Today, has been a difficult end to a challenging week. I knew it would be difficult, because the builders were in for three days, repairing a leaking shower and using my bedroom as a workspace, so not only was my retreat and safe zone out of action, but I also had to be up and about early (for me at least). So reduced sleep with the pressure of entertaining my family to celebrate my daughters 26th birthday all day, with the builders still here, and an expectation of a home baked birthday cake and lunch, followed by a meeting in the evening, made Wednesday an overwhelming challenge, but I did it and the builders finished that night. Relief.
Friday required me to get my 20 year old son up and to a new (temporary) work place. This pushes my abilities now, as it is an unknown place, a fixed time and needs me to push my son to get up. It went ok, my previous nights research to check where we had to go paid off, as the agency had the postcode wrong. I anticipated I would be anxious, because of the combinations of triggers I Have mentioned. But I got him there, managed my building panic and made it back home. I was also able to try and mentally note what was going on, so here goes:
I wake up with my alarm, and feel the dread creep over me. I stretch my legs and feel the comfort of the duvet on my legs, wish I could stay. But get up, drag on my clothes and head for the kitchen and a mug of tea. I feel my bowels start to move and try to suppress the sick feeling by drinking my tea. Then I go up and knock the boy. Come back down and go for a smoke and drink my tea. Then loo. Then know I have to go knock the boy again. Back down, loo. Make second tea. Hear movement, yes, he is up, but no it is my wife. "Is the boy getting up?" I ask, "no" the reply, "did you knock I ask?" - "no" is the reply. So up I go for third time - this time there is movement. Back to my tea, feeling sick, tense, can't sit still. Hear movement he is up - some relief. Then time to go, stop at shop car park and I wait while he gets his lunch, anxious about time ticking by and the time he should be at work, that has become 'my' deadline now, although it is of course his. Now the anxiety is kicking in: Nausea, dry mouth, bowel movement, hands clenched, thoughts racing, rubbing my leg, heavy breathing, chest tightening. He is back, we are off- anxiety lessens slightly as we are on way again. Find place easy. See him go in sense of relief in my body and chest isn't so tight, breathing easier, wait for few minutes in case he come back out. Then drive home. On way home feel anxiety lift or change, tearful now, frustrated about my reaction, but it is nearly over.
Once home, I potter have a coffee and a smoke to rest, put a wash on, shower and get dressed ready for counselling session at Rushden Mind at 11. Back in control now, plenty of time.
I leave for counselling allowing plenty of time. Get to Rushden and (having previously had trouble parking) go for the less popular car park 5 minutes walk away that always has spaces, having had difficultly parking in near places previously. But it is full, I start to panic, the next car park is full too and I am stuck and can't get out as people are waiting for spaces. It is back - tight chest, heavy breathing, nausea, dry mouth, tightness, clenching, can't stand it, ABORT ABORT - go home. I can't - stuck, and I DO want to go to counselling. Get out of car park, drive round the one way system, try nearest car park, find a space. Anxiety drops slightly, at Mind on time!!!! Now what I haven't said is during all this I am telling, well shouting, at myself, what is the problem? It is your appointment, you can be late or not arrive, Mind nor my counsellor will mind. There is NO problem. But it doesn't go in.
Once at counselling, I get the aftermath reaction, shaking, tearful, stuttering, clenching, breathing, chest, nausea, you get the picture, we talk and after 20 minutes I am calming down.
What strikes me and has bothered my is that: I was not worried about going to counselling. I thought I was all OK with it, but still it (anxiety) has to have a go and a double hit me in one day which has pi$$ed me off and make wonder if I am in control at all. I know it is just a setback but it is still extremely frustrating and confusing. Anyway I have been asleep for few hours in my safe place (bed), got the boy back from work (3pm) and decided to use writing therapy to try and lift my mood and I do feel a bit better - I am going to get up and have a tea and smoke.
I am also going to use this blog differently, I am going to just post my thoughts instead of writing them in my book. It will be more messy, but this blog can be for me now primarily, if you find it useful then all the better. Now where is the weebly iPad app?
Also big thanks of appreciation to the wonderful work of Rushden Mind and my counsellor