So long story short not to bore myself or whoever reads this stuff… haven’t had a panic attack in over 5 months.. weened off the Lexapro in the past 3 days and today is the first day completely off it. Feeling a bit light headed and my second uni assignment is due in 5 hours! Gotta get it done and out of the way. See how we feel tomorrow. Planning another trip back to Europe in about 6 months time so yeah fingers crossed no bad side effects or anything along those lines. Worst case I get back on it, but I haven’t really been sleeping very well since I’ve been on them which the doc reckons is insomnia so not good!
Whats happening? As with my usual habits I got lazy when things were on the up turn and only write when the glass is half empty! Been back at work for quite sometime and it’s been traveling quite swell! Nothing too unusual about today.. just the usual work stuff however this afternoon after eating some spicy curry for chicken I felt a bit different. I had tickets to Russell Peters today, so that was on my mind a bit and as usual throughout today I had been over worrying about the logistics of how I was going to get there. Afternoon was filled with meetings and next thing I knew it was 5:30 and I was running late to head home. I felt a bit buzzed and thought it was just adrenaline having gone through meeting after meeting after meeting! The walk to the bus stop was non-eventful aside from the fact I felt a tad short of breath and tried to slow it down somewhat. Once I was in the queue for the bus, my thoughts started to spiral out of control. The first bus arrived ended up being quite packed to the hilt and I was (thankfully) unable to get on. Good news was I was first on the next bus which had just arrived. Bad news was once I got on the bus I started to fret, sweat and all those unpleasant sensations came at me very rapidly. Off to the next bus stop, peak hour traffic, lots of people, senses on overdrive and it was very very very uncomfortable for me. The rest of the trip home was rated probably at a 5/10 until I got closer to home where everything became more bearable.
Home now, not going to Russell :~( and confidence has taken a big hit. Also it’s somewhat depressing that it was going all so well and as always I’m sitting there wondering what happened, how did this get triggered, why did it happen? The usual fear and question of is this the start of something big? or just a one off.. I guess it’s more disappointing that just when I had dared to dream about catching a plane or going away on a holiday this happens. I know I shouldn’t be thinking like this, but as all sufferers know it’s not quite that easy. It’s definitely a lot easier said than done to focus on the positives. It’s quite tough when you haven’t experienced those uneasy sensations for quite sometime and managing them when you’re out of practice. I guess I could look at it as a friendly reminder to just keep practicing even when I’m not having attacks so I’m preprared for the next random one.
Time to crack on with my final essay for my first subject at uni!
Haven’t posted for a while so that means no news is good news. I’m kinda back to work now, but not entirely functional. I think most of my team thinks I’m a complete looney and my carefree attitude probably scares most people. At the end of the day it’s much of a front, rather than be worried, I portray a carefree stature in the hope that I believe it myself. I had a few moments in these last few weeks, one of which when our whole corporate department had a get together and I was left with the front row seat during a presentation. Obviously walking out in front of 150+ odd people would have been bad, yet at the same time trying to convince myself that nothing was wrong in front of the same amount of people was just as hard. I did survive the episode and it helped build in confidence.
Had the Friday off to take the kitties to the vet today. Ended up making a trip to the new HomeHQ in Auburn. Typical home warehouse type shops although alot smaller than what I was used to. Bought a new ETU (Entertainment Unit.. I know how cool a new acronym!). The catch was either wait till next week and pay $65 for delivery, or drive down to Blacktown and pick it up. What better oppurtunity to test out my new skills than to drive through the Lane Cove Tunnel and the M2.. all up survived it pretty well. There were a few moments in the tunnel where I was nervous but after convincing myself that I should wait at least 10 minutes before panicing, by the 10 minutes was up I was feeling alot more relaxed and in control. On the way back, there was a slight traffic jam due to a broken down truck. I thought this was the best place for me to have a panic attack but surprisingly after driving along at 15kph for 15 minutes, I was pretty calm. Awesome boost for the confidence even though at the time I didn’t feel too confident. Hopefully I can build upon that and continue on my way.
I can’t wait to jump on a plane and go somewhere and have a nice relaxing holiday. Each time I see ads for Europe or London it makes me realise how much of a good time I had over there and how much I enjoyed it. I would love to have a second crack at Europe!
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 🙂
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!
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 🙂