For so many years I had to sit back and watch friends go out together while I sat at home wondering what the point of it all was and letting suicidal thoughts consume me.
I missed out on going to parties, to the cinema, to sleepovers, shopping, travelling and so on because I couldn’t leave my comfort zone. Although saying that, I can’t say my comfort zone was that comfy! After a while people stop inviting you. You can’t blame them, you always said no but now you feel even more pointless and left out; like it will never get better and you blame yourself for missing your chance.
Last year I tried to force myself out of this by committing to go to Lourdes, to go to a hen do & a wedding. It turns out tough love doesn’t necessarily help, this commitment brought with it sleepless nights, a lost appetite, weight loss and in the end a nervous breakdown. The hen do, I realised I could not do, not only because of the financial burden as someone who relies solely on her husband but the absolute fear of being in a far away place with no-one to help should I have an anxiety attack.
The wedding came and I battled through although it was one of the hardest days; I remember sitting around the table with strangers and I couldn’t speak, I was paralysed. I tried to eat and I soon felt nauseous; I went outside to catch air as I felt I couldn’t breathe, the adrenaline ran through my body and I felt like I could black out at any moment. I never normally drink but the tequila got me through that night.
A month later came Lourdes and by this time I was on the verge of a breakdown; and yet, afraid of letting people down I battled on. In hindsight I should have listened to my body and mind at taken care of myself.
I got on the bus to the airport and I was happy to see friends I had missed for a long time; but as soon as we got through security it dawned on me that there was no going back and I was about to get on a plane. That’s when anxiety really took a hold of me. I am so lucky that my friends knew and understood what I was going through and were reassuring. Greg spent the whole journey talking with me so intently so that I couldn’t panic, Millie as always made me laugh and cheered me up, as did Lucy and they all reassured me that I would be ok.
I’m so proud of myself for going, although it was extremely hard – especially the nights where I would lie in bed covered in sweat, freezing cold, shaking violently, sick and dizzy from anxiety – it was worth it for the help I gave. I couldn’t eat and I could feel the weight just dropping off. It was terrifying.
I said I would never go again.
Later in the year I began to learn mindfulness and although it has taken a lot of consideration I’ve decided to go to Lourdes.
This year I have done things I haven’t been able to do – I’ve driven all over to visit friends, I’ve been out for food, been swimming, been to the cinema, been shopping, been abroad. All things people who don’t have anxiety take for granted, are to me a massive achievement.
I can do this – if I take it one second at a time.