A couple of weeks ago, I put a post up asking for people to fill in a questionnaire for me (seen here). I’m not sure if anyone would be interested but this is the responses from 65 people on their most common symptoms – remember you are not alone in this!
Tag Archives: anxiety
On Thursday I met with my care coordinator (cc) to begin a program of graded exposure. This basically means that in order to build up my confidence in going out in public in the day, we were going to start doing exactly that.
My cc thought that I had too many psychological blocks on going out near me and so we decided to meet in a local park’s car park when we thought it would be relatively quiet. The plan was to see how I was and maybe go for a walk around the park.
It didn’t quite go to plan. By the time Thursday came along I’d turned myself into a nervous wreck. I hadn’t slept at all the previous night and felt close to calling the whole thing off, but I didn’t. I met with her and we essentially spent 45 mins stood next to my car as I was too on edge to move any further. I spent the whole time looking around and making sure I knew where everything was, and if any people (thankfully few) came along, I followed their every move to make sure I was ok.
By the time I got home I was drained, both mentally and physically and wanted nothing more than to sleep, but the adrenalin had kicked in and that was the last thing my body allowed me to do. I was positive though, it was a step forward, a very small one, but in the right direction and my cc had been pleased with me for the amount of time we managed.
That night I thought I’d sleep, but again it felt like my body was on high alert and wouldn’t let me relax enough to close my eyes. I could kind of understand this, but I didn’t expect it to last as long as it did. In the night I had a huge wobble. I cried, a lot! I wondered if this was it, was this all I was going to be capable of? Standing by my car for 45 mins and then spending the next 24 hours recovering from it!
On Friday I decided I needed to be kind to myself. In my old life getting so worked up over something so tiny would have been pathetic, but this isn’t my old life and what I did wasn’t tiny. So I spent the day watching tv and snuggled under my duvet (not in bed though!).
And then today hit. In PTSD, anger is one of the symptoms and I’ve seen flashes of that in me and I really don’t like it. However, it’s one of the things I do keep in check for the majority of the time. But today, I’ve got this deep down, in the stomach, kind of burning anger. I can’t really describe it better than that. I’ve kept away from people on purpose as I know I’d lose it at the tiniest of things. As the day has gone on, I’ve tried all my known strategies and yet still I feel very much on the edge – this is something new!
And so it begs the question; why have all these emotions come to the fore? Is it because I’m trying to move forward and this is bound to happen? Am I finally feeling anger because of what I went through or is it anger at not being the ‘old’ me and not being able to do the simplest of tasks? I’m not too sure at the moment but I don’t like this side of me one bit!
Normally, sitting around my apartment, I would say my anxiety level is about a 2/10. I feel safe in here and unless I need to do something that I struggle with, the level is relatively low.
When I go out with a worker for graded exposure work, my anxiety about going out usually raises to about a 7/10 and by the time I get back to my home, is around a 5/10. It then slowly drops over about an hour until I’m back around the 2/10 level.
The reason I’m mentioning this is to give a baseline of where my emotions usually are and where they are now. With my impending trip to America, I have felt my anxiety creeping up and up as the date comes closer (only 9 days away now!).
On Thursday night, I took a call from my remaining client (my main income) who told me they needed me to start going in to their office one day a week. My initial response was to say ok (I have this problem saying no, even when it’s screaming at me as the only answer!). So because I agreed, I then had to call back and say I’m sorry but it’s just not possible. Bear in mind, this is a client. They never want to know about anything personal going on, it’s business and I’ve separated my life in exactly that way. When I was in hospital, I worked so they didn’t know any different and think that’s the way it should be.
However, I needed to now explain why I couldn’t drive for an hour and sit in a busy office (shared with other companies) without it making me sound like I wasn’t capable of any work. Last year when I first started to feel things were getting bad and I went to my GP, I also decided to take 2 weeks off. Naively, I thought that’s all I would need and things would be ok again and so I arranged to meet with this client to say I wouldn’t be available and handover anything that was needed. During this meeting they essentially told me that if I took the 2 weeks then they would have to get someone else in and I’d lose the contract. From that moment on, I knew I could never be open about it all with them.
Bearing that in mind, I knew that I had to explain myself as to why I couldn’t go to their office. I told him about my social anxiety and how I’m trying to overcome it, but that I have to put myself first. As expected it didn’t go down very well – his response “that’s a load of bullshit, you’re going to America in a few days” (of which by the way, I’ll still be working over there!!). I tried to keep calm and explain that I had been working hard to allow me to go to America and that my family are waiting at the other end and that’s a huge motivator.
He basically said that he’d have to speak to his business partner because that’s the role they have and if I can’t fulfil it then they’d have to get someone else in!!
So back to my anxiety levels. Normally I’d be a 2/10 and something like this would take me to a 5 or 6/10. However, because of America my starting level is about a 6/10 and this raised it to 8/10. I struggled through thurs night, I wanted to speak to someone but couldn’t pick up the phone as I was already too anxious. I waited until Friday morning and called to speak to my cc. She wasn’t in, so I spoke to duty. I just wanted someone to say my reaction was normal but they were too intent on telling me to distract myself. This wasn’t a time when I needed distraction, I needed to talk. After being told to make a piece of toast and a cup of tea (I don’t drink tea!), I said I was fine and left it there.
I guess what I’m trying to say in this really long winded post is that because my baseline of anxiety is quite high, any little thing is currently throwing my emotions in to turmoil. Like the fact that my GP has designated my prescription to one pharmacy and so because I couldn’t get there yesterday to collect, I’ve got to wait until Wednesday to get my meds. So now my anxiety is high, I’ve no medication to help and I might be out of work. Can you see why I felt my only option was to just get drunk and try and forget all about my emotions!!!