It’s all about small steps, spring and well-being

In my last post I said I’d write about few things. I said I’d reflect on holidays, diet, applications and the course I’ve been to. It would be too long for one post so I think I’ll concentrate on the course and holidays first.

I love spring. When the weather becomes nicer and the flowers start flowering I think the world is a better place. And although I do feel better I still get my usual fears. So even though I love spring, the feeling this morning reminded me of last year summer when Graham had chemo and then the memories keep coming back. And then it’s just an easy way to remember seizures and here we go again. The memories are so vivid.

But the fear is not as overwhelming. And it’s not as overhelming not because it became so much better. I think I learn better ways to cope with it. But if I let my mind go wild,  it will overpower me easy and quickly. It feels a bit like an animal in a cage. Exactly this – a wild anima in a cage. But it is still there, still alive and still wild. Maybe I should give it a name?

I still struggle to fall asleep. I’ve found Melatonin a great help. I went recently to Poland where it is widely available. And actually recommended for shift (especially night shift) workers. But what I found really interesting is that in Poland I had absolutely no problems sleeping. No fear.  The holiday was actually so relaxing – I relaxed more than I imagined. Or hoped. And I don’t know if it is because all what happened last year happened in my house in UK. So I have no bad memories in mum’s house in Poland. Or maybe it was the thought that there was someone else with me in the house (mum). So I didn’t feel alone. Maybe it’s the feeling of being alone which is daunting. So although I do know that mum wouldn’t be much help in an emergency situation… maybe just knowing I wasn’t alone was enough. But I have rested and I have relaxed. I haven’t relaxed mentally so well in ages. I could say that my fear-wild-animal in the cage was asleep.

But on the positive –  since I’ve been back I attended a Wellbeing at work course. It was work related but we have talked about wellbeing in physical and mental sense. We were also discussing what’s available in my place of work but also in general what is good for our wellbeing overall.

I thought I’d summarise few things here so I wont’ forget what’s been said.

First of all change – The less we think of condition (reason) the less likely we are going to make changes. People continue to practice unhealthy behaviours because of incorrect perception about the risk they bring. If you perceive condition/reason as serious – you will more likely change habits.

We should be doing 30min of physical activity five times per week. And we need many different types of exercise, yoga, body pump, spinning or resistance exercise (I need to check what resistance exercise is and how can I fit it into my routine!). I was also thinking of doing some yoga. Need to check yoga CDs or books. Or you tube. I’m not very good with YouTube I have to admit.

The other thing for me to check is Dr Jayson Funj and his recommendation about fasting. Which would go nicely with my low carb diet and book by Tom Kerridge. So, just to touch on that – 25th of March I started low carb diet. I knew Tom Kerridge lost a lot of weight but I didn’t know that he did exactly that. Low carb diet. I got his book as it was a very good price on Kindle… only about £2!! so recipe book is not the best on Kindle but  hey, beggars can’t be choosers!! I got inspired by his introduction and advice. I think it summarises the diet very well. I only glimpsed on the recipes so far, but will have a proper look later. They use quite a few fairly expensive and fancy ingredients so not sure how well it will suit me.

Apparently Happiness is 50% genetics, 40% our control and only 10% external circumstances. I’m not sure what can or can’t we do about the genetics, but 40% in our hands is huge, isn’t it?? And we are not happy when we are stressed or worried. I had no idea that a stress curve existed. Because when we don’t have enough stress – we are in stagnation, have no motivation to do anything. The same if we have too much stress – we start to have physical symptoms and be unhappy which can lead us to being Overstressed and eventually to a mental breakdown. So the point is to keep ourselves in the middle – it’s always about balance. Too little stress isn’t good for us either. I have not really thought that some stress is needed. It motivates us. So we can have many activities to manage stress. We tend to do things to di-stress. We can do things like walking, yoga, reading, meeting up friends – which cover up the stress but don’t take it away (called palliative). Or we could for example drink more alcohol or eat chocolate – they help us feel better for a short while but the stress does come back and they can be harmful (called Indirect activities). And finally we could do meditation or mindfulness for example which would be a Direct activity which helps us acknowledge the problems and improve the situation.

