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 🙂