Back to normal.. maybe?

So after last week’s effort in coming back to work, I’ve managed to get back to work 4/5 days. All through various modes of transportation, switching between buses and trains or a combination of both. It’s been a quite surreal experience as where I used to have panic attacks, I sit there wondering when it’s going to happen but it never eventuates. Today I was at the Chase, waiting to pick up my laptop from repair and I sat in the food court eating food wondering when the onset of panic would come and it never eventuated.

I had a farewell party this evening and as per normal I was doing my best not to go. I eventually got forced to going from my mate Tom who sms’d me and said he was on his way to pick me up. I grudgingly got up and got ready for his arrival. Surprise surprise I went to dinner, in a confined space as you are at dinners and survived it all. Went out for drinks afterwards and no ill feelings. It was quite something to be able to function normally again and not to have to worry. Mind you I did worry, but not enough to send me into a panic. It was a thoroughly pleasant experience and I can’t wait for more of them.

Work has been great as always and very supportive of me during this time. I plan on going back to work on Monday, however the only thing I have a problem with is sleep. The antidepressants seem to have me wired up so much that I wake at the sound of a needle dropping. Any noise at all will wake me instantly and it takes some time for me to get back to sleep. Most mornings I wake up feeling as though I had around one or two hours of sleep when I had been in bed for almost ten. It’ll be interesting to see how I’ll fare next week, but I do intend to get back to normal work balance as soon as I can. For now, it’s a big thumbs up and another speed hump passed. Thanks to everyone for all their support 🙂

Sleep deprived!

After the previous post I attempted to lie in bed with no joy. I completed the Lost Symbol, and lay in bed and tossed and turned till the sun came up at which point I drifted off to sleep for an hour or two, and then I got up because although I was tired, I just could not continue to sleep. So yeah mental note, no late night caffeine especially large coke and large coffee (and when I say large, I mean there was small, medium and LARGE kinda like a tall/giant coffee). Did not help one bit. Anyway not feeling the dark emotions from earlier this morning so thank god for that. Going to head to the Apple store soon to get the palm rest fixed up on this thing!

Back at work! Well kind of

I made the harrowing decision to get to work by myself today. It was a struggle as soon as I left the house and I split the journey into two. First part was just getting to North Sydney, at which I stopped off and bought a puffer because I thought I was wheezing and needed one. It also allowed me to spend a few moments to gather my thoughts. At North Sydney it was all too easy to just turn around and head on home but deep down I knew inside if I set this as my boundary, it would make getting to the other side all that much harder in the future. Panic scale was probably on about a 2/3 out of 10, so after getting my puffer I headed down into the tunnels of Greenwood Plaza towards the station.
The plaza looked fairly similar although it had been a few months since I traversed it’s path. Shops still lined both sides, and I wasn’t sure why that surprised me since it was a plaza after all however some of the shops had changed. Claustrophobia gently caressed my mind as I was strolling through and in what seemed like half an hour, I eventually popped out at the station. Barging past all the school kids who couldn’t fathom how to use the EFTPOS capabilities of the ticketing machine, I inserted my change and retrieved my ticket from the slot below. Deftly I headed down to the platform and destiny all but seemed to be playing devils advocate. The train was sitting at the platform but not due to depart for another 7 minutes. Of course there’s an extra 7 minutes I now had up my sleeve to turn around, head back up the platform and go home. Once more the eerily 7 minute wait felt alot longer before the train started to move off.
Upon arriving at Milsons Point I was already almost at shaking point and dripping with sweat. I tried not to concentrate on the fact that once the doors closed at Milsons Point, I would be crossing the bridge which currently was one of my biggest fears. Of course the more I attempted to not think about it, the more it became more prominent in my mind. As the doors began to close, so did my world. Profusely sweating and starting to tremor slightly, I feebly attempted to count my breathing and slow it down. My senses were beginning to get overwhelmed so I closed my eyes to block out at least one other sense. When I opened my eyes I was already passed the bridge and about to descend into the tunnels before Wynyard. An SMS distracted me for 10 or so seconds in which I felt a state of calm briefly but after that the anxiety set in. Arriving at Wynyard, the commuters got on and off the train while I sat patiently. At this point the decision was made to head all the way to work and then home.
Of course the doors seemed to take forever to shut, and then I was off again and not a moment too soon as I could not wait to get the hell off this train and get some fresh air and freedom. To be honest at this point I wasn’t even sure I could make the trip home but first things first and get off! Got to Town Hall first one off, first one up the stairs and through the ticket machine. The tunnel from the ticket gates and the Pitt St exit once again trigged my semi claustrophobic state, but soon enough I was outside breathing fresh air. Right… now I’m here.. what to do.. what to do..SMS Jimmy and what do you know he has some free time albeit abandoning one of his meetings but whatever :).
Met up with him and had a brief chat before grabbing a coffee and giving him a half an hour summary of what’s been happening with me lately. He tried his best not to worry me about work and all the issues at work but, you know how it is. Finished the stories and headed back upstairs for a smoke and the anxiety made me need to go water the horses so I thought might as well do a fly by of L22. “Permssion to fly-by!”.
As soon as I headed into the building, near the escalators my heart started racing. It wasn’t too uncomfortable, however it was definitely noticed. I think this time it was due more to excitement than anxiety which was probably why it felt different. Up we went and of course I was bombarded with Welcome Back’s and hello. It’s really nice to be missed and to be recognised so warmly by your work colleagues. A quick trip to the big bosses desk while he had 5 minutes to spare and was generously encouraged to take my time before coming back. Then my boss invited me to head downstairs to the coffee shop to have a team leader catchup/meeting which once more was easy to pass up and just head home but nevertheless I headed down there. All throughout I was looking for an oppurtunity to escape while the anxiety level was sitting at a 1/10, it wasn’t a pure pleasant experience. Talked about footy and the cats and then all too soon it was time to head home. The taxi ride home was nothing exciting to write home about but by the time I got home I was exhausted. I didn’t realise how tense I had been during the whole 3ish hours.
Fell asleep on the couch and by the time I woke up, I managed to spend 10 or so minutes doing some research for uni and then it was time to meet Mitch for dinner/coffee. The experience at the chase was now becoming the norm and wasn’t a big deal for me. Not to say the catchup wasn’t good, but there was nothing registering on the anxiety meter. After dinner and coffee, headed to Coles to do some quick grocery shopping and then headed home.

