Recently I’ve been struggling – if you keep up to date with this blog then you may have noticed. I’ve reached new levels of ‘stressed’ lately, so much so that I keep having panic attacks at stupid times, and not really being able to do much to control them. Though, I recently read Matt Haig’s book: Reasons To Stay Alive – it’s bloody brilliant and I’ll blog about it tomorrow… there were a lot of stand-out quotes and moments within the book – but it was one particular thing that I really really liked, and related to… I’m not directly quoting here as my Kindle is somewhere in the mess that has taken over my desk, but Matt spoke openly about panic attacks, and wanting to have a valid reason to panic when experiencing these – I can relate to this ridiculously well! When I have panic attacks I get really angry at myself for panicking for no reason – however Matt pretty much said that if you had a reason (i.e: a life threatening reason) to really panic then panic attacks wouldn’t be panic ‘attacks’ it’d be pure, well-reasoned, justified panic. This has really struck some sort of chord within me – it reminded me that it’s okay to not be okay. And I certainly haven’t been okay recently.
So, today I decided to take a day off – I have so many deadlines at the moment, and so much work – but the thing is I really needed to rest. I’m hesitant to take time off, and I’m always willing to work pretty much until I’ve finished whatever it is that I’m aiming for, however the constant panic attacks, fear, low mood and inability to sleep / think straight are more than a warning sign this time around – I’m certain. I feel like all my heightened symptoms etc. are telling me to stop, I am ridiculously stressed, and it’s tricky because I haven’t been that open to colleagues – but the thing is I needed a break – I mean there’s only so many times you can have panic attacks in the shower before you realise it’s time to sort yaself out.
Monday was tough, I had several panic attacks whilst working, and then really struggled with food, and yesterday I’d barely slept and struggled to function whilst trying to do work. I then had a dentist appointment which I was unbelievably excited for. So there it is – the sure sign that I am stressed, and struggling beyond belief. You know times are tough when you get excited for a trip to the dentist – I’ve been working so hard, and been struggling so bad with my PTSD lately that the only ‘break’ I’d given myself was a trip to the bloody dentist. When I got home I was so happy to be home, and I was in bed by half six. Hahaha hardcore.
So… taking a day off was absolute bliss. I slept so much, it felt like I’d not slept in years. Then I had a little read (Matt Haig you’re ace) and I forbid myself to even think about work. But of course, my mind likes to panic when I’m not doing anything – and I had to keep telling myself (reassuring more like) that it is perfectly okay to rest. I don’t think I’ve needed to rest this much in a long time. I’ve been walking around lately wanting to cry at everything, but the thing is I couldn’t even get out of bed this morning I was so exhausted – yesterday I had to fight panic attack after panic attack to even leave my flat, so today I made the conscious decision to allow myself a whole day to rest, focus on myself and feel like crap if that’s what I wanted to feel like.
I really struggle to relax, I’m always on edge and tense, and things made me jump pretty easily today, but I managed to actually give myself room to breathe. Space to think, and space to allow my mind to do whatever it wanted to. I did start to struggle with the urge to eat every piece of food in the world, and then I was also struggling with not-so-friendly-you-don’t-wanna-eat-as-food-is-bad thoughts… and my head just felt like mush. I did leave the flat with every intention to go to the nearest shop and buy all the food in Birmingham – however somehow I managed to keep going and ended up having a really ace day exploring Birmingham. I’ve lived here for four years, and everywhere I went today I’ve been before, however it was still really lovely. It was lovely to have a change of scenery, to have a break but to not be left alone with the craziness that is my mind. (And also, it was bloody ace to not binge – victory!) (Also I stumbled across some BBC filming – which was also pretty cool).
Here’s some photos from today’s ‘Sort yaself out adventure’ (or my ‘Breathing’ Day):