Getting Through a Difficult Day

It’s been a difficult day. Today, was the funeral on my main customer. She’s been a big part of my past working year. I’m glad I went to say my goodbyes. See the family I got to know.

Luckily, a few fellow workers came to. We got to grieve together. I was even meant to be back to my office work by 1 pm. I need and wanted more time with her family and my friends. I did email to say I was gonna be late.

I didn’t apologise or make excuses. They knew where I was. I knew I was losing out on pay. There was where I needed to be. No regrets.

Thankfully, this evening I had something to look forward to. My friend offered to make me dinner and tonight was the night we’d organised it for. It was good to have something to look forward to.

He made a lovely meal, we watched a funny film and I was home for half 9. I didn’t even feel my anxiety of being in a rush. I did check the time a couple of times. I didn’t wanna be home late.

Once the film had finished and the football got turned on. I was started to feel tired. I knew it was time to go.

Both the good and sad happened today. I’m safe. I’m getting better. I’m able to last through a difficult day. I’m capable.

So are you!

Past, Present or Future?

I am pleased to say: I have started working on a couple of my goals. To make it easier and to, well, worry less. I am making notes of what I do in my calendar. I hope that doesn’t become an obsession. 

I started my Overcoming: Anxiety, Stress and Panic workbook. I’ve only got to page 6 and I’m already journalling. I’ve just finished the worry and stress checklist. 10 questions; 9 with the answer of YES and 1 with the answer of SOMETIMES.

Let’s just say that meant I have problems with worry and stress.

Reading blogs and the 6 pages of the workbook, I came across a theme about worrying about the past. It got me thinking: Do I worry about the past, present or future the most?

The Past > I try to avoid it. But I think that is a post for another time.

The Present > I certainly worry and stress about what does or doesn’t happen right now.

The Future > It’s the future I wanna look at.

The Future

This is the one I tend to worry and stress over massively. This is what goes through my head often:

Worry.jpg

I could go on. The future is scary. The unknown is scary. The future, the worry, the stress is affecting my present. Which will, in turn, affect my future. An endless cycle, I cannot seem to break. Not knowing how to stop going around in circles.

I’m mentally exhausted. Like I’m going crazy. Worrying about the future is a big thing for me. It’s something I need to tackle.

 

Behaviour and Panic

Week 3 of the Positive Steps group is the week that encouraged me to start overcoming my panic about having a bath. Doing this through exposure.

Behaviours

The week is called Managing Behaviours. Looking at a different type of vicious cycle; the behavioural vicious cycle. Here’s mine:

Untitled1

How do I go about changing these behaviours? 

Going by what my counselling work says I need to make a list of the things I need to engage with. As creativity is one of the ones on my list. I’ve made a picture of my list rather than just listing them out for you.

List of things need to do.jpg

As you can see I have colour coded each item on my list.

  • Red: Necessary
  • Green: Routine
  • Purple: Pleasurable

In all fairness, I would like all the things on my engagement list be pleasurable. There were a couple I couldn’t decide on. For example, Yoga and Walking the dogs is on my routine list and it does need to be routine but I also want these to be pleasurable too.

Now I have my list, I have to start small and schedule these into my days. Making sure I do something regularly and then reflect on what I have done.

I have started doing activities from my list. I’ve been setting reminders, putting them in my calendar and logging walks and yoga through Google Fit.

I reflect daily, through my writing. Although I don’t just talk about what I have done that day. I think my reflections will be within my end of month reviews.

Panic

The second half of the week looked at panic. This is the part that spoke of exposure leading me to start getting over the things that panic me. I have to start one thing at a time. Having a bath to me was the ideal one to start with.

I have no idea why I panic when it comes to having a bath. I used to have them all the time when I was a kid. I haven’t had a traumatic experience in one. I just panic about having a bath.

It’s been easy for me to avoid over the years. We only have a shower now at my parents’ house. Dave’s parents’ have a bath but they also have a shower. Me avoiding again just had showers there too.

Dave loves baths over showers. I know when we get our own place a bath is gonna be one of his main ‘I wants’. Relaxing in a bath, taking time out, does have its appeal. I just have to get over the panic part.

As it has been a month since the session on week 3. I have started my goal towards having a bath. I’m just not at the point where my panic is totally gone before I can think about relaxing in one.

I did learn that there were three types of panic attacks. This, I didn’t know. I just thought a panic attack was a panic attack. The three types of panic attacks are:

  1. One you predict
  2. One you cannot predict
  3. Night time panic

Me having a bath is definitely one I predict. You may also have figured out I have a fear of spiders if you’ve read other posts of mine. I’m not sure which that one falls under. I know I’ll panic if I see one. But I can’t predict when I’ll see one.

I have had the odd night time panic. Being an anxious, worried and having low moods makes me more susceptible to having panic attacks. Are you?

This week told me that reducing anxiety helps to decrease the chance of having a panic attack. This is what lead me to want to overcome my anxiety and fears.

