got better grades than she expected. She was so ecstatic and happy and in a state of blissful relief. I have rarely seen her react with so little restraint about anything. She was literally jumping for joy and I will cherish those moment for the rest of my life.

Then there was her Prom. She was simply stunning! We spent the afternoon at a salon having her make-up done (this after a previous trip for the tan and nails). Her best friend did her hair and, naturally, she re-applied make-up her own way (professionals aren’t good enough lol). The final result was jaw-droppingly gorgeous. She even seemed to enjoy having her picture taken when she got out of the car by the photographers (plus Lou and I) … a wee bit of a paparazzi moment.

My own life started going downhill in August when the panic attacks began. It was following a particularly stressful time at work and but still feels like it was far too sudden. One day I felt a bit under pressure (no problem, I got this) and the next I was paralysed with fright that I couldn’t explain. I still can’t. Meanwhile I have begun having flashbacks to moments in my life I really do not want to remember. Yippee. I have been waiting for treatment beyond pills since September. I’m still on a waiting list because the first place I was referred to can’t help me. But I am still plodding through the dark days and carrying on as best I can.

The legs started playing up last month. Again just suddenly like the panic attacks. One day I’m walking along just fine and the next WHAM! My thighs say “No!”. They just do not work. Walking is a chore and I can’t go too far without getting afraid of stepping (wobbling or shuffling) beyond the point of no return. Climbing stairs is flat out embarrassing because I have to crawl up them on all fours (my arms doing most of the work). I now hire an electric scooter if I go into the city centre because I just can’t walk that much. But I am thankful that I have that option – it gives me a bit of freedom and saves me so much pain the next day.

I am most thankful that Chrissy was not more injured in her accident this month. After a 4×4 cut her up and knocked her off her ped that she was able to (eventually) walk out of the A&E department on crutches with scrapes and aches completely amazed me. Words cannot describe how lucky I feel, how relieved and grateful I am.

I am thankful for both of my daughters (Crystal and Chrissy), my mother, my sisters (Sandy and Donna) and my friends. They have all at times been my rock this year. They have offered good advice, encouraged me and made me laugh. What more could I ask for?

So, 2015 you were not all that bad really. I bid you adieu in a few days without the curse that 2014 got when it left. And when you see 2016 on your way out, could you ask it to give me a great year this time please?

 

Psaryce x