Well this last few days has been a wake up call! I have never had to use the emergency services for myself, they are for serious cases and something I do not take lightly. Yet this week, without warning, I had to make that call I never thought I would.
I have always been quite accepting of my anxiety, I have it, I take medication and a day may be good or bad. Since my diagnosis I have not viewed it as a significant problem, more one I live with. Certainly I have the guilt and frustration of having GAD but I haven’t realised the seriousness of it until I found myself alone with my children, shaking, racing heart and on the verge of passing out and unable to get up. At the time I didn’t know what was wrong but felt certain it would pass, I gave myself a time limit to recover. After that time had passed I had no choice but to call them, for fear of being unconscious with two small children unable seek help nearby.
The paramedic who attended was wonderful and brought a professional calm that is hard to describe, she was wonderful. All vital signs were stable and in normal ranges. A diagnosis of an inner ear infection or possibly my anxiety were probable diagnosis. In all it was about an hour before I recovered and thankfully didn’t need to take up a bed in hospital over someone who needed it far more in our ever stretched and much appreciated NHS.
Now the ear problem is a distinct possibility given my rapid onset of symptoms and infections in recent months. (Who knew they could last a year??) However I do not match all the symptoms. For the 24 hour period after, any slight worry brought on the symptoms again (thankfully with a lesser significance). Even now as I write this, my heart rate is up and chest is tighter, having been high all week, it seems a much more accurate conclusion that it was my anxiety.
I have been pushing myself to carry on for a time, worrying about not being myself for my husband and children. Thinking I can take it slowly for a time but must keep going. I don’t ask for help or assistance from family and friends as I don’t want to worry them, don’t give the full truth when asked how I am as I’m sure people will be bored of me being ill so much this year. Writing this blog post I feel selfish and worry I come across as wanting attention. It is only because it’s anonymous that I am able to do it at all.
Well my incident was a huge wake up call to the fact I can’t just keep on and have likely pushed too far. I feel a sense of guilt at taking up others time for myself, yet I would do it in a heartbeat for others, ironic isn’t it, that we can be so sympathetic to others and not to ourselves. The fact remains that I do need help to get through some days and support. I told my husband all of this and I suppose you would say addmitted defeat. Not in a sense of giving up but in accepting I am quite ill and need to allow others to help me too.
I have had no problem saying I have a mental health problem but it was always with an air or breeze to it. Thinking others have far worse problems than myself, fearing I would be coming across as self obsessed if I talk about it too much or don’t offer the response of ‘Im feeling better today’. I fear others will think ‘oh she’s after attention’ or ‘a drama queen’. In brutal honesty with myself I fear in any way behaving how my mother did, always needing and only concerned with her welfare. By burying the seriousness of my issue, by battling with it, I avoid my greatest fear: becoming a narcissist.
Here I can open up and blog about my goings on but in real life I reveal very little at all and it all comes down to that. I try in every way to be kind, thoughtful help others and support them. I think carefully about what I say in conversation and do anything to avoid upsetting others. I do not want to make others feel the tinest amount of hurt I do from her and have all my life. I worry about everything I do not being enough.
For so long I have worked on my eating recovery changing my perceptions and having no end goal for recovery. Yet I have been resting for a couple of days when low or anxious and expecting myslelf to be better mentally. I guess the brain took over and tried to shut me down, to make me see I need to allow myself to recover mentally too, time to process it all before tackling something new.
Working through my issues I have done well, finding why I use food and self sabotage. It has shaken skeletons out of a closet which seems to be of Time Lord origin, (its much bogger on the inside than what appears outside). I forged forward weekly with new revelations and long forgotten incidents. My biggest only two months ago was a drawn out process of confroting my upbringing and having my emotions rebuked again. It has been tough, it is tough but I need to deal properly with all of them and perhaps close the cupboard door for a while. Other skeletons can wait.
So when the weekend is over I will request an increase in my medication, simply to deal with the anxiety symptoms. I will take the offer of help, no matter how hard i find the process and let down some of my stubbourn barriers (I know it will be painfull to say out loud) Then I will slowly work through how I’m feeling and what the last couple of months have upheaved when I am truly ready.
Most importantly I have to accept that I am incredibly unwell and it will take as long as it takes to get better, I must learn to let go of restrictions on my mental recovery just like my binges. It’s as terrifying as when I faced living without diets and makes me want to cry thinking of my vulnerability. My life experience is that when you let yourself be vulnerable and ask for help, you will be hurt and abandoned. Even the love of my husband and his family has not been able to diminish that lesson I learnt as a small child. I simply learnt very slowly to trust them but haven’t managed to drop that barrier to all. It has been my lifeline and my shield of protection throughout my life and I have no idea how I will cope reducing it.