It is recommended to have a selection of palliative type activities so we don’t rely only on one. They help us to reduce stress. I think it also works for worrying and anxiety. That leads us to the Fight or Flight response of our brain. I admit this is something I have to look into more. But one sentence I’ve heard which caught my attention was: in stress our mind can manage only two decisions – it either fights or flight. And nowadays, in current society exposure to prolonged stress keeps our mind in that state for too long. Plus neither of them really works. You can’t fight or flight really from your problems. To help ourselves dealing with stress it is recommended to increase physical activity or keep stress diary and mindfulness.

Interestingly we covered a bit of CBT as well.

We have an event A and we have it’s consequences C. And event makes us feel in a certain way. But in between A and C is – B our perception of the event which can change the consequences. This is a pause. In fact instead of REACTING to an event we should pause and learn to RESPOND to it. it is so powerful, isn’t it? We have a choice how we RESPOND. And the way we respond we can learn. Pause is good. We can re-train our mind.

I think I’ve written it before here but it comes back to the positive affirmation and law of attraction. If you say something often enough you will believe in it. And we tend to do that we negative things and take them as facts. “I’m useless”, “I’m fat, ugly, worthless” etc etc But instead let’s talk to ourselves “I’m pretty, sexy, intelligent”. Why do we believe more ourselves talking negative things than positive?? I’m sooo guilty of it. But actually – why do I repeat to myself all those negative comments and BELIEVE in them but when I try to say something positive I dismiss it straight away. Oh no, let’s try it. Let’s talk to ourselves positively and imagine if only it’s true – if we repeat it often enough we may actually believe in it as well 🙂

Thoughts are not facts. Especially negative as they can cause more harm. Change your mind, imagine you are in a court and put your thoughts for a judgement. Challenge your thoughts like in a court. What evidence do we have it is true? Our brains have a negative bias.

We are spending too much time to try to control things we have no control over. What we can’t change we need to accept and try not to make judgement. That brings us up to John Kabat Zinn as someone who brought us mindfulness. And as in a circle  – brings me back to Headspace. Meditation. Something I started last year and stopped.

And just to end this rather long post, apparently we should be doing 3 things each day to promote mental wellbeing.

  1. something which makes us happy
  2. something which gives us sense of achievement (even small, like cleaning, knitting etc)
  3. something which makes us close to someone, intimate (can also be small – to open up to someone or even just stroke a cat

There are also 5 ways to wellbeing. CLANG

  1. C – CONNECT friends, family, relationship at work or outside
  2. L – LEARN learn something new
  3. A – ACTIVE physical exercise
  4. N – NOTICE take a notice, mindfulness, be in a moment, practice gratitude, consciously think of few things you are grateful for
  5. G – GIVE give to others, but don’t forget to give to yourself too.

But if I go back to the beginning, where I said that my PTSD/anxiety – my fear – I cope with it better. If I look back – I did unconsciously exactly what’s been recommended in the course. I love my friends and appreciate friendships so much in life. I try to learn something new – I signed for swimming lessons and I do mean to learn Spanish. I try to be more active. I practice gratitude and positive thinking. And I learnt to give and be kind to myself. And I think the diet helps as well.

So overall – small steps. It’s all about small steps. You can’t overcome fear and anxiety all at once. And that’s what I wanted to do. But the small step technique is like a water going around a stone. If it goes long enough it will finally make a change.

Happy Easter if you celebrate! 🙂

 

Morning thoughts

I came across a dispute in press between P. Morgan and W. Young about PTSD. The first criticized the other saying that he hasn’t got PTSD but WNTS – Whiny Needy Twerp Syndrome. I don’t know much about W. Young life or what traumas he has or hasn’t had in the past. But I cannot see why would someone labelled himself PTSD or anxiety sufferer if he hasn’t felt that way??? It is certainly not a state to desire to be in.

