Sunday 24 September 2023

Beating Anxiety One Step At A Time


I have been very open and honest about my battle with agoraphobia and anxiety. The last couple of years have been bad but this last year has been the worst, I have missed major family events and have let a lot of people down. Yes I know it is not my fault but it annoys me that I didn't fight harder to be there, This year I have made changes and they are slowly starting to work.

Perimenopause has played its part in my anxiety, mainly health anxiety but the pandemic has also had an impact on my mental health.  I'm not scared of Covid (I have had it) but I think having to stay in for months on end has fed into my fears.  The pandemic has impacted all our lives in one way or another and there has been a massive increase in people seeking help for their mental health.

In April of this year, I was finally prescribed HRT and this was a massive turning point for me.  I felt listened to by a healthcare provider for the first time since my symptoms started. No judgement, no being told I was too young. It was a massive weight off my shoulders and my mood massively shifted.

In May I ended up in hospital for 5 days with a high temperature and heart rate.  We still have no idea what the cause was so it was put down to still having the covid virus in my system (we had that the first week of the April holiday) Even with being admitted I didn't feel worried as I knew I was in good hands. Had it been a few months earlier, however, my mood would have been very different, 

As there is as massive waiting list for psychological services at the moment, I referred my self to NHS 24 and breathing space's Living Life initiative. They offer 6 free CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).  This has been very beneficial. We have chatted about what has been going on and we have discussed setting small weekly goals for me to build on and tools to help me deal with anxiety and panic attacks. CBT is a great talking therapy. I have 2 sessions left.

I have been going outside, just around our street, with our dog Belle or just for fresh air but last week I went much further than I have (not including hospital as that is hardly a social call). 

It was my nephew's 2nd birthday party at my parents house last week and it was an event I wanted to attend. 

The day started off well, I didn't feel anxious at all and I thought great, I can do this.  I got ready and that is when the anxiety hit really hard.. I called my mum in tears telling her I couldn't go and that I was sorry. Obviously my family want me to be safe and well and have been incredibly supportive and were supportive in this moment too, My husband and children left for that party and I stayed at home, but something happened. I got my shoes on, grabbed my bag and 5 minutes later I was in a taxi on the way to my parents house,

I didn't tell anyone I was coming, so it was a lovely surprise for them when I turned up. Even though I was a little nervous at first, the party was great.  My nephew had a great time playing with everyone and he loved his presents. I even managed to steal some cuddles too, which isn't easy when he is running riot and having a blast. Seeing my family in person rather than on my screen was amazing. 

That night, and the next day I was absolutely drained but it was worth it.  I was happy that I have achieved my goal, to spend time with my family.  They mean everything to me and to finally have that moment after so long was amazing,

I am aiming to get out once a week. Small steps will lead to bigger results.

Below are some photos showing my battle that day.

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