This is where it gets interesting/scary. Came home, popped a beer and chatted for a while, however it got to a certain point (halfway through my 4th beer) I felt depressed. Was talking about career progression/paths, where to go at work, where I wanted to go that sort of thing. And I just really didn’t want to think about it, I wanted more to focus on friends/family and just getting better in general. Then a wave of something hit me, I wasn’t quite sure what it was but it was dark and uncomfortable in a bad way. I stopped drinking because I felt it was fueling this dark fire within me, I started to get really hot flushes and somewhat panicky. All the negative emotions such as despair and hopelessness started flooding my mind and body. I had no idea where they came from (maybe it was the coffee/coke I had for dinner combined with beer?) but it was really scary. I was getting really depressed REALLY fast and did not like where it was going. I felt ill and went to the bathroom and tried to clear my mind. I managed to clear it long enough for me to think maybe I can just sleep it off. Went to bed, turned the lights out and it was worse than before to the point I felt like I was going to throw up. The feeling of complete hopelessness, and as much as I tried to think of friends, family or anything positive it was really hard to get past it. Lights back on, and I just sat around getting completely flustered and not knowing what to do with myself. The emotions was not the same as an anxiety attack but I knew from the upset tummy it was related. So having that up my sleeve I knew that distraction techniques would probably also help me out of it. I pulled out The Lost Symbol (latest Dan Brown novel) and started reading. This was only a few moments ago, and now I feel a hell of a lot better. I’m not as lost and confused as I was about an hour ago but I thought I better take the opportunity to scribble all this stuff down so tomorrow I don’t forget.

Now I don’t want to sound too negative because today was a big step. It was completely physically and mentally exhausting as those would know fighting with anxiety symptoms is a draining exercise. I broke past the self-erected barrier previously of not being able to go across the harbour bridge and thats by no means a small feat in itself. It was great to see all the guys at work and to integrate back with society. The episode however an hour ago was a completely different matter. I mean, I’ve been scared before with anxiety symptoms and what not but this was something totally different. Really really dark and not a place I want to EVER EVER EVER see again. No more coffee and late night coke coupled with beer I think. Positive thoughts and tomorrow is going to be a great day.
Oh and a side note, the macbook is heading in for repair after a section near the palm rest broke off. Looks to be a common problem. Also I’ve been researching about buying a new lightweight notebook with discrete graphics. I’m currently looking at the soon to be released ASUS UL30JT and the Acer Timeline 3820TG. Neither are released yet and I’m not allowed to buy any more notebooks until I sell my old ones. Thanks Jong for taking my MSI Wind off me, now to offload the E6400! Anyways it’s 1:35 and thank god I’m getting tired now because it’s been one hell of a day and I’m getting sleepy. The kitties are already asleep finally. They are like babies, both tired yet they keep waking themselves up to play and chase each other around the room. They’ve finally gone to sleep thank goodness because I was having enough trouble fighting off the dark thoughts let alone having to deal with their shenanigans.
Nite all 🙂