There are fears that are out of my control. The risk of them happening, the majority of the time, is low. But if I learn to control my behaviours and panic, I should, in theory, be able to control any panic attacks I have in the future.

Breathing is a big part of this. Breathing is always coming up with me. Clearly, I need to take note. Workin on my breathing techniques it is.

Have you exposed yourself to any of your fears?

 

Check up with my Doctor

I went to my doctors yesterday about seeing how I was doing on my anti-depressants. It’s been about 5 weeks now. I’ve blogged about my leg twitches, my headaches and sickness. I’ve been having chest pains too.

All of these I mentioned. He believes they are symptoms of my stress and anxiety. As anxiety, fear and stress are my overpowering issues. He has recommended a self-help book by Christopher Williams: Overcoming Anxiety, Stress and Panic.

My doctor showed me the first edition of the Overcoming Depression book by the same author. It looked good. Has questions and activities to complete. My doctor also said if I have any questions from doing the workbook. I should write them down and book an appointment to see him.

I thought that was really good. He wants to help me get better and answering questions about what I’ve done or don’t understand is something he is willing to do. So far, other doctors, I’ve met, I feel like I couldn’t do that.

They want you in and out as quick as possible. He wants me to come back just to chat if I need it.

Another thing he would like me to do is work on slowing down my breathing. That breathing is going back to haunt me. Think I need to listen. I breathe too fast. Which isn’t helped by stress or anxiety. In turn, causes my headaches and chest pains.

I’ve been working on this today. I’m even doing it now. Breathing in for 3 seconds and then out for 3 seconds. One breath cycle should be 6 seconds; 10 breaths a minute. I can do between 20 and 40 breaths a minute normally.

No wonder I feel panicked all the time. I noticed I feel a little calmer after a few minutes of breathing slowly. Unfortunately, I go back to my fast breathing if I’m not being mindful of it.

A new goal. It’s been a while since I made one of those. 

Goal: Slow my breathing down to 10 breaths a minute

It may be hard in the long run but hopefully having the foal will mean I practice the breathing techniques. Having the sense of relaxation would be a bonus.

Right Film. Right Time.

It may only be October but I do love a good Christmas film. The one I’ve just finished watching ‘A Wish for Christmas’ was just what I needed. I felt connected to it. Not realising before I watched it; it’s to do with courage.

Just exactly the right type of courage I needed to see. Standing up for yourself. Staying true to your values. Being open and honest.

I can do this. I can.

One of those days

It’s been one of those days. I had dreamt of a customer medication I’d been to at the beginning of the week. I woke an hour and a half before my alarm. Wide awake. Waking up with a concern about the same customer’s medication running in my head.

Usually writing things down allows me to go back to sleep. Unfortunately, I couldn’t. Being too early I couldn’t ring my supervisor to report the concern. A while later at my first customer, I got a call cancelling my second.

I got to go home early but only worked an hour today. I got on with my day.

Around lunchtime, I got the sad news that my main customer past away. Definitely knocked me out of my hyperactive mindset. This was a hard moment. Thankfully, my mum was home. She was able to give me a hug. Plus, the dogs gave me kisses.

Again, after a while, I got on with my day.

Had the embarrassing moment of knocking an ornament off a shelf display in a card shop. Right at the front of the store by the tills. Everyone saw. Thankfully the staff were nice and I didn’t have to pay for it.

I was so glad when Dave (my other half) and I got to my dads’ house. We sat, relaxed and had a catch-up. I do feel more open with my dad since his Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. I feel he’s more open with me too.

Pep Talk

I can do this. I can do this.

This is what I’ve been chanting to myself every so often when I start to feel my fear, anxiety or that dark cloud over my head. I did that today before my activation challenge for The Courage Council.

Making a recording of a pep talk to myself conversing with fear. The another to my friend in need. I’m not a fan of the sound of my own voice on recordings. Once I did complete them I cringed at the playbacks.

It took me a few stop and deletes before I wrote down what I was gonna say. Read off it when recording. I can get very tongue-tied when nervous. But I did both and sent my friend their pep talk.

I was proud of myself for doing it as previously I would have skipped these challenges. When I got a reply from my friend. He said it meant a lot. That made me smile.

Keep chanting and hopefully, my mindset will change fully in the future.

Here you go as promised my pep talk to myself. Hope this works. Please tell me if not:

Here is the transcript for those who don’t want to listen or don’t understand me or it doesn’t work:

“Fear, you and I need to talk.

You’ve been in the front seat now for too long. It’s time you hop on into the back and buckle up.

I’m in control now. I understand I need you. But we need some ground rules. Myself, my desires and creativity get a vote. When I believe you need to have a say I’ll ask.

Until such time, creativity, desires and I need to take charge. Get to where we what to go. I need to show that I am the capable, strong woman that I am. Not just to all of us in this car but the whole world.

You got that? Right, let’s go!”