On Anxiety

Hard to start writing today……………….at least here….in this ‘real-writing’ place. Another label looms. Another word.

 

I know you. We’ve met before.

You are the space between the words, you are the unsent emails, texts and letters

You jump into my eyes and through my nose, clawing your way down my throat and over my heart.

You leap out of love filled messages, invitations, inclusions, p.l.a.n.s,

You are in email threads full of happiness and excitement

You stalk through crowded rooms and slap me in the face, so hard my nose bleeds

You stroke my hair as I sit on this sofa now. You whisper; Alone. Safe. Alone. Safe…… Alone is safe.

You make me sick. You sink  my feet into concrete shoes and pour boiling oil down my spine.

You prickle the back of my eyes till they water. You spin ice cubes in a glass. You twirl my hair and play with a silent phone just to ‘look-busy’.

You keep me in the same place. You suffocate me and spin me out till all I see is black.

Image credit: Beethy on DeviantArt

Image credit: Beethy on DeviantArt

You whisper that you are my friend, that I deserve this, that it’s better, that there’s no point that I’m not-one-of-them,

you’re wrong you’re wrong I am I know I am……….aren’t I…..where have I gone?

You snake an arm around my shoulders and the world zones out, hard lines blurr and I can’t hear what you’re saying

Frustration and Anger pale into insignificance compared to the rage I feel when I see you.

I’ve beaten you before, so I don’t know why you’re back now.

Image credit: Hito76 on Deviant Art

Image credit: Hito76 on Deviant Art

I know you’re just anxiety. I know you’re  just fear of fear. But still you are here. I know it. So why don’t you leave me alone?

You’re in every invite, every party, every event. Not in my house, not with my family. You’re slimy claws haven’t scraped in there just yet.

But everywhere else, on the bus, in a shop, at meals and friends houses you churn up my stomach and make my heart ache.

I know I’ve lost you before. I can loose you again. I can and I am.

Exposing you is a start.

Today I’ll hold on to that and let go of you.

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”  ~Pema Chödrön, from her book, "The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times."

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
~Pema Chödrön, from her book, “The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times.”

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Triggers

Epilepsy is scary. It’s terrifying. That is a fact. Most people I’ve met seem to comprehend that. It is taken as red. Seizures are scary. Of course. Claro que si. Definitely. Understandable…..

It would be a massive understatement to say that people do not realise how difficult it is for me to talk about epilepsy. How the words seizure, fit, convulsion, screech through my brain with a violence more shocking than anything in X-rated films. How much of an effort no I dont mind talking about it, it’s OK what do you want to know? really is. I always mind. I mind SO much it hurts, but what I would mind even more is seeing pain on a persons face if they ever knew this. So I cope. I force a smile and I answer questions and each time a piece of my heart falls into an abyss and I can’t follow.

epilepsy awareness

I learnt something new recently. That for me and I suspect for others with epilepsy too my epilepsy triggers are just as scary as seizures… Even though I’m on meds which ‘work’ and unlikely to go into a grand-mal I am afraid. Everyone is different. My epilepsy is usually, but not always triggered by; STRESS, particularly lack of sleep and low blood sugar. When I run into a trigger I now see that my initial response is fear, cold dread, rapidly followed by panic and this gets turned into anger and then round I go.

Via EpilepsyFoundationFL

Via EpilepsyFoundationFL

In the very early hours of this morning I hit a trigger. I was woken by music suddenly blasting through the flat. My head spun. Sleep, sleep, sleep. I need to sleep, I must sleep, or else….or else… I thought it was a car. I rolled over trying to ignore it, it continued. The base rattled the window glass and vibrated the bed. By now I was wide awake and furious, it was 3am…..prime seizure-alert-time, prime-panic-time… I got out of bed and realised it was our neighbour. Rubbing sleep away, barefoot, heart pounding in my ears I crossed the garden to his front-door. It was so loud the door was rattling. I knocked on the door. After what seemed an eternity, he opened it apologised and turned it down. I felt sick and cold. Holding back the tears I stumbled back to bed, muddy feet on the  clean sheets. Sleep found me at last.

epi

I woke up in the dawn light. Something was wrong. I hurt. In a new way, what now TMS I thought? I looked at my hand. It is swollen and bruised across the knuckles and along the palm….I had knocked on the neighbours door so hard in the night that I have hurt myself, at the time I felt nothing, but now………I am shocked and appalled. Terrified that I did this to myself, took it out on his door, because he woke me up?! WTF WTF WTF

fear

If there is a rabbit hole and Alice is in it then I have surely joined her and have totally lost my mind…… I can’t cry I am numbed by this. A trigger. Just a trigger not even a seizure has injured me…………….WTF?

