It happened, the thing I have written about here before, my biggest fear, the anxiety came back.
This time it wore a different cloak and a couple of times really scared the bejesus out of me. The thing is, that for the first time I actually saw it coming, sneaking around in my thoughts, wafting its dark cloak in the shadows of my thoughts. I thought “ah well if I see it coming then I can do something about it” and I really tried!
After living with anxiety for as long as I can remember, I have built and arsenal of weapons in my castle to defeat the beast. I know that I need to get plenty of rest and time away from my work, to let my brain process everything. I need to factor in PJ days, to watch bad TV or curl up with a book, just to defrag my brain. I need to keep order and schedule to things – the worse my anxiety gets the more stuff I forget which adds to the anxiety. I need my friends around me to offload too and I need some space on my own to manage everything – but that needs balance too. If I have too much on my own time I could basically become a hermit and too much friends and the whole ‘not getting relaxation time in’ becomes an issue. I also need to exercise, be that in the gym or a dance class, a long walk in the fresh air, even the occasional run.
The big problem this time was that I had all this weaponary but the walls of my castle (my real life) were no longer strong. I couldn’t use the weapons to the best of my ability, I tried to fight and managed ok but then the walls we breached and again I was over run by The Crazies.
The Crazies were a bit different this time – they usually are. Slightly different symptoms with every flare up. This time I had a bit of mania (that was particularly scary) and the sensory overload was almost daily. This was all alongside the usual hyper-sensitivity to everything my body was doing and the obessive overthinking.
So what caused my castle to collapse – well a multitude of things really. It has been a really crazy year it started on 7th January when we got an offer on a house and I was offered a great freelance job to supplement my part time Project Manager role. So we found a house, packed and moved all in two months. Meanwhile my elderly Grandfather became increasingly frail. A lot of the early summer was spent peppered with weekends visiting him and family until he passed away in July. Meanwhile my work was getting increasingly busy and as I wasn’t working at the weekends, my freelance work was piling up. There was little time for exercise so that was really sporadic and then no lovely endorphins to perk me up. The enemy was in sight and there was nothing I could do to stop it. At the end of July I had an exhausting morning of repeated panic attacks – my defences had been overwhelmed.
Since then there have been periods of up and down, times when I was managing fine and times where the panic just sat rising. Even when we finally managed to get some time away to relax, The Crazies were still there. Sometimes I’d get a bit of respite and a few days of quiet brain but then they came back.
Then last weekend we went off to Budapest and had a lovely weekend, I flew back to the UK on my own and I managed, and The Crazies stayed away. Although this week at work has been stressful, I can’t see that dark cloak at edge of my thoughts. I went to a gig last night with a pal as my partner was poorly and there was not an anxious thought the whole time. I woke up this morning and for the first time in months I feel creative, I want to write, I want to read again and I feel the walls of my castle re-building.
So I thought I’d write and tell you all about it.
A huge thankyou to everyone who has helped me through the last year, even if you didn’t realise you were doing it.