Saturday, 25 July 2015

About Me - The Unsocial Network or How I learnt to love my anxiety



It seems to plague a lot of people, anxiety seems to manifest itself in a lot of different ways and I don't really know why I am writing this down, well apart from the fact I found these awesome gifs that will cheer the page up, but since I am on the up I found the best thing is not to keep things inside, share, share, share!


Share as much as you can because that happy go lucky person who always seems to be the life of the party could actually have depression, or that cheery young man you see all the time could suffer from panic attacks, I have learnt never to judge that book by its happy exterior.


I have always been a mildly nervous kind of person. As a youngster I would have to repeatedly check things over and over again to make sure they were switched off, it was just weird even though I knew a switch was off I couldn't settle until I had checked it at least three times.


Around the age of 15 I started to get down, I seemed to cry at the drop of the hat, I just felt miserable and I ended up seeing a psychologist at the insistence of my doctor, someone to talks things over with. Maybe it was my hormones, who knows but after a few sessions with the mind doc I did feel a lot better.


To be honest I felt fine for years, but through my twenties even though I was outwardly outgoing the thought of some things freaked me, meeting new people, having to make small talk, going in to a room full of people by myself would give me the willies but I just got on with and most people just believed me to be a little shy.


Anyway as I grew older and wiser I got married (without a problem, I was a social princess that day) and had children.  Having kids really did change my life, they are total mini-me's but with the exception they are wonderfully outgoing and confident little humans.  Little humans who want to go to friend's houses and nursery and birthday parties and.........


So on I went, I started to take them all over the shop and it was fine, I spoke to loads of nice strangers and encountered the whole alpha mummy, bitchy mummy, cliquey mummy, earth mummy, harassed mummy groups that are out there. It was all going too well till one day it didn't.


It started off small, I noticed my temper was getting shorter, but as a mum of two young kids who hasn't had a little yell from time to time? But over a short period of time I noticed other things, I felt constantly sick when I was going anywhere, I felt light-headed and tingly, quick to anger and constantly teary.  I had came off the contraceptive pill about this time too which I am sure didn't help one little bit so most of these things I put down to it. I put on a brave face and got on with it.


Then things started getting worse, I had been to the doctors with my symptoms, I just thought I was ill, as I was feeling sick, I thought I had a bug, they thought I maybe had glandular fever (Mono) so I was drained of lots of blood samples, they came back negative. Still trying to function I had a wedding to go to, I got to the hotel where we were staying and got changed, then those symptoms reared their ugly heads. It was a warm day and I was freaked about being sick or fainting in the church, I don't know why. I was just convinced something bad was going to happen. 

I had an upset stomach and I vomiting, again I presumed I was just freaking as I was ill, I told my other half to go to the wedding and that I would be fine, I wasn't. When he came back from the wedding early, bless him, he found me in the toilet and I stood up to see him, I blacked out. I still put this down to a bug.

I missed a good night, I also missed a kids party, my two daughters and husband attended whilst I waited in the car, I physically couldn't leave, by now I wondered what the fuck was up with me, I did think I was just drained, run down, at no point did I blame anything else.  That day on the way home I had to wear my sunglasses to block out the view that I was crying.

I wanted to get a grip , you know that old chestnut that those caring sorts sometimes say to people who are under the weather, I couldn't. I just wanted to sleep and wake up like a new person. 



I was also working part-time at this point, I would go in to work, sit in front of my screen and I physically couldn't do it, in the weeks leading up to my worst point I started to feel like I couldn't breathe. I was convinced one day at work my throat was starting to close over, I went to the doctors and they did mention if I was anxious, I said no.

A couple of days later I was so not myself I literally fell to my knees walking up my hallway, I just couldn't move, I felt I was losing my marbles. The day came when I went to work as normal and again I couldn't do anything, my kind boss drove me home and them my mother in law took me to the doctors. 

I got a different doctor, a lovely lady.  "I think you may be depressed" she said, to which I scoffed don't be so daft.  She reeled off a list of things - sick, racing thoughts, upset stomach, crying, short temper, anxious, shaky, pins and needles - "yes to all" I replied.  She told me she believed I had been having panic attacks, she wasn't sure what had triggered them, she said it could be delayed post natal depression but she was there for me and she could help. 

