Anxiety in my Mind – Silly panic attack

I’m writing this on my iPad because I’m at my parents’ and of course I don’t have my keyboard with me. So let’s see how long my patience lasts when I can’t type properly.

Let’s do this.

I had the silliest panic attack today. Well it didn’t feel silly while I was experiencing it but it was definitely one of those attacks that when they’re over makes you look back and think why on earth was I panicking over THIS?!



Rewind to earlier today when I was about to leave to go visit my parents. I was also meant to go to the gym with my Grandma. 

I was putting on my makeup when I suddenly discovered that the side of my nose was swollen. 

Cue a panic attack.

Yes. Really. I started panicking over a slightly swollen nose. 

Because I had no idea how I got it. 

What is happening? Is my face going to start to swell too? What if I won’t be able to breathe? I don’t want to end up in hospital. 

I didn’t go to the gym. I stayed at home. (Until the evening when I was feeling better and came over at my parents’ place.)

And while I was also aware that I was “just” panicking and these were anxiety thoughts, I needed outside confirmation that I didn’t need to be hospitalized. I was on the phone with my Dad for an hour. And I also took beta blockers. 

I’ve been doing very well recently so now I’m trying not to be too discouraged over this. I tend to mope over things too much.

I need to just view this as a day that anxiety got a bit of a hold over me but shit happens and I move forward. 

Fighting.

PS The swelling started to go away slowly during the day. Most likely it was an internal pimple or an allergic reaction or something. Or I’d accidentally punched myself.

Anxiety in my Mind – Buying Groceries

I went to the gym with my Grandma today. (We try to go every week. She’s 85.)

After the workout we went to buy groceries. And I felt panicky.

Because of exercising my heart rate was faster and adrenaline was pumping. Things that happen during a panic attack.

That’s why working out is a trigger for me sometimes. (It’s so irritating because exercising is actually good for the anxiety.)

So I felt really anxious at the store: I was walking restlessly and it was hard to concentrate. (My Grandma has mucular degeneration which means her eye sight is very poor. That’s why we go together so I can help.) I helped her choose apples all the while thinking if I would have to leave. 

I tried not to let my anxious mind consume me. I breathed. I changed my thinking from “What if I have to run out What if I have a panic attack What if I faint?!” To “If I need to I can go outside and have a breath of fresh air and then come back.

That did the trick. I was able to keep my thought prosess calm and realistic. And at the same time giving myself a way out without actually running away from the anxiety.

I didn’t have a panic attack. The anxiety went away and I was able to complete shopping. 

Win. 

Anxiety in my Mind – Work Christmas Party

This was supposed to be just a quick post on this gloomy November Sunday (but soon it’s December and I can open my The Body Shop calendar I’m so excited) but it ended up being quite a rambling.

I’ve been having a slight fever, a sore throat and can’t properly hear with my right ear. Damn flu.

So yesterday was the Christmas party. I was so excited to participate because last year I didn’t go because they deciced to go out of town and I didn’t feel comfortable going (because of anxiety).

So I was really happy when this year they decided on bowling and dinner and it wasn’t far away so I could drive there comfortably by myself! (I also knew the place and knew how to drive there, knew where to park etc. So that made it easier.)

Other thing that made me less anxious was the fact that when you’re bowling, you feel more free. You can move around. Sitting at a table always makes me feel more trapped.

So yesterday I’m debating with myself whether to go or not. Why wouldn’t I go? Well, because I feel ill. But am I ill enough? Is this just anxiety talking?

The story of my life: battles inside my head.

In the end I decided to go. (And I’m so happy that I did! This is the part the people without anxiety don’t usually know or get: the battle you have to fight just to come to the decicion to do something. Then it’s a whole another battle to actually do the thing.)

Anxiety equals battles.

So I decided to go. My parents came over to babysit my dog and cats and offer moral support by “being near”. (I can’t help but feeling a bit like a loser for needing – or thinking that I need – my parents.)

When I arrived to this big shopping center/mall/I-don’t-know-what-to-call-it and met my co-workers (after having trouble finding a parking place and then getting totally lost and ending up going on elevators and stairs and walking through the crowds) they told me we couldn’t go bowling after all.

Are you kidding me?!

There was something wrong with the reservation. Well there was no reservation as it turned out. Yay.

So they decided to just go straight to eat.

My anxiety’s initial reaction was to leave. Luckily I’ve come so far with my anxiety that I don’t need to act on these thoughts and didn’t start to panic. I just thought: well I will go to the restaurant with them to hang out a bit and probably not order anything.

So we ended up in this lovely little Greek place. I sat at the end of the table nearest the exit and eyed where I could get to my car fastest. I wasn’t that anxious but my anxious mind always looks for these kind of things. (Also I forgot to mention that I did took extra medication for the occasion.)