The wine in the fridge is calling to me. A duvet and darkness are what I want. Instead I choose these:

choose

I choose a zumba class and a hot shower. I choose to know that I am not alone. That others know how this feels. I know you are there and that helps. I choose to know I AM FINE and OK. I am loved and I DO LOVE. I am not bad.

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I should win an oscar

An old friend appeared last night. Someone I hoped I’d never encounter again and yet there they were. Summoned by a single word used in casual conversation, a word so simple and uncomplicated, it’s three little syllables flow together giving it an air of onomatopoeia. I like the word. It’s just a word, a beautiful one even and yet, for me it had the power last night to trigger a call to this friend. The word? Convulsion. The friend? Panic.

not calm

Appearing from thin air at the restaurant table, they gripped my throat and squeezed tight. The world closed in; convulsion, convulsion, convulsion, convulsion, convulsion, convulsion, convulsion, convulsion…. I was underwater, the glasses clinked and my eyes glazed over. Pins and needles attacked my feet and hands, sweat prickled and dripped down the back of my shirt…. and SMILE and FINE and LOOK AT PEOPLES EYES and DON’T LET ANYONE KNOW (the irony of now blogging it out) I am SO GOOD at not showing it. I should win a bloody Oscar.

Via Brandi Lynn

Via Brandi Lynn

Look at the phone…what to do what to do what to do help help help………..oh god don’t cry……..leave me alone! And breath, just go to that famous place of sanctuary where every-woman heads in moments of crisis the safety zone of THE TOILET! But horror…it’s tiny and subzero and has no phone reception so unless I want to freeze to death I have to return. Can’t leave food is here. Don’t want to leave. What’s that? Can’t follow the conversation, feel sick. Time seems to stand still. Mr. Panic locks my spine in place and keeps my eyelids open. Subtly look at the time………try and breath….. was that a joke? laugh just incase……………………..

via Mary Williams

via Mary Williams

In a crowded room full of love, laughter, inclusion and friendship Mr.Panic makes me feel like a penguin in the Sahara Desert; lonely, hot and ridiculous! The bill is done and I summon my knight-in-shining-white-suzuki-ignis. It was raining which seemed appropriate as on entering the car I then proceed to do my bit to increase flooding in the UK. I sob until Mr Panic is forced to abandon his flood defences and flee for the hills….

by leannskach on Flickr

by leannskach on Flickr

There was a time I knew him very well. A time before I’d met Mr. Pain. I’m sure they’re buddies Pain & Panic. I’ve beaten Mr. Panic before. So this time I know I can again. He caught me off guard that’s all…I hoped he’d gone but perhaps he’s always there, camped by my ears, ready to jump in.

Via Esther Smith

Via Esther Smith

For now I simply want to feel the gratitude for this new day, for my knight-in-shining-white-suzuki-ignis whose patience knows no bounds and for all the other  people who know Mr.Panic too; I feel you, I really do.

Now I'm off to meditate

Now I’m off to meditate

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Set Backs

Yesterday was a good day, infact most of the week has been good it has been easier to be positive. That was until out of the blue last night around 6pm things started to go downhill. I developed a constant deep ache on my right side, sciatica down my right leg and then shooting pains around my pelvis, hip and through my pelvic floor muscles, I filt sick and dizzy, my brow beaded with sweat.

I had to be helped up stairs, helped to get into bed, helped to go to the loo…. It was exhausting and terrifying. How am I supposed to know if this is normal for spinal injuries? I am trying so hard, but the fact is it’s pretty terrifying. I cried that I wanted Valium. I am SO tired of this. I just want it to stop. I haven’t walked more than half a km in over two months, I haven’t been anywhere except Doctors on my own for over two months! Surrounded by hot water bottles, I sung childrens songs I know to distract myself, did breathing excersises, Juan sung a Krishna chant to me as tears rolled down both our faces. I recited the names of all the gods and goddesses I can think of, visualised myself at Bantham. Slowly it started to work, the spasms lessened, my breathing eased, I didn’t take valium. Finally, with the help of rescue remedy, Neals Yard Relaxation oils, ibuprofen and paracetamol sleep found me. Today is better than last night, but I am weakened, I ache alot more and the excersises which have been so relieving are not so today. This morning I sent an email to my wonderful physio, who despite it being bank-holiday emailed me straight back with a message full of reassurance, which is largely all I needed. I am proud I haven’t succumed to drugged numbness and proud that I am smiling and laughing with my husband today.

Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege!! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures, followed by wreckage, were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes. -Joseph Campbell

Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege!! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures, followed by wreckage, were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes. -Joseph Campbell

 

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