Anxiety and Me

(photos Lauren Jayne Hall)

A couple of days before the start of the year we were having a big 'ol clean out. We aren't they tidiest of people and with Christmas over we were all feeling like we needed to be a bit more minimalist (ha!). I started to feel a little short of breath a couple of hours into the clean and joked to Tom it was all the dust. Then shortly after I was walking along the landing and suddenly felt myself blacking out. Mabli was with me and Tom was downstairs and I shouted to him that I was fainting, I managed to get to the bedroom and lay down and the room was spinning and my hands and feet were tinging. I'd never felt faint like that before and was so so scared.

As I was trying to grasp back consciousness I felt like I was floating out of my body, I was panicking and couldn't breath. My arms and legs went dead so I couldn't move and I felt like any moment I would just see black and it would be the end of me. It sounds SO dramatic I know but I honestly thought I was taking my last breaths. The kids were on the bed with me and Tom was saying 'you're not dying' as I was grasping for air and begging him to call 999.

I've had panic attacks before but never been so sure that it wasn't a panic attack, never been so sure I was literally dying, like 100% sure that was the last time I'd look at my kids sure. After about 20 minute I could breath better, feeling came back into the limbs but I still felt like I was on the verge of passing out almost constantly. I was sobbing and shaking and eventually fell asleep (after being fed chocolate and tea). I spent the whole afternoon calming myself down mentally and after a night of normal sleep felt like tomorrow was another day. Apart from as soon as I walked downstairs there was the tingle in my hands, I couldn't hold the toy Mabli had passed me as my hands stopped working, I was losing breath again..little occurrences like this happened for the next two days although they didn't develop into a panic attack. I spoke to 111 on the phone and cried through the lovely lady assuring me it was anxiety and promised to get blood tests at the Dr's as soon as I could.

I held on to the option of blood tests because I was certain that this wasn't anxiety, it wasn't in my head I must be deficient in something. I wasn't even feeling stressed before it happened.

I downloaded the Mindfullness app and clung on to it as a lifesaver, running to the bedroom to slow my breath down when I felt it was approaching again. The day before my appointment I felt like my tongue was swelling in my mouth, that I had to think so so carefully to imagine it not swelling it was the only thing from it blocking my airways. I was certain they would find something wrong that they could fix with a supplement.

So when they didn't I was crushed. I don't want this to be in my head. I spent a whole week exhausted from mentally trying to stop myself fainting and hyperventilating and the idea of that being my life was too much. Thankfully I've found a few things that have really helped and since then I'm only finding myself feeling anxious about 20% of the week. I'm hoping to cut that number down a lot!

So here's a list of the things I think helped in an emergency. Obviously with anxiety you're going to need to work on those long term goals and if I'm honest with you I feel frustrated about that because I just want my brain to be chilled without me putting the work in, ha! When I really think about it my worklife last year was a bit intense, I basically gave myself very little downtime and let things overwhelm me a lot. Anyway I'll get to that..

Mindfulness app - I've got to admit I keep missing days but the three days in a row I used it during the worst times were literally a life line.

CBT oil - I'm using this daily and do think it's helping

Reading - I know I need to switch my brain off and even if I think I don't have time for it I know I need it.

Supplements - Although my bloods came back fine I'm making sure I'm also taking supplements just incase (especially on a plant based diet).

Decluttering - This one takes sometimes and we've not perfected it but we have really stepped up creating spaces in our home that are more calm and clutter free that definitely helps me.

Longterm -

One of my long term things I started this year is getting a life coach. I'm not recommending everyone should (or is able) to do that same but what I've learnt already is that I have values that make me me and if I don't meet them then I'm thrown off kilter. So for me I am a homebody, I need to not be socialising or traveling too much or if I do I need a day or two afterwards to recharge. I need to feel safe and secure and I need to feel like I'm doing something creative. When I think of those core values I know if I'm feeling anxious then I rethink what I'm doing and maybe change up a few things.

I'm also thinking about seeing someone about my anxiety in general to learn coping techniques and also to get down the root of why I'm feeling this way I guess.

Taking a yoga class. Genuinely think this will help just need the motivation to get myself there!

Less caffeine / Eating better - I drank no caffeine for three days after my most anxious but then developed the worst headaches ah! I think a balance is key so I'm down to one coffee..

Think that's it for now! Thanks for indulging me in this slightly different type of post. I had SO much help over on my Instagram when I posted about this so if you are in the same situation then do check out some of the comments here.

Likewise if you have any experiences you'd like to share I'd love to hear them! Thanks again xx


Debdor said...

Anxiety is awful. It can come on suddenly for no apparent reason, and it is very hard to control it, as I have found out to recently, although mine hasn't been anything as bad as yours. The worst thing is it happens to me out of the blue, I can be really enjoying something, a film for instance, and all of a sudden a wave of anxiety can come over me. So far I have been able to cope with it by distracting myself. I think my trigger may be hormonal. I think you are doing the best thing by talking about it, and being proactive, not suffering in silence...

Tigerlilly Quinn said...

Thanks so much Debdor! I find that too, like I'm just going about my day and suddenly it hits me out of the blue, its so strange isn't it! xx

Bryony said...

Oh Fritha, this brought tears to my eyes (blame baby hormones!) remembering that certainty that you're going to die, it's a horrible feeling. I suffered from horrific panic attacks & anxiety disorder in my teens that went on for many years. I still have occasional relapses of anxiety... I think mental health issues always linger in the background and bubble up sometimes even when you think they're resolved, especially at times of being overwhelmed or when you're running on empty, but thankfully I haven't had such an intense panic attack for around a decade. For me the nail in the coffin for the panic attacks and really being able to have control over them was cognitive behavioural therapy - once you understand triggers and why you may be feeling that way, but most importantly fully understand the physical mechanics behind the stress response in your body it really helps to stall the anxiety as your brain essentially tells you that what you're experiencing is a normal stress response and so immediately starts easing the symptoms instead of letting them escalate into a terrifying experience. 'Talking yourself down' from the height of it becomes easier and easier. Hope that makes sense!

Jojo said...

Fritha, a great therapist I see in Long Ashton pointed me in the direction of this...for ages I used it especially first thing in the morning and thereafter... just whenever.


Tigerlilly Quinn said...

Thank you so much Jojo! I will check that out! x

Tigerlilly Quinn said...

Thank you so much Bryony and sorry to make you cry! haha I'm like that all the time and I don't have baby hormones ;) that makes total sense and I really think CBT would help a lot I'm going to look into it xxx

melissa said...

This was hard to read. I too have always wished there was some simple answer to what was happening to my body (depression and crippling exhaustion) and the doctors couldn't find anything and I was crushed. I'm glad you are able to find ways to calm it down and keep it at bay, it's such a monster isn't it? Like having a basilisk living in your brain and you never know when it will strike. I'm sorry you were feeling like you were going to die. Isn't it odd how terrible a fear that is now that kids are in the picture? I never thought nor feared death before my son, now it haunts me hourly.
Sorry this is a rambly response. All in all I just wanted to say that I am glad you are finding ways that work, and also CBD oil is amazing. I started taking it a few months ago and it really helped with my exhaustion. Hopefully the clouds will continue to clear and things will start to feel better.

Richard Majece said...

It was a kind of homework for us to make a clean up. And even know that you can read this in order to find out who was the founder of homework.

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