I want to tell you about the physical aspect of anxiety, as unless you suffer from it you can not even possibly begin to understand how physically paralyzing it is.
Let me set the scene...
This weekend I was supposed to go to an event. I had replied months ago and was anxious from the get go, but I WAS GOING TO GO, ANXIETY WAS NOT GOING TO WIN, not to this, i did not ant to miss it for the world.
It took weeks and weeks of preparation and planning with my therapist on how I was going to approach it, planning every minute detail as much as you can so I could cope with it and prevent as much of the anxiety as I possibly could.
I had a plan.
I was going to drive but the day before I knew this was not possible as anxiety was already so high that I knew extra meds would be needed so it would be unsafe. So train tickets were booked instead. I was due to arrive at 5pm, which would give me an hours rest before starting to get ready (plan, plan, plan!!).
I had my trainer on back-up as he lives in the area so I knew I could call him whenever I needed.
I packed my bag - after making a precise list the week before of everything I would possibly need.
So all was set. Anxiety had been rife the whole week but a full plan was in place , what could stop me from going.
Well what went wrong. . .
Firstly there was a slight change in what was happening when I got there, so that immediately changed my plan and anxiety started to get worse as I cannot cope with changes of plan at the best of time, let alone something like this.
Friday night the bats in my stomach started going and I couldn’t eat, I felt pure sickness.
I was exhausted from the anxiety I’d been having all week, but yet I still could not sleep a wink just tossing and turning just rehearsing my plan again and again and again.
I woke up from the little sleep I had and then the palpitations and rapid heartbeat started.
I was sweating.
And then sick. So sick.
Then the shakes and the tears kicked off, and the sickness continued.
Anxiety was winning despite all the fight I was trying ever so hard to combat.
I knew even if I managed to leave the house and make it to the train station it was unlikely I would get onto the train.
If by some miracle I did it would be unlikely I would even be able to leave the hotel room.
By this point I knew I would have needed my anxiety meds so much that even if I made it there physically I would be there, mentally I would be far, far away and unlikely to be able to talk to anyone anyway!
My wonderful sister took me for a walk to work out what to do, as I really did not want my anxiety to win (a big part of me also did not want to disappoint my therapist!!!).
We went for a walk and weighed up the pros and cons and after a lot of walking and deliberating anxiety won.
As soon as I decided not to go it was like magic… all my anxiety disappeared.
The anxiety may have disappeared but then the pure anger and fury at myself started. Self hatred and the feeling that things were never going to get better with my anxiety (especially social anxiety)
I feel ashamed and disappointed in myself. I also feel (which I shouldn’t) embarrassed that I let my anxiety get in the way. Most of this shame is related to knowing how little people really understand anxiety, and how it can prevent you from leaving the house (sometimes even your bed)
But this experience of mine shows you what anxiety can do and how it can prevent you doing something even if you really really want to do something. It makes it impossible. How ever much you manage the practical side of anxiety, you cannot stop the physical sensations, and sometimes medication just is not enough.
This is just me trying to explain anxiety, but feeling it and going through it is 1000 times worse. . .