13 November 2014

Feeling caged...

Those of you who are following my blog will have learnt by now that I am currently suffering with Anxiety. I am pretty new to the disorder and as yet am trying to find my own way of dealing with it. My current strategy - taking it one small step at a time.

After days of being cooped up inside I took it upon myself to venture to the shops.  To those of you who are living without Anxiety, I'm sure you are thinking 'no big deal'. To those of us suffering with Anxiety it seems we make it a big deal. Here is how my afternoon went....

I woke up this morning feeling positive and my usual chirpy self. I decided that today was the day I was going to move my sorry self off the couch and back into the outside world. I got dressed with more gusto that usual and settled any underlying nerves with a nice cup of tea.

The Anxiety is bad enough but mix in the fact I have Ulcerative Colitis and it is the perfect storm.
So I am all ready to set off and this is when my mind starts wondering all by itself. Nothing has yet happened to start the ball rolling, I'm simply getting my coat ready to face the world. My mind is going 'maybe you should hang on a little while... go in another ten minutes time'.
So I have a frank word with my brain and reassure myself that I am being silly and to just leave now. I will be no longer than ten minutes, if I'm not feeling great I can just turn around. This is when my Ulcerative Colitis tummy kicks off, I get a ball of butterflies in my belly and funny phantom niggling pains that were no where in sight when I was previously sitting idol on my couch. Now that I am wanting to face the outside world...my tummy is playing tricks on me...but so is my mind.

The rational side of my brain knows full well how silly I am being and that my thoughts and feelings are exaggerated... but that makes no difference. The longer I prance back and forth in the house going 'I'll just grab my scarf', 'I'd better take extra money with me' the worse I get- these are all stalling tactics. I am fully aware that I am behaving like this and the rational side of my brain finds it exhausting!!

By now I am angry, frustrated, annoyed and in a wobble.  Am I still going? Will I get there before the shops close? Will I put it off for another day?! NO I'm blooming determined to get out of this sodding house.
I drive (with company in tow) trying to distract myself with the job of driving. I am going 8 minutes down the road and I can easily turn around if my Ulcerative Colitis decides to smite me! I worry the whole way there, I'm thinking 'I'm going to need the bathroom or I'm going to get caught short', 'I should have stayed home'.

I get to the first shop, still with everything playing on my mind. I race through the store at super sonic speed, just fast enough that I don't attract funny looks :) By the second shop I am too busy searching for what I came out of the house for that my niggling tummy pains are all but gone. The dread of needing the bathroom without much notice is still sitting at the back of my thoughts, of course it is, it is always there.

Now I am feeling better knowing that I am on the home straight. By this point my biggest worry is needing a cuppa and my deepest fears are long gone. Instead all of those annoying silly thoughts are instantly replaced with 'see it wasn't that bad!' 'You're a plonker' and 'I'd forgotten how much I rather like the outside world'. I jump in the car and arrive home before I know it. Back to safety and the comfort of my pj's.

I'm feeling happy that I got somewhere and proud that I didn't let those niggling worries Anxiety causes get in the way. I came so close to turning the car around and if I hadn't had company present I probably would have legged it! Up until a year ago I had never felt like this, I would simply jump in the car and not have a second thought. Anxiety is draining, frustrating and a damn right pain. Though today it did not win, I did :P

This routine usually happens each time I aim to leave the house, I can't explain how exhausting it is! The rational side of my brain knows I am acting silly but yet turns my legs to jelly anyway! I'm please to announce that the shaking, crying & all out panic that I once mentioned HERE when the Anxiety first started have now vastly calmed down but still I have a long way to go at working on my relationship with this unwanted Anxiety.

So there you have it folkes! Anxiety.... the bit that's usually overlooked by the medical staff! Turns out Anxiety is not uncommon amongst those who have Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis and when you think about it it's pretty obvious to see that a lot of Anxiety comes along with having Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Victoria 1 - Ulverative Colitis & Anxiety 0.