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The Story So Far

I started my sharing journey by being open about my mental health issues on social media, mostly as Facebook posts to my friends. I’ve kept copies of this writing here. It all starts with the post where I ‘outed’ myself as an anxiety sufferer.

The Story So Far

Confessions of an Anxiety Sufferer

I think my friends list is friendly enough for me to be saying this amongst friends (I’m giving myself a point for every time I use the word friend or friends).

Some of you may know I have a bit of a problem with ‘doing things’ I get weird anxiety issues about making or answering phone calls, driving to unfamiliar places or even socialising with friends (SIX POINTS). Some times it gets so bad I cancel plans or don’t do something simple like drive to the shops.

It’s not crippling but it can be enough to ruin a day or just make me feel generally unpleasant in the stomach. The weird thing is that on a good day I think I am actually quite good at social stuff, even public speaking etc…

I had a bit of an episode today.

I haven’t left the house much this week as I have been spending the last week of my holiday finishing of all the hobby stuff I wanted to do. I needed to pop out today to pick up some supplies so I went over to the shopping centre.

All good, I’ve been there plenty of times on my own, it’s close and apart from nearly always forgetting where I’ve parked the car it’s usually a non-scary event free trip. Today I was feeling extra chirpy and even asked the man in the nerd games shop to show me a demo of a miniatures game. I played a game with him and headed home.

I started spray painting a board I was making for my X-Wing game and I ran out of paint. I knew I needed to go to Bunnings but suddenly the weird anxiety kicked in and I really didn’t want to go.

This time I pushed on through got out there and bought the paint (I even got asked for ID – “Are you over 18” – “I’m 34!”)

On the way home I felt pretty pleased with myself for doing it and also being outgoing with the games shop man.

It feels weird being proud of going to a couple of shops and not hiding in the house but some days it really does feel like a victory. I think telling all you friendly friends (EIGHT POINTS – I’m allowing friendly now) is another step on getting this stupid thing under control for good.

I still feel a bit weird now but then I am quite a bit weird.

FRIENDS FRIENDS TEN POINTS WIN!

The Story So Far

Damn you Wil Wheaton

It’s been a while since I was honest and open and super personal with you my friends. No long essay this time just a note that it took a video from Wil Wheaton to convince me to go see someone. Wil Wheaton REALLY annoys me (mostly on TableTop) but he hits so close to home in this video that I almost fell off my chair. Damn you Wil Wheaton, damn you.

The Story So Far

Meds

Morning friends,

It’s been a week since I went to see a Doctor about my anxiety problems and a week of taking medicine for it.

The first day was actually pretty amazing. The relief of having the appointment out of the way and it going really well was massive. I took the first tablet and felt a bit foggy for a couple of hours but was otherwise fine. I was even able to go out in the evening with friends to an unfamiliar venue and have a really pleasant evening.

Things went a bit downhill from day 2 onwards. I’d spoken to the doctor, pharmacist and read up on the Internet about side effects so I would know what to expect. I was however not really prepared for how it would feel.

Nausea and headaches are easy to explain but the weird foggy spacey feeling is harder to put into words. I wasn’t able to concentrate on anything and felt like my mind was drifting off. Part of it was like forgetfulness but not quite. More like I have the thought but I just can’t access it at the moment.

It was not pleasant and I did not want to be around people or attempt to drive whilst feeling like this so I stayed home from work.

Another side effect of this kind of medicine is that it can actually make the thing you are taking it for worse. This was really weird and I had a few ‘anxiety incidents’ with all the physical symptoms but none of the worry. I did get anxious about booking my appointment with a psychologist but Alana helped me with that.

I started to worry that people would be able to tell I was being spacey and returning to work became a source of anxiety. I arranged to take the whole week and was able to get past that issue.

By Wednesday the side effects where worse in the morning but fading into the evening. I had some friends come around for some games of 40k in the evening. I almost cancelled because I was worried I would be too spacey to play and they would notice but they are good guys and I knew they would understand. The games went fine and we had a good laugh playing. This gave me a massive confidence boost about interacting with people.

By Thursday morning the fog faded a few hours after taking the tablet and I was able to do some painting. I had not had the concentration before to even try so this was good. I find hobby really relaxing and therapeutic. The process is calming and it’s nice to have a tangible result at the end of it.

Friday I was getting stir crazy so waited for the morning fog to lift and went to spend the afternoon at the nerd shop. My friend works there so we had lunch, played a game and I had a good chat. Walking into the shopping centre did give me a minor anxiety thing but I just put my head down and pushed through it.

So now I’m feeling pretty good. The fog has already lifted this morning, the nausea and headache is mild enough to almost not be there.

The next big steps are going back to work and the appointment with the psychologist next Friday. I hope the side effects of the medication are going to be worth it.

I’ll end on a thank you to everyone, family, old friends and new for being so open and supportive. Couldn’t do it without you all.