It was arranged I would see a counsellor and it may be a good idea to take anti-depressants. I agreed to this. I phoned my boss and said what had happened, I told her I would be back at work the next day without fail.


I wasn't back to work for three weeks, (I also better mention that three weeks after that I had a holiday booked to Orlando and I was convinced that I would freak out on the plane and wouldn't make it) when I got home with my little pills I sat myself down to take one, making the mistake of reading the leaflet that came with it, the list of side effects was like War and Peace but I wanted to be better, now that I knew what was happening.

Within 15 minutes of taking it I felt like I had taken some bad crazy drugs, I felt (what I imagine) stoned, I was by myself with my kids and a little worried. My mother in law came to my rescue again, within a couple of hours of taking them I felt sick, shivery but also sweaty and my head was racing like crazy. When my other half came home I felt a little like a crazy person.

That night I barely slept, I couldn't even read I was that bad and to be honest in the weeks leading up to this point reading was not my saviour, the next day I woke up dreading taking the next pill.  My dad came over as I did not want to be by myself with the kids, I was worried they would get up to no good whilst I periodically slept and shivered and shaked and sweated.  I also got some awesome new symptoms the next day, my teeth started grinding together, everything tasted like metal and I got an upset tummy, I didn't feel like this was a good idea. But I persevered. 



I started the pills on a Tuesday and by the Friday I was able to leave the house, something I couldn't have done up to that point, I couldn't even get changed. I wasn't 100%, I wasn't even 50% but that Saturday I went to my local town 30 miles away with my family and I felt better.

Very slowly I started to feel different, I felt a little numb and could not cry, watching Toy Story 3, you know that scene, the one near the end, well not a drop was spilt from my eyes before I would have bawled my eyes out but something had changed but I felt ok.


I made it to Florida three weeks later and I remember telling my other half I was the happiest I had felt in ages. I wasn't all sunshine and rainbows but it was getting better and since then I have made changes to my life for the better. It probably took at least 8 weeks for the pills to properly kick in, I could tell as my hands where no longer shaking.

Once I felt better I started to do all the things that had previously freaked me out, I talked to strangers, I went to events that had previously made me uneasy, everywhere that I had felt uncomfortable I went back and visited it, I felt I had too otherwise what was the point in still avoiding them.


I am better, I am good and I read entire series of Game of Thrones whilst I was on sick leave, changes have been made for the better, I lost my job through redundancy, people died, shit happened but I chose not to dwell on things, something I was previously very, very guilty of.

Now I choose to show my anxiety, I am not ashamed of the fact I am still on anti-depressants I believe they are helping me, and they have helped me have the confidence to start my dream job, start driving again and become social. To be honest I sometimes wonder if the pills are actually working, could I be OK without them? That is for another day.



So there you go, I'm content and know I am (mainly) a book blogger I have a shit load of books to keep me happy (plus better mention my loving family!!!)

It does get better.





Random Redheaded Ramblings


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12 comments

  1. Wonderful post, and so thoughtful and brave of you to share...many people don't realize they are suffering and perhaps your story will inspire them.

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    1. Thanks Kimba, I was one of them. Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. That was a really brave post and thank you for sharing. Also the gifs were great.

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    1. I love looking for gifs! Thanks for stopping by Grace!

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  3. Great post and I love all the gifs!

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  4. This was such a brave thing to do, Heather! I'm so sorry you've had to deal with all this crap, but I'm sure that things will be just fine. Good luck, and remember: The bookish community loves you :D

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    1. Awww thanks Rhea, that means al ot xxxxx

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  5. Thank you for sharing that; it's very brave of you. But it's also important that those of us who can speak from experience share our stories. So many people don't understand that depression has many symptoms, and often people who are depressed don't realize that's what is going on. Your story could help someone else ask for help.

    I've never been diagnosed with depression, but I have dealt with some pretty serious anxiety myself, as well as panic attacks. At this point I'm doing pretty well and off medication, but it comes and goes and there are times when I need the medication to help me get back to a healthy place.

    I'm so glad you finally found a diagnosis and the help you needed. Hugs!

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    1. Aw thank you, I am glad to hear that you are doing well. Panic attacks come in so many different shapes and sizes I think a lot of people don't realise what they are having - I didn't.

      But I just wanted to share, to use my blog for good (I sound like a super hero)!

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    2. There's nothing wrong with sounding like a superhero - especially the altruistic kind!

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