Yesterday, I attended a press event in London (feel free to have a nose about that here-Yours Clothing-Test a Tattoo).
Now, as my regular readers, and readers who have been with me from the beginning, will know, I blog a lot about my ongoing mental health issues. I have severe anxiety disorder which includes social anxiety, mild depression, brought on by a form of PTSD following my recurrent miscarriages a few years ago.
I got the invite for the event on Monday, when, weirdly enough, my anxiety was at an all time high. Every year, at this time, it goes into overdrive, because there’s always so much going on, so many things to remember, the children’s social calendar is crazy, but there are also so many bugs and illnesses going round school, I panic myself ridiculously that they’re going to get something and miss important events we have planned!
Because I was anxious, I felt sick-and had done for a couple of days prior the the email inviting me.
As fate would have it, the invite was for yesterday (Wednesday), which happened to be the husband’s only day off this week.
To cut a long story in between Monday and Wednesday short, I was well enough to go. I slept on and off Tuesday night, waking with anxiety (shock) to check I hadn’t slept through my alarm.
At 5:15, precisely 15 minutes before my alarm was due to go off (go figure), I gave in and got up.
I got ready fine, and walked happily to the train station, paid for my ticket and waited on the platform. All was ok-I thought “oh my god-I’m cured!” Then I got on the train.
Immediately the anxiety attack took hold of me. I felt my body, from the tips of my toes to the top of my head, burn with sudden heat. I stripped down to the dress I was wearing, and dug out my herbal anxiety chews, and took sips of water. I’d downloaded a film so quickly hit the play button on my iPad and stuck both earphones in my ears.
While it started I glanced around, nervously choosing which person would have to pick me up when I passed out.
As the train started moving, and we hit each train station, the anxiety got worse. Just as I’d calmed down, breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, and pressing my hot head on the cool window to try and alleviate the flushes, we’d stop at another station, lit up by the quickly rising sunset, and I’d start it all over again. I initially thought it was the fact I was getting further away from home that was the issue, but in actual fact I think it was that my destination was getting closer, bringing new unease and unfamiliarity.
The train finally rolled into my station, and I watched rush hour commuters quickly grab their belongings, and following them gingerly, I stepped onto the platform.
I watched as people hurried by, in their own worlds, not giving a damn about the 30 year old girl next to them, consumed by anxiety.
It was then I decided, I knew why I was there, I’ve dreamed of doing this, this is what I’ve worked so hard for. I’m not going to let this beat me.
I chose to think of myself as Mrs Mayflower for the day. Still me, but a stronger, more confident me.
I walked as fast as all the other commuters, to the tube, squeezed on to the underground train, and made my way to the venue.
A couple of times over the course of the following three hours, the horrible feeling tried to come back and wash over me again, but I didn’t let it. Mrs Mayflower wouldn’t let it.
After 3 hours at the event, I left and made my way back to the tube station I’d earlier arrived in, wondering, as I always do, why I got so worked up in the first place.
I treated myself to a walk to the top of Primrose Hill, to see the London skyline, a view I never get sick of, and that I felt I deserved after what I’d overcome during the course of the morning.
I called my husband, who had been the only person I had told about the event (for fear of letting others down when I possibly bailed out) and, as usual, his supportive words, confirming my strength through the adversity I’d faced, were all I needed to hear.
I made my way home, back to my normal life being a mother and a wife.
Today I decided, I’d write this blog to show how I overcame these life obstructing issues yesterday, to do something I’ve dreamed of doing for so long.
This wasn’t ever a blog on how to cure anxiety-or self help tips you can take with you-everyone deals with their anxiety differently, and, what work for some, really won’t work for others.
No, what this blog was for was to show you, there is so much strength in each and every one of us, that we can find if we really dig deep. There is hope in the darkest of days, and sometimes, hope is all you need.
Taking a tiny step to an anxiety sufferer, will always feel like the biggest leap of faith, but it’s so totally worth it if you can just find that courage.
Today, I went back to being a Mummy, and a Wife, and spent the afternoon with horrible anxiety again, because of the same concerns I had on Monday.
I’m by no means cured-far from it-and I don’t think I ever will be. But this was the stepping stone I needed to move forward in how I deal with my issues-and for that I’m truly proud of myself.