Tag Archives: anxiety

Failure

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I tried. I really tried. I had it all planned out and it was actually quite simple. Walk to the bus stop. Catch the #3 into town. Get off bus and wait 5 minutes. Catch the Uni6 into Portswood. Get off bus and walk round the corner.

The anxiety started the evening before. I even had a proper panic attack that evening. My heart raced, my mind raced, I shook all over, I was sweaty and clammy. The worse scenarios ran through my mind. I would miss the bus, my hip would give out and I would collapse in a heap of pain. The bus would be late, I’d miss the change to the second bus. People would look at me – or worse try to speak to me. I’d get lost or confused. I wouldn’t be able to cope with the pain in my hip and knees. I’d be over anxious about being so far away from home and have no control over getting back. I’d be too much of a mess for my therapy appointment. I’d throw up from the anxiety. I’d have a panic attack while out in public. I’d cry in public.

On the morning all this was exacerbated to extreme levels. I had several panic attacks. One from just going upstairs to get dressed – I thought it’d be an easy thing to do – non committal and simple. But no, that sent me off the edge. I felt stupid and pathetic. I couldn’t even face getting dressed. I stayed in my pyjamas.

I talked through it with a dear friend. I felt guilty and ashamed and embarrassed. I felt I had let my therapist down. I couldn’t even face calling to apologise. The worst was the hour I was meant to be there. I felt utterly let down by myself. Screw everyone else – I had let myself down by not being able to do something I’ve done many many times (okay not in years but still). I was completely disappointed in myself.

I hate this. I hate feeling this way. I want myself back. The me that can do things. The me that doesn’t always cower away at home in her pyjamas. I want the me who loved going out and doing things. The me that loved to push her limits and challenge herself to do more. Yes, I’d like to be that me again.

 

Psaryce x

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To Be Young

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Packing Panic!

Our trip to the USA is causing me to feel excited, anxious, scared, overwhelmed and extremely ‘responsible adult’. I have never planned a hop over the pond (or anywhere else) with such a mixture of emotions – especially not the anxiety and fear.

Oh to be young and carefree again! To go back to when I didn’t worry at all, just did it and went (usually at very short notice). I never had so much time to prepare for any trip as I do now but I feel I have far too much to do before we set off. 49 days to go at the time of writing this. Sounds like plenty of time on the surface but not to me. I am bordering on panic at the though of everything I still need to get done.

Maybe it is all the important stuff I ignored in the past along with the essential stuff that I have been organizing that has me feeling this way. Stuff like the actual booking of flights and the trip to London to get passports. Those are essential and couldn’t be avoided of course. But I have also applied for an international driver’s permit at the post office, investigated travel insurance and other such stuff that I never thought about when travelling in the past.

It all has me so stressed that I’ve even worried about packing! Me worrying about packing? No, no, no! That i just so wrong as I know I am good at it – very organized, very efficient. It is far too early to start packing! And I have all these days in which I need to be doing other things instead of stressing over packing! Yet here I have been intensely surfing the net looking at packing tips even though most pages all say the exact same thing.

For a start, I desperately want to overhaul the entire house. It’s not filthy or anything – mainly just disorganized and needing a proper old fashioned “Spring Clean”. I want it as close to magazine ready as is humanly possible before we leave. I have a harsh return flight schedule with 2 layovers and will in no way want to walk into a chaotic house on my return. Could really do with a cleaning buddy to help or at least keep me company while I work at it for the motivation. The grey skies of late are not helping to energize me at all.

In amongst all this planning for the trip, I also have the day-to-day stuff to deal with. But lately have also needed to sort out other life things like car tax and insurance for new car, blue (disabled) badge, bus pass, home contents insurance, etc. All that stuff no one ever wants to do but really must. Between the trip and life, I have been buried in paperwork (some of it in triplicate which just confuses me). So far I haven’t been able to sort out a decent way of filing all this stuff a most of it needs to be at hand for a while yet (not in the filing cabinet). This also adds to my anxiety as I am terrified I am going to misplace something vital and get screwed later on down the line.

And my health is suffering from it all. I am still sore from the London trip 7 day ago but since we got back from that, I have also developed other issues. The main one being IBS. I know it is due to all the stress I am putting on myself yet can’t seem to get a grip and relax long enough to make a difference.I tried soaking in the tub but even that didn’t work. Hopefully now the extra daily life paperwork has mostly been dealt with I can begin to slow back down again. I certainly need to before we leave or I won’t be fit to enjoy anything.

If anyone reading has any good tips for intense stress, I’m listening with an open mind and lots of gratitude!

Psaryce x

Nothing’s Ever Easy

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So the preparations for the huge trip to see family back home in the USA are underway and there is an incredible amount of things to do. Step 1 is passports. Both of ours are expired and Hoovy’s only ever had a British one. So we made appointments at the US Embassy in London to get them … surprisingly the appointments were within a week! Then had to work out how to get there as there is no way on Earth I will drive to London. Train was far too expensive so ended up booking on a National Express bus. Just had to organize a way to get to the bus depot for 6am! I didn’t fancy leaving my car so booked us a taxi for 5.30am :O

Now I won’t go into the major crisis of Hoovy’s motorbike being stolen and the rescue efforts we made but to say that it was physically, mentally and emotionally demanding for us both. And it distracted us for about 4 days but it is back home even though it doesn’t work (i.e. I am now taxi service for her once again).

