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TALK TALK TALK IT THROUGH

I was too drenched in this circle of grief, panic,anxiety to notice what was really going on.  

My husband suggested I see a doctor, quite insistently.  Realising others could see something wasn't quite right, I silently got in the car and met up with the doctor who instantly saw what was wrong.  Anxiety.  It was quite a relief to give it a name - perhaps it wasn't all me and my thoughts; perhaps anxiety chose me and I had little choice in the matter.  That made me accept that I wasn't well a teeny bit easier.  Giving it a name made it feel like I was unlinked to anxiety and I could now do whatever possible to get back to feeling like myself again.

I am very lucky that I love communicating and always have done but weirdly, at this point I couldn't even express I was so anxious I could hardly breathe when I woke in the mornings.  Deep down I knew I had to seek help on expressing everything that I was feeling to get it all out of my system.  So I did.  That helped with the pain of it all, also the fact that I braved up and opened right up about everything that had been happening to me.  My Mum's illness and the effect it was having on us all, I couldn't function with the sheer panic about her decline, how poorly she was, her being taken away from us because we couldn't manage her care, my Father's sheer heartbreak, my mum pleading to come home, how my heart shattered into tiny pieces when the lift doors closed and I waved goodnight to Mum.  Just knowing she put on that brace face and smiled to protect me, how she still had her lipstick on and silk neck scarf and she waved me off the premises, the pain of leaving her, driving home, speaking to Dad.  Well, we just sobbed daily.  People said "You get used to it".  It traumatised me and my family.

A few close friends provided an incredible ear and helped me feel like there would be a time when all of this would pass.  Their belief in me and support made me feel safe and that's a great start.


My advice is to pick carefully who you talk to.  Go with your gut.  Save the big chats and honest words for people who you know have you in their hearts full time.  Whether that has to be a friend who can talk to you, or I would highly recommend a professional that can offer help.  Speak up and be honest.  Let them in.  Let them help you.  Talking to people, the right people, is a gift, and one to be used when you know you need it.  It's integral to climbing this steep and treacherous mountain.

FIND YOUR TOOLS

For me, I chose weekly therapy to talk about everything and medication to slow my heart rate down which was constantly racing.  Talking helped remove the fear and be more accepting of what was going on.  That I couldn't do anything to stop Mum's decline, I couldn't heal Dad's broken heart.  I didn't stay on medication for long, but the short time I was taking it I managed to lift my head high enough to see the light again.  The sadness and panic was still there but I could sense peace on a small scale, and smile and mean it.  Once you find acceptance, once you find your tools to help you, you can then find momentum to roll with it.  I'm still rolling with it.

Everyone has a different way or opinion on how to live with anxiety and their own personal preferences on how to deal with it.  For me, medication was the last resort and one I only used momentarily, but I'm thankful for the fear change the medicine provided so I could look with clarity for other options for my long term path.  Whatever feels right to you is the best way.  Follow your gut.

Finding other methods to deal with Mum passing away a few months ago, cheering Dad on, cheering myself on when were that broken hearted, to the point where we couldn't even take a deep breath as our hearts are broken was key for me.  My first step, I looked around my life and worked out what needed to go . I had built up beliefs about myself, about others around me and how the world worked that weren't conducive to a healthy mental state long term.  This needed to change.  This switch up took time and felt strange at first, but led me to a place where I can put my time and energy into the things I really care about.  I don't want to be defined by my story of grief.

I want to be sitting in my garden listening to the cockerel cock-a-doo-doodling having a cup of tea, in the NOW and knowing I'm OK again.

I wouldn't have done anything differently,I have to deal with it, Mum's illness and the fact she was in a home, I can't fight it, as the pain will get worse.  I have to replace them with a new way of viewing life and get my tool bag out!

 

Joanne xx