The waiter came and took drink orders. At this point I didn’t want to order anything but ended up ordering a 7UP because “everyone ordered something”. (So silly, I know!) Now I felt my anxiety rising a bit. I had placed an order. If I had to leave now, someone else would end up paying for it. I feared the embarrassment. (Even though I know my co-workers would have been nothing but understanding. But anxiety mind doesn’t make any sense.)

Well, then came the food order. I decided to order a tomato soup: good for my flu and not too much to eat so I wouldn’t feel anxious about clearing my plate. The food was delicious and I was so happy that anxiety didn’t prevent me from eating!

Rest of the evening was pretty much anxiety-free. As soon as you do something that makes you anxious – like sitting in a restaurant and ordering and eating food – anxiety decreases. I so need to do more of this.

I hope you can either relate to this post OR have now more insight to the mind of someone dealing with anxiety.

 

Previous Anxiety in my Mind post: Taking my Dad to the Hospital.

All Anxiety in my Mind posts.

 

Anxiety in my Mind – Taking my Dad to the Hospital

Previous Anxiety in my Mind posts.

I’ve had a really exhausting week. Panic attacks, anxiety, worry. I had multiple blog posts floating in my mind about it but now when the week is over and I’m actually sitting here in front of my computer: nothing. I’ve got nothing. I think my mind is just numb about it all. Or there’s too much of it. Too many feelings, too many thoughts, just too much.

Exactly a week ago we (me and my Mom) took my Dad to the hospital.

Cue a major panic attack.

DSC_0026In a nutshell: my Dad had a blood clot in his lung, something he had a year ago too. As serious as blood clots can be, my Dad’s were found early and he hardly had any symptoms. He was just a bit out of breath. We all knew he was going to be fine.

That didn’t help my anxiety one little bit.

Now my Dad have had previous visits to the hospital  but this was the first time I was there when he had to go. I got an immediate panic attack when I realised he would have to go to the hospital. It was horrible. I was trying to be brave for my Dad but at the same time I was pacing around rubbing my hands together (what I do when I panic).

Dad actually cried a bit because he was feeling so bad about my panic. Boy did that make me feel awful. Here I was having a panic attack which although feels like hell, isn’t dangerous. And my Dad who needed hospital care was worried about me.

I took extra anxiety medication (beta blockers and a tranquiliser) and listened to Excel at Life’s panic assistance audios.

And just breathed.

I was pretty calm the whole drive to the hospital. And even though I was very anxious the whole evening, I didn’t have another panic attack.

I wasn’t able to go to work for two days.

I didn’t have proper panic attacks and I was able to reduce my extra anxiety medication. But I was anxious and tense. Every moment was like waiting for another panic attack. And wondering when Dad would come home. And feeling quilt for being absent from work. Tough days.

But as it’s always with anxiety, I adapted. I felt better every day (anxiety wise) and was able to go to work on Wednesday (it was Sunday evening when Dad was admitted) with a little, okay a lot of, help from my Mom. She came to stay at my place when I went to work. It helped when she was near.

On Wednesday afternoon I got a text from Dad saying we could come pick him up later on the day. I was so relieved.

Anxiety didn’t stop there however.

I lived in immense tension for three days and it took its toll on my body:

Firstly on the way home from the hospital I got car sick. I never get car sick. I felt like throwing up.

Secondly I got fears. I was anxious to go to work. I feared that Dad was going to end up in a hospital again. I was afraid that I was going to end up in a hospital. Irrational fears, anxiety’s best friends.

I also slept. A lot. During the weekend. But I’ve been feeling better every day.

Even if you feel terrible, it will pass.

I don’t know what the point of this post is or even if it needs a point. I just needed to let this out. I actually feel better now. Yay!

Thank you for reading. ♥

Anxiety in my Mind – Disappointment

Previous Anxiety in my Mind post: Panic Attack & New Job (All Anxiety in my Mind posts here.)

I had a whole other ‘Anxiety in my Mind’ post planned but life happens.

Today I did not go to work. 

I had a panic attack in the morning. The cause was a combination of a lot of things (as it usually is):

1) I didn’t have my car. I walk to work or go by bike so I don’t really need my car. It’s a safety blanket. I don’t feel as stuck in my smaller than small 26,5m2 apartment when I have a vehicle that can take me somewhere else (usually to my parents’). 

2) My Dad had a Doctor’s appointment. I feel embarrassed and shamed writing about this. In recent years I’ve coped very well when my parents have had plans. (Which means they can’t come and “help” me. I don’t usually if ever need their help but my anxiety wants them to be a safety blanket as well. I’ve worked (and still work) hard to change this.) But now I didn’t have my own car and my Mom didn’t have a car so she couldn’t come and pick me up. I felt stuck. 

3) I was already sick with a stomach bug or something. I realised this later in the day. For a few days my stomach hadn’t felt right. Yesterday evening I felt quite sick and I felt like throwing up. This morning I thought that the nausea and everything else were only because of the panic attack and I felt like a loser when I called in sick for work.

