Spring has Sprung!!
Although if we are honest it’s more of a gentle bounce than a full blown leap at the moment. But none the less, the clocks have gone forward, the nights are lighter and the sun is making an appearance. Happy Days!
And they are, at the moment the days are happier and I am feeling more positive and more determined than I have for a while. Importantly I am feeling that I am in control of my anxiety rather than being controlled by it. In reality I still feel a bit wobbly, it’s an underlying feeling of uneasiness and I guess a constant reminder that the anxiety is there. It wants me to remember that it could burst through at any time so not to get too complacent and cocky. I don’t know if that feeling is something I will always have or whether in time I will heal but it is something that you can kind of learn to live with and suppress to a degree so that it doesn’t impact too much on normal life.
But I feel that I have some control over my life at the moment and I feel like I could be strong enough to get back to some of the things that I used to be able to do without really thinking. This is a really big deal for me because I have majorly struggled over the last few months with the fact that I couldn’t bring myself to do things (such as running, going to the gym, painting) that previously I had been able to do without issue. Once I became ill there seemed to be a glass wall erected in my mind, on one side was my conscious mind and on the other side was all the things I liked to do, used to do or needed to do for basic functioning. I could see them and I knew what I needed to do but I couldn’t reach them – it was awful!
I remember very vividly on one particular day that I was due to meet some friends for lunch. I was overwhelmed with anxiety and panic and it was literally crippling me. I was at home alone, with a few hours to go until I had to leave. I had tried to be kind to myself and made myself a short list of three jobs I would like to achieve before I left for the lunch. One of those jobs was to go upstairs and get a pile of washing to put on whilst I was out, but I couldn’t do it, I physically couldn’t go upstairs. My mind had taken complete control of my body and the anxiety was stopping me from being able to climb approx. 13 steps, pick up a pile of washing and come back down. It sounds ridiculous, and to anyone who hasn’t experienced anxiety or doesn’t understand anxiety then it will seem impossible that I wasn’t able to physically walk up the stairs when actually there was nothing physically wrong with me.
Rest assured that I couldn’t believe it either and it went against every part of my character. I am by nature a bit of a control freak, I like routines and lists and structure. I don’t (or didn’t) have a lot of time for the irrational and firmly believed in mind over matter. I am a determined and tenacious person (this is starting to sound like my CV so apologies) so all of this felt absolutely ridiculous but it also felt extremely frightening. To have no control over your body and mind is terrifying and I really really struggled with this and still do to be honest.
I feel that for me the glass wall is a good analogy as like I said I could see what needed to be done, it was all over there encouraging me or maybe even taunting me but I just couldn’t break through, I couldn’t get to it. When I tried it hurt so in the end I just sat there staring through the glass much like my dog does when we are outside and he is not allowed out.
I made it out to the lunch although I didn’t manage to put the washing on before I went or in fact any of the other jobs on my list. But I took comfort in the fact that I had made it to the lunch even though I was struggling so much with anxiety. But I tell you what, when I got home from the lunch there was no stopping me – I was up and down those stairs like no one’s business and knocking all the jobs out of the park. It was as if I was a completely different person, no longer paralysed by anxiety.
There were a few more similar incidences but I am pleased to say that thankfully I haven’t experienced that level of paralysis for a while, not that its been plain sailing ever since, but I must have identified ways to manage that particular issue.
I also feel as though the glass wall has come down and I don’t have such a physical barrier between myself and the things I want or need to do. That being said I still find it a struggle to achieve the things I once did. I now consider that the glass wall has fallen down and become more of a large puddle between me and those aspirations. I could get over it but it isn’t easy, I could wade through but that can be messy and unappealing. I could ask for help, and sometimes I do, having someone with you definitely makes things easier and less daunting, but it isn’t always possible to have someone with you at all times and actually I don’t want to be dependant on someone to help me do what should be basic everyday tasks.
So, I will continue to make small but steady progress in the right direction. Some days I have enough energy to take a running jump and get over the puddle and when I do I always end up feeling really good and empowered to continue. But some days I just can’t do it, some days I may dip my foot in to the puddle and then bottle it – making promises that I will try again another day and succeed. Those days don’t make me feel so good but I am learning to be kind to myself and accept that I can’t be leaping all over the place all the time, sometimes its ok to be cautious.
But with the arrival of the warm weather and the lighter evenings, who knows maybe soon I will be leaping like a baby lamb all over the place and then who knows what will be possible.