So after days of printing an copying and gathering everything under the sun I though could be remotely useful for our applications, I ended up with everything in triplicate but still felt I’d forgotten something crucial. The anxiety I was feeling was tremendous. Being 3 hours away from home and unable to go grab whatever I forgot added to the anxiety of giving over control to the bus driver to get us there isn’t something I wish to repeat anytime soon!

The night before our day trip, I settled into bed at 8pm after having packed my rucksack with all the documents, photos and lots of munchies for the journey and took a sleeping tablet as there was no way I’d sleep without one. I was aching from the bike rescue missions and too anxious and excited about the trip. Hoovy was too young to remember ever going into London so I was exited to take her and see her reactions. I managed to get about 4 hours of sleep before waking with no chance of getting back to sleep. I figured at least I wouldn’t oversleep and miss the taxi.

The taxi was early but we were basically ready. It was a nice smooth ride into town and I relished being a passenger for a change. We got to the depot with half an hour to spare and eventually boarded the bus and off we went. It was all so easy! I even managed to dose off during the ride despite the cramped space.

Then we hit London. That’s when it all went wrong. Traffic was appalling and all we could do was sit and watch the precious minutes tick by. In theory we should have arrived with an hour and a half to get to the Embassy. In reality we pulled into the coach station bang on our appointment time. To say we were stressed and worried is an understatement. But I had gone up and spoken to the driver and said about our appointment then a couple seated behind him said “Don’t worry. Our appointment was for 9.30”. It was 9.45 at the time.

Once off the bus we raced (well more like a slow speed walk for me) to the nearest tube station in the rain, got our tickets and set off. Victoria north to first stop, change over to Jubilee for the next stop then we had to hoof it about 3-4 blocks to the embassy. Hoovy didn’t like the underground too much. Once there things went well again.We got in, did what we needed to do then breathed huge sighs of relief as we left. We had 2 and a half hours until the bus back was leaving.

We meandered. We went into some shops just browsing. I bought a few gifts to take back home. Hoovy had a make-up trial at Nars in Selfridges. We found a lovely place for lunch. Then time seemed to have escaped us. Suddenly we had very little time to get back to the bus.

Since we’d already done loads of walking and I hadn’t really recovered from the bike recovery excursions, walking really fast wasn’t easy – especially with a heavy backpack. But I tried. I tried so hard. I was panting my legs were painful and shaky. I wanted to drop down and cry. We got the tubes okay but the walk to the coach station nearly killed me. I sent Hoovy ahead but when I got to there, the bus was just pulling out of the station.

She wasn’t happy at all. I think she was afraid we would be stuck in London. I sat her down and told her to wait there. I went off to the ticket counter and explained the problem. The lady was nice and arranged for us to go on the next bus which was an hour later. I was impressed that there was no extra charge! I pranced back waving the ticket as I approached Hoovy. In the end I felt it was better that we had an hour spare before getting on the bus. We got drinks and used the toilets and just generally calmed down.

Once on the bus the exhaustion hit us both hard. The plan had been to catch a public bus once we got back to Southampton but we were both so drained. During the journey I decided to just get a taxi home. As we fell into the house, I thought “Well thank fuck that’s over”. I rang my Mom and crashed. Step 1 complete.

 

Psaryce x

 

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?

Anxiety, Fear & Being Alone

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Today is not a good day. I started feeling down yesterday and have been gradually declining ever since. There is so much going on right now, I am finding it harder than normal to fight the darkness.

What started me off yesterday is … On Monday, I have to go to a Tribunal. I appealed against the DWP’s decision that I am fit for work so now have to somehow argue my corner. I am seriously stressing about this. I am a nervous mess just thinking about it. Little me vs 3 professionals. You can bring someone with you but I have no one. My circle of friends is extremely limited and those who would come can’t because the courts chose 3.15 in the afternoon to hear my case. Yup, right at the time when parents, such as me, are dealing with the school run or at least their children returning home from school. I did go to the CAB for advice/help but due to a cock up, the 1st appointment they arranged for me was with the wrong person. So there is little chance the right person has enough time to adjourn the hearing. I am angry about that. Part of the problem with evidence is the doctors don’t yet know what is wrong with me. Knowing that doesn’t help my nerves about Monday any at all.

Today’s post brought further anxiety. An appointment with the day clinic in Neurology in a few weeks time. This time I have to bring someone as I am not to go home alone. Again, limited friends, busy lives. Ugh. Even more fear arose when I fully read what this appointment will entail. First off, an NCS/EMG (Nerve Conduction Studies / Electromyogram). Doesn’t sound fun but wait – the details are even better.

The NCS: electrodes attached to various places one of which “stimulates the nerve” with electrical impulses. This is repeated for a number of nerves over 45 minutes. “Some people find it uncomfortable”.

Even more fun is …

The EMG: A fine needle is inserted into the muscles to “view & listen to the electrical activity”. Further “you may be asked to move in a certain way in order to contract the test muscle” Oh joy! I get a needle stuck in my muscle then they want me to contract it … ouch!

But wait there is more still!

After these distressing tests, I get to have another biopsy! This time instead of cutting out a piece of skin, they will be plunging a hollow needle into my thigh muscle in order to extract a piece of it. “This can be uncomfortable but it is over quickly”.  As I recall from the last biopsy, the local anaesthetic stings like mad and the cut was not exactly unfelt. Also I am kind of fond of my body bits so the idea of taking a bit out doesn’t sit well with me anyways.

I know I shouldn’t get wound up about things that are to be faced in the future but right now I just can’t shake them off. I feel like a child but what I really, really  want is a cuddle and to be told everything will be okay.

Psaryce x