Here's the thing. As I go about my daily business, I (without meaning to) mentally compile lists of things that I should blog about. And I don't blog about it right away because I always seem to be busy on that particular day, but I tell myself that I will get to it soon. But then the list of things that I have to blog about ends up growing so large that I would never have the time to write a blog post about it all anyway and, of course...
This means that I don't post for weeks on end.
I AM SORRY GUYS. I need to learn to start posting short snippets. It'll be easier that way. (I have been telling myself this for about 7 years now. It's not worked yet. BUT IT WILL WORK THIS TIME. OPTIMISM.)
Here, look at all these things I'm going to be telling you about today.
1. tl;dr My mental health
2. And all the rest of it
tl;dr My mental health
I have been meaning to write about this for ages. I don't bring it up much, because I don't like to be too serious on the internets. (Actually, I don't like to be serious when I'm not on the internets for that matter.) BUT LET'S TRY THIS SERIOUS LARK FOR ONCE, SHALL WE.
You may have heard me mention, briefly, over the past couple of years, that I have been suffering from a bit of a mental health problem. It's not serious serious, but it's not very pleasant either.
In its bare bones, here's what I what I was dealing with:
1. Fear of panic attacks
Look at that last one! OCD! It was a late developer, that one; I only really generated it in the autumn last year. Didn't realise it was OCD at the time though. Who knew?
Anyway, I'm telling you all this because I have good news to report! It turns out that the OCD was pretty much the straw that broke the camel's back. When I realised that I was unable to really do anything without being terrified all the ruddy time, I decided to go to the doctor.
Now, some people had told me to go to the doctor about this before (thanks, Nick!) but it's one of these things that you really have to work yourself up towards. For ages, I was in the mindset of a lot of people. I'd say: I'm going to the doctor about this. And they'd say: Oh, you don't have to do that, surely? As if somehow going to the doctor means it's suddenly serious. As if this is still the 1800s and mental health treatments are all straight-jackets and padded cells and all the mad criminals in Batman.
Luckily, this is the 21st century, and it's not Batman either. Phew.
The way I see it is like this:
If you had a rash, you would go to the doctor to get some cream for it. It's not serious, but it is itchy all the same. And while, if you don't go to the doctor, your limbs are not going to fall off, the rash might spread and get itchier, and who wants to put up with all that when you can easily go to the doctor and just get some cream for it already?
So, I finally decided to go to my doctor to get some (metaphorical) cream for my (metaphorical) rash.
My doctor was really nice about it. He let me explain the symptoms, and then, instead of pressuring me into anything, he sat back and said: So, what do you want?
And I said: I don't want drugs, but I do want to talk to someone. So he referred me onto a local mental health team.
MY TREATMENT HAD BEGUN :D
So, what happened from there, was that I got some treatment in the form of a lovely lady called Alison who phoned me every week. I told her my story in the initial call, and then she sent me some self-help books based on CBT that were specific to my problems.
These books are wonderful. They set down everything in clear terms, took all my fears and explained them away, one by one. Having something authoritatively spelt out on the page was so reassuring to me.
Of course, while the theory may make perfect sense, it doesn't necessarily mean that you can take it to heart. But the good thing about CBT is that it's built around exercises that you can do to re-train your brain to stop thinking in the same way.
And this is where the phone calls with Alison came in. She'd point out which exercises it would be best for me to try, and then set me tasks so I'd have to do them and report back to her the next week.
The exercises I had to do were all based around exposing myself to the stuff that was scaring me, and while that's hard at first, it gets so much easier as you keep going.
I had my final phonecall with Alison a few weeks ago, and let me tell you, I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER THAN I DID JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO.
MILES AND MILES :D
I'm not 100% yet, but now I have the tools to help me, so I know that if I keep working at it, it'll only be a matter of time before I'm back to my old carefree self.
Words cannot express how wonderful this is. (Rashes are annoying, you know. Even metaphorical ones.)
Wow, that really was tl;dr. SORRY ABOUT THAT.
Here, let me lump the rest of my news together in one category.
And all the rest of it
1. I bought some lovely new sandals a week or so ago. I WILL TAKE A PICTURE OF THEM WHEN I AM WEARING THEM SOMETIME I PROMISE.
2. I have a book token that I need to spend. But what to buy? If you have any suggestions, please feel free to fling them in my direction!
3. I did some volunteering at my old work-place last week. It was great to be able to see everyone again.
4. Why am I eagerly watching the new series of Dr Who? I never used to be a Dr Who fan. Isn't it a bit silly? WHERE DID I GO WRONG. If only it would stop making me laugh. I'm a sucker for anything that makes me laugh.
5. Speaking of which, Twenty Twelve finished and it was very very funny. I'm watching Campus right now, which is pretty funny and wonderfully surreal, and we won't even mention where it's set :D
Comment from: Member
As much as I wouldn’t want to wish this sort of thing on anyone, it’s always comforting to find that there are other people out there who understand. Many hugs to you <3
I’m glad you were able to get yours sorted with supplements! I hadn’t considered that I might have a vitamin deficiency, actually. But then, I have a very clear idea of what it is that triggered my anxiety, so I think for me it was more mental than physical.
Still, if I find that even after I’ve been working on my exercises for ages and I’m still feeling anxious for some reason, then I shall harangue my doctor again and see if supplements might work for me too.
Thanks for the suggestion!
And I apologise for the RSS feed. I don’t know what’s going on there either, but I am happy to blame Google if that’s what you want.
(I might start blaming Google for other things, too. Why is it raining, Google? Why do I never remember to eat the cheese in my fridge, Google? Why am I awake before 8am, Google? GOOGLE?)
At the risk of sounding like somebody’s elderly mother: Have you tried vitamin D and magnesium supplements, too? I was ill in exactly this way last fall, only it was serious serious: I couldn’t go out, I couldn’t do anything, I would walk into a room and think, What’s wrong in here? Is something wrong? Is something awful about to happen? I couldn’t connect to people, I was flipping out every day, it was just unimaginably awful. I ended up calling my mother at 2:30 in the morning one night and saying, “MOM, HELP, HELP, I THINK I’M HAVING A HEART ATTACK.” And she said: “OH MY GOD, CALL AN AMBULANCE!” And I said: “I CAN’T, I CAN’T, WHAT IF I’M REALLY HAVING ONE???” It was horrible (and yet also sort of funny).
Anyway, long story short, my problem was severe, severe, life-threateningly low vitamin deficiencies. My vitamin D levels were low enough to cause me problems with the rhythm of my heart. I’ve been on D, magnesium, folate, B12, A, and E supplements, and almost all of my symptoms have completely evaporated. So, I’m incredibly happy for you that the therapy and biofeedback exercises are working, and you might not have any vitamin-related problems at all — but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to bring it up.
But then the list of things that I have to blog about ends up growing so large that I would never have the time to write a blog post about it all anyway and, of course…
I do this all the time! I have a ‘to blog’ folder on my desktop (dork!) that is full of stupid crap I probably don’t even want to talk about anymore. It is a sad life.