Anxiety – The Joy Sucking Vampire

Someone needs eye drops.

THINGS ARE LOOKING GOOD.

Married to a man I adore, two (on the whole) OK children, and living here, I am content.

Some weeks are harder than others, but the laughter is more frequent than not. There is an exciting new project on the go and some plans to help my writing. All progress on the path of self-fulfilment.

But hanging around like a bad smell, threatening to throw me off course, is my old foe, Anxiety.

Heart-racing, palm-sweating, breath-stopping anxiety.

Sucking the joy out of life, like a fucking vampire.

Along with his friend Panic Attack, both of them can …yes. That.

I am what is known as a  ‘born worrier’ (an insecure childhood will make you anxious that’s for sure) and have carried that throughout my life.

Then we had children. God knows every parent worries. For us though, our intense experiences were more than just the average concerns about sleep and potty training .

BW had seizures on average every 6 weeks between 12 and 24 months. We would hear the noise in the night, in his sleep. The sound of him choking.

There were too many high-speed ambulance journeys, too many nights sleeping in hospital chairs next to his cot. We got to know the paramedics by their first names.

He was finally diagnosed with epilepsy at 2 and medicated shortly afterwards. The seizures stopped and we relaxed enough to allow babysitters to come so we could go out together (we’d been too terrified before).

But that didn’t stop me from keeping a baby monitor in his room until he was 7.

A few years later, after a spell of enormous stress,  TS had 4 seizures in 2 hours. I’d seen enough seizures with BW not to panic, but my mind was racing through the possible causes – brain tumour, cancer, he was dying? No. It was epilepsy.

For him, that meant meds and no driving for 12 months and for me,  being too terrified to leave him  alone with our children. You can imagine the scenarios that went through my mind, can’t you?

BW’s Asperger’s diagnosis was probably the final twist in our family story that my anxiety needed.  The worry that goes with parenting a child with special needs is unfathomable. I have no idea what each day will bring, let alone what sort of future he has.

Now my body doesn’t know how to function unless it is in fight or flight mode.

I am an adrenaline junkie.

Cold Turkey isn’t an option.

Medication, space to contemplate and relax, good friends and gin help.

I can manage.

Some weeks better than others.

But I need to kick the habit.

Do you suffer from anxiety? What helps you?

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22 thoughts on “Anxiety – The Joy Sucking Vampire

  1. As you know, anxiety and I are old bed fellows. She’s a bitch. I’m slowly getting on the other side of this last bout of claw clutched around my throat. But the fatigue… Fuck me. When your body is flooded with cortisol it takes a bloody great nose dive, and I fall, nearly literally, flat on my face. Then that annoying voice in my head, the one that says FFS Vicky it’s not cancer, get over yourself, starts. Which really isn’t terribly helpful.

    When my anxiety is ramped, like it has been for the last few months, I have had the problem long enough to recognise that I need help, so I do the things that I know I need to do to so that I don’t end up rocketing into outer space. When anxiety is at its worse for me, I disassociate. Life long learnt survival mechanism. But one I don’t like. So I take myself off to my doctor, book an appointment with my counsellor, and do what ever they recommend.

    This time round it’s been taking 1/2 5mg tab of Valium 3 times a day. I’ve not had to take it three times a day for a couple of weeks, so that’s a good sign. The other thing that I do, is EFT. My counsellor taught it to me several years ago, and it’s the one thing that has stopped on a number of occasions me from landing in full blown panic attack mode.

    Something that I fully consciously started practising this year is mindfulness. I stop and take notice of what my physical body is doing. Leg tapping, body tense ready to spring, breathing shallowly, shoulders up around my ears, mind racing, jumping from one task to the next, and forgetting what i was doing… I take 5 minutes to adjust those things – drop my shoulders, take slow deep breathes, focus on something that is amazing. When I lived on the hill, that required me just looking out my window. Now that I have moved, I haven’t found something to focus on yet.

    This time of year is a trigger for me, my cellular body remembers, before my brain goes Aha… That’s right. Each year I get better at recognising the signs quicker. I have some good friends around me that gently remind me as well.

    Jesus, haven’t I rambled on? My biggest help – is my own self care. Because if I don’t take care of myself first, then I am fucking no good to anyone.

    You know what also helps? Knowing that their are others who “get it”. Without any explanation, they understand, they can fill in the blanks, don’t require lengthy explanations, and are empathetic, and don’t look at me with pity, but understanding. That helps. Hugely.

    Love light strength lovely. You are not alone.