Another week! +1

It’s Monday again and as you can see I haven’t been posting as much due to the new kittens. Which also means I haven’t been out of the house that often either 🙂 The meds have settled down and the sickness isn’t that severe anymore. Anyway headed out to the shops today to buy some more kitty stuff and drove up there which was pretty okay. After around an hour or wandering the shops, decided to take the plunge and head up to Brookvale to pick up some perspex that was custom made to kitty proof the study. And lo-and-behold the 10 minutes worth of slowing your breathing down does actually work! Got to about Roseville and wasn’t feeling too crash hot so I set myself a goal of slowing my breathing down and practicing for 10 minutes and seeing what happens. I started slowing my breathing down and after what seemed like half an hour of it, I checked the clock and it was only 2 minutes!!!!! I told myself that after 10 minutes if I don’t feel any better I can go and panic to my hearts content and surprise surprise I felt better after 10 minutes. Sweeeet, picked up the perspex and thought I’d have a go at driving, but the angry traffic around me stopped that idea after 15 or so minutes. Back to the passenger seat, practicing breathing and voila sweeet again!

I have confidence in being normal again in no time! 🙂

Wednesday

So it’s Weds and the kittens have arrived and kept me pretty much occupied for the last two days! They are absolutely gorgeous except the chicka seems to steer away from human contact. The little boy will jump on your lap at any chance he gets and constantly follows me around the house trying to jump on my lap (even though I’m standing upright!).

The meds are okay now it seems, my body has sorta gotten used to them. I still don’t sleep that well as in the middle of the night my tummy is continually upset but eventually I tire enough and pass out. Looks like I can do shopping centres okay now. I’m not sure if it’s the meds, or just me being more relaxed. I headed out to the Chase today to pick up some cat food and while somewhat nervy (probably a 0.5/10), I wasn’t panicced enough to run out. Mind you I did order takeaway food instead of eat in 😀

I think my next step is to drive into the city and maybe head into work on a weekend and see how I go. The local area seems okay these days. Mind you I haven’t really gone out that much except to the shopping centres and the local corner stores. I guess I don’t want to push too far incase I get stuck again, and have to inconvenience the better half to come save my ass! Hmmm… I feel alot less panicky though.. I guess maybe I should go out for a drive to Crows Nest like last time.. the other issue is it’s a bit lonely doing it on my own.

What?!? It’s Monday already?

I completely forgot to update what happened on Friday. It was quite eventful for the good part of half an hour. The time was 4pm and it was getting close to when my friend was about to come around so we could head to the pub and I decided at that point it was panic central. Fear, sweating, hyperventilation you name it and it was happening. I was quite able to tell myself that this was a friend and there’s nothing to be afraid about but that didn’t stop me from pacing around like a lunatic. In the end the phone rang, I went to grab him from outside, we chatted for a while and I calmed down and had a few beers. All in all turned out to be a successful night as we headed up to the pub and stayed there for a few hours before retiring back at home for a few more beers. Woke up with a ripper of a hang over on Saturday but at least I felt somewhat normal. Saturday was time (and probably overdue) for me to up my dosage to what was considered a normal dosage. Either my mind convinced me I was sick or I more than likely felt ill due to the double up of meds. Sunday was spent feeling sorry for myself, lying on the couch, in bed where ever I could find even on the carpet for a while. I did my best to just try and pass time as I knew eventually it would pass. I didn’t really eat much during the day either aside from a slice of bread so I forced some left over ravioli into me and then tried to sleep.

Today is Monday! Second day on the double dosage and while not feeling to crash hot, I forced myself to go out. Had to go out to the pet store to pick up some supplies and as per Friday, closer to the time of leaving I started to get quite panicky. Probably a 3/10, and in the car ride down to the pet store I was quite proud and seemed to have successfully convinced myself it was only uncomfortable sensations and they would probably only last for 10 or so minutes. Once inside the pet store, it probably took around 5-10 minutes and I settled down and felt quite relaxed again and got the supplies. Headed to Coles to get some more pet supplies and some food for lunch and now at home.

I wouldn’t mind getting out and about some more but the weather is pretty dismal outside today. I’m still in two minds about heading to the airport to pick up the kittens too. Not sure if I’ll fare that well during the slow peak hour crawl. Also I think I have just about managed to convince myself it will be hell reincarnate if I do go, I might just wait at home. Here kitty kitty kitty!