I really surprised myself that I wrote this post. But I want this blog to be from a real person and to ensure busylittleladythinks is also a prominent feature. After all, I do think a lot. This post is more open than I expected to be, but it’s there and it’s honest.
It was about ten years ago that my scepticism about panic attacks was altered. Now it wasn’t fully gone but certainly I had a new insight to the situation.
I got one. I had a few to be precise.
There was a good reason to this happening, but to be really honest there was probably a life-long build up to it, too. And going forward, I then had a certain new outlook on life and was, for sure, going to carry something inside going forward.
I have this in my head today as I have had one of those mornings where it is all a blur. I could, sometimes, stay in my house all day and, apart from two daily dog walks, I often do.
So, perhaps the root of this odd, honest tale needs to be explained. The start of the story is probably the best place to begin.
Born with a disfigurement (yes, a truly honest post), I grew up with a subconscious determination to be confident, out-going and strong. Without realising I guess I decided I could either hide in the dark or I could strut in the light – after all you only live once – so from a young age the latter was always my choice. I never let things stand in my way and took on every challenge, blossomed, and became a woman who achieved in my own little way a great deal. I was well educated, had a great career history and have banked some awesome memories of worldwide travel, exciting work in the fashion industry and meeting and knowing lots of incredible people, many of whom are still dear friends now. And that was my twenties.
I think it took a lot of strength and character to keep up the – I don’t want to say ‘act’, as it wasn’t consciously pretend – but it was a inner ability that I had to always appear ‘OK’. However I’d forever born the weight of dealing with the emotion and mental toil of having something wrong with me. Essentially I always knew I was different, but never let it effect me. Without realising it, this took it out of me and in my mid twenties there was a niggle of a break down.
All the partying, all the rock and roll, was not going to blanket over I was exhausted with ‘being ok’.
So we approach the on coming panic attacks. It was a new environment, spending time in very different country and way of life that seemed to be the catalyst. Back in London I had a few break downs.
And here we realise my altered cynicism. Due to my character, strength and can-do attitude I’d always had a belief of panic attacks that it’s all in the mind. Not that it wasn’t genuine, but that you can choose to let it happen or bring yourself through it. I think I was partly right and partly wrong.
It really does swallow you up. It consumes you and, frustratingly, takes away your control and strength. I confess, this can take your soul through the ringer – but I do believe that there is a inner ability (perhaps only some people can, perhaps my attacks weren’t as bad as some), to bring yourself through the trauma and back to a less anxious state. Has anyone had this?
‘Anxiety is a type of fear usually associated with the thought of a threat or something going wrong in the future, but can also arise from something happening right now.
In 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK.1
In England women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders as men.’
So this gave me an insight. This changed me and gave me an awareness that I was not as strong and not as ‘OK’ as I believed. Throughout my late twenties I had various times of reoccurrence, I had moments of analysing myself, my work, my relationship. I had also come to end of a decade of medical treatment and surgery on my disfigurement that I’d kept away from general knowledge, not letting it effect my work and maintaining a ‘nothing to see here’ attitude. Not many people knew what was really going on for those years.
It’s a weird concept of people knowing me, but not really knowing me.
It was when I lost my father, when I was only 30, that things really changed. I had the opportunity to step away from a 50-hour-a-week career. I could admit my health, connected to my disfigurement, couldn’t handle it anymore. Stress, health, being run down all effected it and I was medicated more and more to keep it settled. So I stopped. Stopped the crazy work and started a small creative business which would give me the quieter lifestyle I needed. I also broke down, driven by the grief of losing my father, I think thirty years of ‘life’ just erupted and I knew I was crumbling but allowed it to happen, like a healthy release, it needed to come out.
But there’s the weird thing, I may now be healthy, medicine free, relaxed and ‘happy’ yet my anxiety is probably more an issue now that I have no guard up, no ‘act’ to keep up.
Who knew that working for yourself, spending so much time alone, could change me as a person? I now seem to have realised that the more you are alone, the more you want to be alone, and are more comfortable with fewer people, quiet places and quite honestly if it weren’t for my dog I wouldn’t get out much at all. I have to make a conscious effort to get out the house. Online shopping hasn’t helped. Who now needs to go further than the laptop? (She says, thinking about all the music, culture and art she’s missing out on)
I think I miss having a real focus and live a very ‘nice’ life of no real deadlines or purpose. I know that it’s ok to slow down a bit, it’s a natural evolution that I don’t all-weekend-rave-dance-like-crazy anymore – and that’s ok. I’m surprised, I don’t miss it, I have other interests and options now. Yet I worry that I don’t do much at all. I preach to everyone that you only live once, that life is precious and way too short to be miserable, dwell on things or have regret , yet now I preach this from the comfort of the sofa watching more TV than ever and even failing to remember when the last time I was in the pub was (although my removing alcohol from my diet since last summer may have something to do with that).
So that’s where I am in life. There’s no current resolution as there’s a (whole other blog post) thing that I’m also dealing with and that for now will keep me where I am. However just writing all this, and hoping I won’t delete it, has already made me feel stronger and excited for new projects, new work and…
Well, I’ll let myself take it easy.