I've always thought of myself as pretty emotionally stable. Whenever I have read or heard about people suffering with depression or stress or anxiety I always wondered how they had got to that place as I always thought that mental health was a choice. I thought that you could choose to be positive about whatever it was that was causing the issue or you could wallow in it and let it consume you. I have realised in the past few weeks that in fact neither of these points are true. I am feeling less emotionally stable by the day and NO amount of positivity or good thoughts seems to be stopping it.
I think that the first time I ever really experienced anxiety was when I was about 12. I can't remember the circumstances surrounding it but I remember sitting on my bed at home and my hands going tingly and numb. Then it was my feet...I had horrendous pins and needles and couldn't stand up. The tingling was even in my lips and I felt that I couldn't talk. The worse part was that I couldn't breath out. I felt that I could only keep breathing in and my body wouldn't let me push the air out of my lungs and it felt like they were going to explode. I remember thinking that I was going to die and it was damn scary. Luckily for me, my mum was there and she got medical advice and it came to light that I wasn't dying but I was having a panic attack. Mum and I learnt that to help control them I needed to breath in and out slowly into a paper bag and that it was the imbalance of oxygen to carbon dioxide that causes all of the numbness and tingling.
These attacks carried on through my teen years but as I got older I started to recognise the signs and was able to act quickly to prevent them from happening. That wasn't always the case though. If I'd had a really bad panic attack I would end up passing out. Doctors said that it was my body's way of resetting itself and trying to regulate my breathing so we learnt that if it happened then just let it happen but make sure I calm the hell down when I come too otherwise it would be a vicious circle. The attacks lessened as I got older but they were still happening even 4/5 years ago when hubby and I were living together. He's become a pro over the years at learning to deal with them and it makes it less scary knowing that he knows what to do.
In the last 3 years though I haven't had any panic attacks. I'm not sure why as on paper it would have been the perfect time for all the worry and anxiety to come back. I became a mum, lost 3 loved ones to cancer, we brought a house, we have been through more work upheavals in these past couple of years then ever before but I have managed to stay in control and not let the worrying effect me. I think a huge part of it is my priorities shifting as I am no longer, in my head, important when it comes to worrying. I can't get worried about things and get emotional as I am with bubba and I don't want
I've always thought that worrying could be fixed by either talking about whatever your worrying about or just trying to think rationally and positivity about the subject. I've been trying to do that for so long and I'm now seeing that I have been wrong. Anxiety is like a constant fight. Sometimes I am absolutely fine and think rationally about what ever is worrying me and I beleive myself when I say that worrying about things doesn't change anything and doesn't help. Other times the worry monster in my head argues back and the rational voice gets quieter and quieter until I am left feeling consumed with worry and stress. In those moments I feel a deep ache in the middle of my chest and can feel my breath becoming quicker and my body tensing up as if it knows what is coming. So far I have managed to avoid getting to the point of a panic attack but with the way I have been feeling lately I fear that one isn't far away.
I worry about so many things. I worry about work, I worry about money, I worry about the future, I worry about bubba and his development and health, I worry about hubby... the list is endless and sometimes it's just one of these things and other times it is multiply. I've finally opened up to hubby about how I'm feeling but I think that because on the outside I am usually such an outgoing, happy and confident person I find it so hard to talk about how anxious I really feel. I'm sure that the only reason that I haven't let it consume me yet is because of my little boy. I don't want him to see me stressed, worried and upset. He's 2 and he doesn't need to see that so I suppress it and to be honest a huge squeeze from him makes it all go away for a few moments anyway.
So, for now, I am coping but I am not sure how long I can. For now, I am going to carry on speaking to hubby and carry on trying my hardest to be as positive as I can be. If you have any tips or tricks for helping with anxiety then please do let me know as I would love to hear from you :)