 

At first I was too ashamed to write about this but here goes: Dad ended up borrowing a neighbour’s car so Mom could use their car to come pick me up.

This brings me to the topic of this post: disappointment. Every person dealing with anxiety and panic attacks (and various other disorders) know the feeling: you feel like a failure, a bad person, you wonder if various people are now mad at you. 

These are all irrational thoughts. At the same time as I cried to my Mom on the phone and told her that I feel like a bad person, I knew that I wasn’t. But the feelings were so overwhelming, I had to look for outside reassurance. 

When I said  I felt like a bad person for not being able to go to work, my  Dad said that I shouldn’t feel like that: “You don’t go to work when you’re sick. And your co-workers have taken way more sickdays than you. Don’t be too hard on yourself.”

Which is all true. But here’s the thing we with mental health problems struggle with. I felt so bad because I’ve had panic attacks in the morning before and still managed to go to work. So why was this day different? It was “just” a panic attack. I should’ve been able to go to work like before, right?

But these things happen. Some days are easier and some harder. And even if you have a harder time, it doesn’t mean that you’ve stopped recovering. “Three steps forward and one step back” but you’re still making progress. I’m writings this down because I need to remind myself of this time to time. 

These feelings of disappointment, shame, embarrassment and regret used to bother me for days (even weeks or months, in some cases years) after events like this happened. Now I’ve learned to be more forgiving and gentle towards myself. I’ve got work to do still but I’m heading into the right direction.

My words for you who are dealing with this kind of stuff: it’s not the end of the world, try not to dwell on these feelings (I know it’s hard!). Also what I’ve found out is that talking about and sharing these experiences and feelings really help.

Talking about disappointment kills it. 

Anxiety in my Mind – Panic Attack & A New Job

(Previous Anxiety in my Mind post: Change )

This post is actually really fitting after my previous one. So I started my new job this week. (Kindergarten teaching kids aged 3 to 5.) Stress and anxiety levels were naturally high.

Panic attack came on Day Three. (I had panicky moments before but here I’m talking about a full-blown attack.)

20150807_152209
“trying to get my feet moving and go to my classroom when on the other hand watching my sneakers and thinking about leaving for home”

It started at home and I was so scared I wasn’t able to go to work. What would they say if I took off sick just days after starting? What would they say if I had to leave? What if I can’t go to work EVER AGAIN?!! Familiar what-if-thoughts getting just a bit out of hand.

I was able to get myself to work. (I should add that it’s just a few minutes walk. But with a panic attack it feels endless.) I thought that I can always go back home after I’ve gone to work.

I stood in the changing room and was going through an intense battle in my mind. I was literally stuck in the middle: trying to get my feet moving and go to my classroom when on the other hand watching my sneakers and thinking about leaving for home.

I was able to go to my classroom by thinking that I at least will go and see my coworkers. I can leave if I have to. Taking it step by step really helps. First step: walk to work. Second step: go to classroom. Etc.

What helped also was that I immediately told my coworker that I had a panic attack in the morning and still felt a bit weird. So if I had to leave she would know why. Telling about panic is scary because you don’t know how people react but I’ve had only positive responses after I started talking about it.

Anxiety in my Mind – Part 1: Change

Change is the enemy of anxiety. Anxiety does not like change. And that is why it’s so important for us (who suffer from anxiety) to learn to embrace change.

The reason why we react to change with anxiety is stress. All changes, positive and negative, create stress. And our stress response is anxiety, sometimes a panic attack. Anxiety is a normal stress response but for us with anxiety disorders it has went a bit far. (Meaning it complicates our lives.)

                                                 Cats 1

I used to be very scared (=anxious) of Summer. Yes, fricking Summer. I was scared of the free time that I had to think. Overthink. The change of routine from school/work was scary. I feared that I wouldn’t be able to go back to school/work after Summer.

Nowadays I’m much more comfortable when it comes to Summers. But still to this day I feel the nervousness when I shift from work routine to vacation.

This year I was afraid that it would be harder because I start at a new job in August. Changing jobs is a major cause of stress for anybody.

I’m a kindergarten teacher (ages 3 to 5 at the moment). So there were lots of lasts this week. Last day with the co-workers, last day with the kids, last day with the parents. There were lots of hugs and nice words.

This was naturally very emotional which is why I started my last day with a panic attack. Classic. When you are afraid of feeling the feelings, you change them into panic. And you’re not usually aware of this.

My last day went way more smoothly than I anticipated. I didn’t feel overly sad/emotional/anxious. For the first few days after, I was in a bad mood. Which I’ve noticed is a milder way of feeling anxious for me. You don’t get physical symptoms like in a panic attack but you’re just irritated by everything.

For now my goal is to enjoy the Summer and not to worry about August and the new job too much. That is a lot and I won’t be 100% successful at it but that is ok. I’m also working on not being too hard on myself. I have a lot of work to do on that front..