Tuesday, 24 November 2009

No fate but what we make?

I've had a run of what can only be described as bad luck this past year.
First I went completely bonkers and spent the year battling anxiety, panic attacks, depression and agoraphobia.
I know why I just don't know how!
I was always the strong one, the organiser, the life and soul, the one that always did lots of stuff. I was the one that was never off sick from work and had a joie de vivre unparalleled by most.
That was was me.
And then one day....BAM! I just broke down...just like that.
My poor OH had to grow accustomed to stepping over a sobbing mess, sprawled out in the hall way when he came home from work.
I had to grow accustomed to not wanting to go out, see my friends, go to work...even eat.

The doctor put me on SSRIs and....yep, just my luck. They made me violently ill so I had to come off 'em pretty sharpish.
I begged her to refer me to CBT but you all know that that is as rare as hen's teeth on the NHS so she gave me Beta Blockers instead.

Still, I spent the rest of the year fighting it.
I FORCED myself to go outside.
Now what this entails when you are agoraphobic is tiptoeing out from your flat dearly hoping that you will not be caught by a neighbour.
Once you are out of the door, you walk, hunched, robot-like, head down, hood up and force yourself to go where you need to be. Usually for me, my first forays involved the local shop.
I would buy my items, eyes faced down, body language closed, trying to involve as little human contact as possible.
And then I would run home and be violently sick.
But it gets better...you go out for a little longer the next day, possibly further afield and possibly even in broad daylight.
And when you return home safely again, you begin to realise, "Well that wasn't so bad! I didn't die!"
And the Dante's Inferno raging inside your trouble mind begins to give way to a more manageable riot of thoughts.

After a few days, you add in more and more activities and before you know it, you start eating again and can go back to work.
My line of work involves lots of conversations.
Now I may appear out going, but actually, I am total loner and find it difficult to sustain conversations without feeling exhausted.
Every time I hold a conversation, I am thinking:
"Am I behaving appropriately?
Am I doing the small talk right?
Am I showing enough interest in your boiler problems with my conversational and physical gestures?"

And I have had to do this every single day for many, many years in a line of work that I LOVE...but find tough at times because of all the conversations!

But when I bounce back, boy do I bounce back!
I am this bold, fearless, outgoing and cheery individual willing to take on any challenge that the world might throw at me.

The trouble is...and here's the rub:
It only takes a little disaster to set me back to square one again, because folks, I am NOT YET FULLY HEALED!!!!!
It can take up to and well over and sometimes NEVER two years for someone to recover from a break down as severe as mine.

So I have to treat it as if it were M.E. which means I cannot over do things.
A very wise friend introduced me to The Spoon Theory and it revolutionised my way of thinking.

Read it.
And then when I tell you "I am sorry I can't come out to the pub with you tonight because I am out of spoons!" you will know what I am on about.
It's the best way to explain to people who are well and full of life and vitality what it is like to have to cope with a long term illness.

I was doing so well. I had returned to work and was absolutely loving it.
I lasted one unimpressive week before I fell again.

And why did I fall?

I was victim of fraud....£2k wiped from my combined bank accounts over night...which meant having to phone people.
I am phonaphobic.
But I did it.
And then my OH contravened with his behaviour leaving me pacing up and down fretting all weekend.
And then I got me a shoulder injury and two massive black eyes by falling out of bed during my sleep (I am prone to night fits sadly).

And then there was a fair bit of drama involving my neighbours.

And then I just simply caved in again.
Just like that.
I crumpled like a piece of paper in a fist and fell to the metaphorical floor once more.

But the point of this post is not to incur sympathy...it is simply to cry out loud:


I am kind to my friends, I give to charity, I give money to tramps, I nearly always tell the truth, I pet fluffy kittens....I am a good, kind and caring person.
Surely I should have racked up some good karma by now?

Oh, and one final irony..... and I want you to laugh at this.

Since I have had to deal with doctors, metal health nurses, banks, etc, etc, I conquered my phonaphobia...I was even getting SO into using phones that I began to covet and cherish my land line phone and the lovely conversations I could have on it with my dearest friends.

And then the phone died.

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