I thought I was making steps forward since my breakdown in December. I guess in a lot of ways I am – my attitude is in general a lot lighter I feel more rational and reasonable about everyday conflicts/dramas and if I fail at an attempt to flip an omlette I do not end up in a ball on the kitchen floor crying my eyes out at the hell that has become my life (this happened so many times last year). When I look back at the past 5 months I find that as happy as I am with the progress I’m making I still feel trapped in my house.
My home is a prison:
When we first moved into this house I thought we had it made, it was large enough for when we wanted to start a family, the garden was a decent size and easy to maintain the kitchen looked a dream and our spiral staircase was a big hit with everyone, though rather impractical when moving boxes in. Now it’s become a place I’ve come to loathe.
I remember myself pre-anxiety like I’m watching a movie, it feels like the girl who went out for long walks, days out at weekends and ate out at least 5 times a week doesn’t even slightly resemble the person I am now. I used to visit my mum and sisters at least twice a month, would go to see my younger brother as much if not more than that, would have regular date nights with King and would meet friends (old and new) for dinner and a gossip. Best of all though every Sunday I would take a brisk walk to town on a Sunday, get there for opening at 10, and read or write towards my novels at Costa coffee while making my way through a large mocha and a slice of cake. Now I can tell you exactly how many swirls there are on the living room ceiling and how many tiles are on the kitchen wall but it came at the cost of losing friends I never thought I would and damaging relationships with my family.
I miss all this but I started panicking about smaller things and on a more regular basis and in what seemed to be no time at all I found myself only leaving the house to go to work. Every week I have the best intentions to get out the house, go to town and get a Starbucks or get on a bus and see my mum and the girls and every week I feel like a total failure when I only manage work and a one hour driving lesson.
I feel as though I have become a prisoner in my own home. I don’t even make the most of my time stuck in doors I spend most my time sat on the sofa half watching TV half worrying/building up the courage to go somewhere that I eventually panic over.
My brain is a cell:
I feel so overwhelmingly trapped because of my mind. I have got to the point where I don’t even know where to start or how to start making positive changes. I will go to the shops and call that a win, which I guess it is but it doesn’t feel like it when my next venture out is 2 or 3 weeks later. I want to get back to who I was back then but, unlike depression, anxiety is completely foreign to me.
It starts with the thought of going out even if it’s just to the shop, then a niggle will start – what if I need the loo while I’m out, there’s no toilet there (that’s always the first one), What if I can’t hold it, what if I get halfway round the shop and need to put the stuff back and come straight back home, it’ll look suspicious if I put things back and just run off, what if I bump into someone I know and they want to talk but I’m not in a good head space so I’ll look rude. The thoughts start to escalate and the scenarios build and build until I almost always get frightened something really serious will happen to me or a loved one if I go outside.
I have been to the Dr’s a few times and have been offered CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) to help me tackle the thoughts head on and move forward but despite asking for the online option, where I talk to someone once a week online and they give me little exercises to do, the woman always refuses and says it would be best for me to go the group sessions they hold – I agree to go and then the day comes and my thoughts take me right back to full on panic and I wuss out. So far I have agreed to go to 3 and have yet to go to one.
The Half Way House:
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I don’t feel ready yet to go to group but I’m also sick and tired of feeling stuck. I have decided to start making some very small short term goals and slowly build up to the bigger things. My issue in the past is I will venture out to the shop 5 minutes away and then feel so elated over the triumph that I either think that’s enough for 2-3 weeks or push myself into thinking I’m ready to tackle the big things I miss like visiting my mum and sisters (two buses and a train ride away) or going to the cinema (the last time I went I couldn’t get an aisle seat on the right side on the row nearest the exit and freaked out).
As I like to be super organised and also like to see progress I might keep a kind of log and if I do I’ll give updates here every so often. I’m pretty scared to start making the steps but my mind is always torn between fear/anxiety and wanting to get better so if anyone has any tips on how I can tackle this I’m open to any and all!
Have you ever been through CBT?
What tips could you give to help me make my start?
Let me know in the comments or over on twitter (@KissedDaisy)