wE'Re AlL mAd HeRe

Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Panic… and the rest!

I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues…

**Warning to readers; This post is not as cheery as usual, so please do not read if you’re feeling fragile.**

Today I have something to admit… I’m frightened. I never usually reveal the vulnerable side to my personality because it makes me nervous. I’m afraid to relinquish control and I don’t want readers to lose faith in my advice. So I’m hoping that you’ll bear with me.

By now I should really know better about the dangers of repressing my emotions. I guess I just didn’t want to face them.
I don’t believe that I’ve ever admitted this before and it isn’t nice to read, so I apologise in advance. Last year on the 4th January I wanted to die. I walked into the study where my mum was sitting and said; I feel like a horse which needs to be put down, I can’t do this anymore mum. I wasn’t only afraid I was extremely depressed (depression is often a side effect of anxiety.) I just couldn’t see a way out, how could my life possibly go on after such devastation? Nevertheless, I did pull through it and here I am.

Unfortunately I forgot/blocked out this incident and on Saturday I had a very aggressive panic attack completely out of the blue. This one was different to the others, the suicidal thoughts popped into my head and because I hadn’t experienced them for so long I was blindsided. I couldn’t calm down or focus. I cried and it took all my energy not to run around the room screaming. However, I discussed how I was feeling with my boyfriend and remained seated. This helped me to recognise the ‘Anxiety Trick’ and I eventually stabilised. I also had a long phone conversation with my mum about general stuff (this really helped because it took my mind of everything.)

Let’s just say that I picked a heck of a month to give up alcohol!

Anyway, the ‘aftershock’ of that afternoon has lingered for days and last night it erupted once more. I woke up with a start at 4am and couldn’t catch my breath, my emotions were erratic and the following thoughts kept popping into my mind:

  • I can’t do this
  • I’m going to have a panic attack at work and everyone will see
  • I’m going to lose everything
  • I can’t live like this

See, I told you this wasn’t a nice post!

Eventually (after wasting an hour trying to ignore the attack like an idiot,) I began to read my copy of; Panic Attacks Work Book -thank you David Carbonell, you’re the only man who can comfort me! After reading a few chapters I felt calm enough to sleep again.
The same thing happened on the train this morning and again I turned to the book. It really helped… and so did Katy Perry ROAR (thank you Katy.)

Even as I sit here now I feel frightened, alone and unhappy. Lots of questions are buzzing through my head such as: Will I make it through this? Will it ever end? Is there a point to anything anymore? The truth is, I really don’t know... but I have a sneaky suspicion that I’ll be ok. I got through it last January (even though I was signed off work.) So surely I can do it again? I’m not a quitter, but I am human.

My biggest problem is my reluctance to acknowledge when the anxiety is coming back, when I’m scared or when things are too much. I hate waking up to sadness and fear. I just want to click my fingers and hope that it’ll all go away.
But you know what? It f**king won’t. So rather than sitting here feeling sorry for myself like a child, I need to face the situation and take steps.

Of course I can face off a panic attacks I’ve done it before and I’ll bloody well do it again. How dare I let it control my life like this.

Ok, I need an action plan:

Alert the support system.

  • I’ve already told my amazing boss, who is more supportive than anyone could ever wish for. (I would strongly advise anyone who is suffering with anxiety to explain the situation to your line manager. Being honest disarms the fear of being ‘found out.’)
  • The family don’t have a choice as they’re obliged to be there for me by blood. (Thanks for always being available bro, you’re my life line.)
  • Rather than pretending that I’m fine I need to alert my friends to my current situation and ask them to be available for any texts or phone calls (I can be very needy!)

Keep going to the gym

  • You convince yourself that it won’t work, but it does. Three times a week, no excuses!

STOP IGNORING IT!

  • Like it or not, this isn’t going anywhere for now, so accept it. Pretending that the attack isn’t happening and then desperately trying to distract yourself DOESN’T WORK… so stop it! When you feel afraid then allow it to wash over you and read the relevant chapter from David Carbonell’s book.

 See the attacks as productive

  • If you’re going to have an attack and feel horrible then you might as well milk it for all it’s worth! Use this time to practice your techniques.. How do you know whether you can handle an attack if you don’t have them? There’s so much that you can learn from this experience. It’s frightening, but useful.
  • Every time one presents itself then welcome it with open arms. You already know that it can’t hurt you or make you go crazy.. so lets’ have fun with it. Practice makes perfect!

Keep Busy and don’t attach yourself to the couch.

  • There’s always something you can do around the flat to keep active. People to ring and chores to be done.
  • Watching TV and reading is fine too if it helps, but try and keep your brain active.

Know that it WILL end

  • Everybody experiences the January blues to a certain extent (this is why it has it’s own name!) Yours is just a little worse than most people.
  • Like all things, this time will end… you just can’t see it at the moment because you’re struggling. By the time February comes around you’ll look back on this and feel proud.

Well I hope that I haven’t freaked everyone out with the pep talk I just gave myself! If it helps anyone else then fantastic, we can follow action plan together. I’m still scared, but I feel more stable and secure. I pretty sure that I can get through this.

Best wishes to everyone. January won’t last forever.

Categories: Anxiety

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

3 replies

  1. Thank you, it’s amazingly helpful to read someone giving themselves the pep-talk I need to give myself. ; ) And special thanks to revealing your vulnerable side, it’s a good reminder that, although everyone has to kick themselves in the butt and carry on, we’re never completely alone! Personally I feel that daring to show your frailty is really an act of strength.

    One thing that I’m wondering about, is how you deal with having these panic and anxiety attacks and being in a relationship (and even living together)? I find it really challenging to find a balance between daring to be vulnerable and asking for help, while avoiding asking too much. One on hand, I want to let my ‘object of affection’ in on what I’m going through, instead if shutting him out completely. But on the other hand I’m always afraid that I’m asking to much reassurance and comforting and that to him, I’ll just become this unattractive, sobbing anxious baby and that he’ll forget that, actually, I’m a pretty strong woman too! Don’t know if this sounds familiar, was just wondering how this works for you as you don’t mention him as part of your ‘support system’.

    If you don’t want to respond to this, of course, don’t feel obliged. : ) It’s just a thought that occurred to me while reading your post.

    Thanks, and keep this going.

  2. This is for both Claire and sarah.
    First of all, I agree with sarah that it shows astonishing strength Claire that you are willing to share feelings like this. I hope it is cathartic for you, and I know it is beneficial for all of us who suffer with this to listen to someone who is willing to share so eloquently and openly.
    Sarah, in my opinion, the more people you feel willing to open up to the better.my other half, whilst not completely understanding why I have random anxiety attacks, has been a complete rock. And whilst I am a typically uncommunicative bloke 🙂 I am trying and, as I said, sharing is cathartic. This condition, in my experience at least, presents real problems for partners, friends or family and they really need to know why you aren’t your usual self. It’s a difficult thing to face up to, but its amazing how those closest to you will provide support, even though an inherent part of the condition is a lack of self worth which makes it difficult to open up.
    That’s more than enough rambling from me. Good luck to both of you!

    Morgan

  3. Hi Claire. Just wanted to thank you for doing this blog. Ok sure its a bit less fun than the others but its been more helpful for me than a few of them. Your description of a panic attack matches what happened to me this week. I always thought a panic attack involved being unable to breathe and feeling feint. But after reading your post and reading Mind’s site I think I get attacks but not to severe physical levels like that.

    So thanks for posting as its helped me realise I may have something else to deal with. I’ll get that book and have a read.

    Hope you’re having a better week now 🙂

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