For those who have been with me for the last few months, you might remember that I became very sick around Christmas and that ‘sickness’ lasted for ages. Well, today I want to give you a little bit of an update on what has been really going down since that first post I made. It’s been so long since the first post that I can’t even remember what I originally wrote but I think I mentioned that I had seen a fair few doctors (I think at least 10), I started having panic attacks and I tried everything to figure out what was wrong with me. Before moving down to Victoria a couple of weeks ago I took one last shot with another doctor. We did some more tests but ultimately we decided that the reason I was so sick was because of my anxiety and the stress of everything that was going on combined.
It got pretty bad for a while there but I can say that I am getting better, but it’s going to take some time until I am fully back to my old self (which I miss a lot). The biggest thing that affected me the most was all of these new symptoms and issues that I experienced and, with some, am still experiencing every day. I experienced bouts of depression, a hell of a lot of constant nausea – which is one of the things I am still experiencing almost every time I leave the house, panic attacks, elevated heart rate – this usually caused the panic attacks because I was so paranoid that if I didn’t get it down quickly then I could go into cardiac arrest (this does happen to some people but usually after like 2 or more hours of an extremely high heart rate with no treatment) so even though it was super unlikely (like 0.1% chance) I still went into panic mode, and finally, losing my hair is another that I am still experiencing – I never expected this to happen to me, I never even thought it was related. Originally I just thought that I molted a lot because of how long and thick my hair is but a week or two ago when I went to the hairdressers, one of the stylists noticed how much I hair I was actually losing. The hair loss isn’t severe, I don’t have bald spots or have clumps falling out when I run my hand through my hair but I am shedding way more than I should be. It’s actually one of the scariest things to hear too, that you’re ‘losing’ your hair. For me my hair is everything to me and I know that having hair doesn’t matter, it doesn’t make you who you are but when you have had your hair so long and thick since the day you were literally born – minus a few bad bob cut attempts – it feels like your whole world is falling apart, and with every new strand that you lose you start to either panic or want to cry.
Anyway, back to the update part and less of my minor self-pity rant about my hair! I was prescribed Valium by my doctor just before we left to start our big move to the south and it’s been helping a fair bit. I was told not to rely on it but I do take one almost every time I leave the house each day (but only one per day). It’s basically what stops me from having a panic attack in public. Like, if I forget to take it before heading out I’ll end up constantly freaking out about throwing up or having a breakdown while we are out or I just won’t get out of the car unless I know I will only be in a place for a very short period of time (more on that part of it soon). I definitely need to see a psychiatrist but it’s going to take some time. I definitely have some issues with seeing specialists because they always come highly recommended and once there I am extremely disheartened or told they can’t help me because I’m ‘not bad or sick enough for them to do anything’.
Remember how I mentioned the Valium and leaving the house before? Well, now I’m going to share how my life is on an almost daily basis at the moment. This part is definitely the hardest and most infuriating part of my anxiety. Like I said before, I can’t leave the house without taking a Valium, I also can’t be inside big buildings like Coles, shopping centres, Kmart, etc. for too long. I try to avoid those sorts of places like the plague. I try to only go to places that have either quick access to a door or that allows me to stay outside. One example, just the other day I had to go to Specsavers to get an eye test done. I had the option of going to the store right up the road from me, it would have been super convenient and if I had to go there and Gilly or the car wasn’t here then I could walk easily. I ended up going to the store in the town over from mine. Its only 10 minutes away by car but it’s impossible to get to without a car as there is a highway connecting the two towns. The reason I chose the one in the other town instead of the one right next to me? The one in my town is in a shopping centre, the other is right on the street front. It still took a lot to even walk in the door of the street-front store, to begin with, but I got in there and I got through it as quickly as I possibly could.
Whatever is happening in my head and my mind is taking its toll on me. I’ve come to favour staying at home or in the car rather than going out in public. I don’t want to look at myself in any capacity, like when I have a shower or change clothes because I feel disgusting. I cry a lot more than I have ever done in my whole life (baby years included) and I am so tired all of the time. It has taken a bit of a toll on Gilly’s and my relationship too as I have outbursts of anger, irritation or self-loathing behaviour where I end up shutting myself off or away from him. It’s hard for him, probably harder than it is for me because he doesn’t have a button he can press that will make me better instantly. He hasn’t really dealt with me this bad before and he’s still understanding how best to deal with me, what to do or not do, and what to say or not to say during those bad days or outbursts.
I don’t want to be like this anymore. I don’t want to feel this bad every day and I definitely don’t want anxiety to win. I’m determined to get my life back, get the help that I need and to be able to live happily again.
If you are fighting mental illness or know someone who is then please reach out and get support. No matter how much you don’t want to or how much it might make you feel ‘weak’, having a support network is what will get you through it all. Make sure those around you know what to do or say during those bad days. Understanding and supporting yourself or your loved one is the difference between happiness and sadness, living and having a life, or life and death literally.
If you are struggling and want to get better or want some support or don’t want to go straight to your family or anything else, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on Facebook. I am here for those who just want to talk, or want to share their journey with me, or want help getting started, or want some resources, tips, support groups, anything that you need.