    Xxx

  2. My anxiety started after my dad died. I started having panic attacks, feeling like I was having a heart attack (how he died, only 61 years old). A few months later we lost my uncle (dementia/parkinsons/other issues). He was 62. I really felt like death was all around me, and I was terrified I would be next. Or my husband or son would be. Anxiety for me seems to be triggered by fear of the unknown or of not having any control. My 2 biggest issues recently have been going under general anesthetic and now flying is the worst fear I have ever had, even though I’ve flown all over the world. It’s paralyzing and I hate hate hate it.

  3. For me the first thing was medication to help me sleep. Getting a good night of sleep every night made a huge difference. Then there was a good shrink. She taught me to recognise the signs and be able to relax. It took a long time, but it helped, it worked wonders.
    I know the times of the year that are going to be worse for me, and I manage myself as best I can, being mindful helps, which I learnt through some visits to a local Buddhist temple for some meditation classes.
    And yes, knowing other people felt this way helped, as did knowing I could change the way I felt with the help of others.

    xxx

    • Yes, I think you are right. My sleep has been patchy for weeks, which def doesn’t help. Off to get some melatonin today and I’d been thinking about meditation classes anyway. Thanks for reading and commenting x

  4. We try to keep a low stimulus environment for the boys anyway, but I keep away from popular media.. NO TV too stressful. Meds, psych, exercise, planting plants and being outside… dodging my mother, when I get in a yucky spot with the kids sometimes I just stop and be silly and tickle them… sometimes its not fucking worth it. Matt also gives me lots of feedback “a bit latter on you might feel sad, but it’s because the adrenalin is leaving your body…”
    oxox

  5. Thanks for sharing, CC.

    I can only imagine the strength you’ve needed to get through dealing with these things.

    I hope that you can gain some comfort from knowing there are others out here who are willing you on to an anxiety-free existence.

    Maybe we can compare notes on some fine gins one day…

  6. Oh how I can relate (starting with the childhood-causing born worrier syndrome). Then add to the mix raising a child after losing your firstborn. I can’t even imagine how stressful it must have been for you to go through watching your children suffer seizures. My heart goes out to you.

    What has helped? After my girl died, I fell into a ‘heal the healer’ course, of sorts, and really delved into learning to understand *me* and not worry so much about all the things (and people) and words in this world that could potentially cause so much harm to me. It has worked and helped beyond any measure. Well… except if you count an intact sanity and now, thankfully, an ability to even walk with others as they go on their journeys as a measure, that is.

    (by the way, this is my first visit to your blog, I hope you don’t mind? I came here via your comment on Naomi’s blog)

    • Oh Kirrily, I’ve visited your blog and read your story. Heartbreaking doesn’t even cover it x so amazing that you can walk the walk with others now.
      I would love to be in a position to help people in my position and have done a few courses. Right now, I’m trying to focus on getting myself where I need to be.
      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts x

  7. That us enough to heighten anyone’s anxiety you poor thing! What a lot to deal with. It seems trite, but I find my anxiety is less enveloping when I’m taking care of myself: sleep, healthy eating and exercise. I know it’s not the answer for everyone, but I notice a change

  8. Anxiety and panic attacks are total pricks. Learning to say no, physical exercise and avoiding negative shit has helped (I sound a bit like Neil from The Young Ones there, sorry!). You’ve had a rough time of it love, you deserve some contentment without anxiety sniffing around xx

  9. after my daughter was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, trichotillimania (pulling hair out and eating it! and doesn’t having a half-bald daughter makes you feel like MOTY?) we attended counselling and it dawned on me, all my life, anxiety … i am the goddess of catastrophising, to the point i have had to pull over in my car and wipe the image of the crash that never happened from my mind.
    lying down helps, but is not particularly practical … like Vicky says, noticing my body’s response is key to heading off an anxiety attack. and like Naomi, getting as much sleep as possible. i am a big fan of complementary medicine and recommend Schuesslers Tissue Salts, Rescue Remedy and its sister, Rescue Remedy Sleep. this got me through a year of watching my brother die. right now i am on Zoloft till i can get counselling to help me untangle my crazy emotional responses …
    in short, you are not alone! keep asking for help and cutting yourself some slack. i love Hannah’s tickling therapy too. xt

  10. Stumbled across your site from Twitter. Love your work, share some of your pain. I have an ADHD son who is a teenager and gives me so much pleasure and a lot of grey hair. He has anxiety and I suffer mildly. The crazy sh*t life deals out sometimes makes you stop in your tracks and think why me? But I wouldn’t change anything. It’s all part of growth and learning.

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