Hey, sorry I have been so quiet… I am useless, I know!
Well it has finally arrived… next Monday 10th February will be exactly a year since my Dad died. Everyone keeps saying ‘It will get easier’ etc but for me, grief has an ebb and flow quality. Right now I am closing myself in, verging on tears most days and just trying to get through each day. The other day when my Mother visited, I slipped into old habits and got a plate out for him for lunch… these are the moments that make me so sad.
In honour of my Dad, we are taking the kiddies to the cinema on Sunday, followed by a bit of cake (the Krispy Kreme variety!) and then at some point we will drink some Baileys (not the children!), eat hotdogs and scratch a few scratch cards… we might set off the lanterns like last year, but one thing we are definately doing is watching the film Warren made (The Man They Loved To Much) which I have avoided watching since he died.
With all this is mind, something quite important has cropped up this week, and I thought it would be good to talk (write!) about it… For those that know me well, you might not need to read this but you may want to, and for those that don’t know me that well, you might not want to read it but you may need to….
I want to write a bit about anxiety and anxiety disorders… I myself have knowingly suffered from (and I quote the health professional on this) “Anxiety, panic attacks and fear” for over 10 years. How weird is it that I was diagnosed with fear???? I know, even I was shocked and a tad scared (nothing new there obviously!) but this was my diagnosis… no getting away from it. I may have told some of you this, it may not have come up in conversation, but I am not afraid to talk about it or explain how I feel/what it is like… It is a part of who I am and I accept that… but I fight it every day and this is an exhausting battle, believe me.
Now, here’s the thing… if you really don’t understand ‘anxiety’, there may be a reason… Anxiety is almost like taking all the rationality out of life… You don’t see things as clearly as others, I certainly don’t, I think of all the awful, horrid, scary outcomes of situations before they have unfolded… Also people who are anxious can talk a lot, and in my case it is seen as ‘confidence’, but inside I feel like my brain is about to explode and dribble out of my ear, with all the worry and fretting… Anxiety is almost like a really bad habit that needs breaking (time and time again)…
For me it is like I have this constant stream-of-consciousness and irrational thought pattern going on in my head literally 90% of the time and it is exhausting! I over-analyse everything and never come to a conclusion.
If someone says a fleeting comment to a person with anxiety, chances are (in my case and people I know) that this comment will spin around in the anxious person’s head for days sometimes, whilst they question and worry what the person really meant and if they responded properly or not… (AND BREATHE!)
I haven’t had a panic attack for a long time, the closest in the past year being after my Dad died when I had to ball myself up on the ground in the Bullring because I felt suffocated by the people… Apart from that and a bit of one in one of my swimming class last year, I have been okay when it comes to a physical symptom like that… but I do not miss them and I know that it would only take one thing for it to grab a hold of me again, it is down to me to control it… and this is hard. If you have ever had one, you will understand.
I bumped into a fellow dog walker this week and it was the best thing that could have happened. We both chatted about anxiety and he said that seeing anxiety as weak is wrong, because if anyone has an anxiety disorder it is because something very awful has happened to them in their life and it is the only way of coping… He also said that when an anxious person talks (in general or about their problems) that it can make the anxiety worse… Anxious people rarely see a solution, therefore talking about the issue simply amplifies it.
For me personally, if I tell somebody about a bad experience I have had, the issue doesn’t go away, it gets bigger because I have spoke about it and I still cannot see a solution… It gets bigger and bigger and eats away so that you start to fade out of real life and zone in on your problems…
I find the hardest thing is the fact that I try to be nice to everyone I meet, so if someone is rude of ignorant I take 100% to heart and I can’t let it go. I question why someone wouldn’t say thanks when I open the door for them, or why my smile isn’t returned and instead of telling myself that it is their problem and it has nothing to do with me, I just zone out worrying what I have done wrong.
Anxiety is very much misunderstood and there are many types, such as panic attacks, suicidal and paranoid thoughts. It is a shame that we don’t talk more about it as a society, that we don’t try to understad irrationality and vice versa, maybe if we did a lot of people wouldn’t have to suffer… We would simply help each other get through each day xxx