I think P. Morgan said that PTSD term was much overused as most young celebrities these days or maybe even most people claim to suffer it. I also read somewhere that his family member was a war veteran and suffered trauma there and had a “right” to call himself PTSD sufferer.

I definitely agree that trauma during any war is huge. And I’m not surprised that people experience metal health problems afterwards. But I think that any trauma can cause PTSD syndrome. It all depends how we reacted to it at the time. We also perceive trauma differently. Some things would be traumatic to anybody, but other events would be traumatic to only certain people. Personally I do believe if the first time I witness Graham’s seizures happened in a different circumstances – maybe if I was with someone or maybe if I just read about epilepsy and I’d know from the beginning what was happening OR even if it happened in the hospital at first instance – all would have caused a different response. I can pinpoint in my memories exactly the moment when I felt “the impending doom” and that activated the fight or fright response.

I’m not an expert by any means, but I just think that possibly PTSD is an illness of new century. Of our times. Or maybe it has been there for ages, but people did not admit they suffered. Or maybe the media these days allow people to speak more freely and reach larger numbers of people so it just seem more common.

The problem with mental conditions is that you cannot confirm them as easily as physical ones. Or some of the physical ones. Let’s take diabetes. You perform tests – blood sugar tests and here we go, Voila! we have confirmed condition. And even if you think it’s crazy so many people in our society these days have diabetes – you can’t really argue that’s true. Can you? Because we have tests results. And those results are not subjective. Everyone will interpret them in the same way. And luckily we can tailor the medication to treat that particular problem. Luckily there is an antidote. But diabetes is also an illness of our twenty-first century. The diets changed, food changed, more convenient food, more carbs, more stationary lifestyle.

I don’t think our brains are designed to deal with the twenty-first century problems either. We cannot, unfortunately, just perform a test. As answers would be subjective and so would be interpretation of the test. But still I cannot see how someone who hasn’t got a problem would fabricate the fact they do. To get attention? To get sympathy? I don’t know how the celebrities world work. But I suppose fabricating a problem itself would show that someone has some sort of issues anyway – need of approval etc.

As simply saying it is really not fun to have anxiety or PTSD.

Change is possible

I haven’t written for a while. And I’ve missed it. I have so many thoughts in my head and I think it would have made few excellent posts. But then I have no time to write.

I actually started a post couple of weeks ago and I’ve deleted it. It was very negative. I was in a point where life got on top of me. Too much stress, tiredness. Mainly at work. But it influenced the rest of my wellbeing.

I have always been a believer (even though last year challenged it big time), that when we have a question in life an answer will be given to us in one way or another. It may not be presented as an answer – we may need to put some jigsaw puzzle pieces together, but nevertheless the answer will come. Last year I did not have patient to wait for answers also they were particular answers I wanted. Not even answers, I wanted certainty. All my world has been collapsed and put upside down. But since, when I calmed down I can see that some answers are given to me one way or another.

I have been to a wellbeing at work course and it was absolutely packed with information relevant to me. The counselling course I’m doing all about self exploration and self discovery.

But I would like to start from few quotes….. The first one is

“Learn to wait; invariably either things will change or your heart will”.

And that is so true. If someone told me last year I’d feel better, I wouldn’t believe. I’m not all right, I’m not 100%. I’m not and maybe never be in the place I was before. But I’ve heard today that change is good. Embrace change as it makes us grow. We should be like bamboo sticks in a hurricane. We should bend but not snap. And when the hurricane goes away, we should bounce back to even better place than before.

And that leads me to another quote of today:

“You can’t stop the waves. But you can learn to surf”.  John Kabat Zinn

I tell you my list of books to read is even longer…. But anyway, we CAN change. It is like the quote I loved so much before by Frankl – When you can no longer change the circumstances, we are challenged to change ourselves. And we CAN change.

This post becomes slightly long now and   I won’t cover everything I want… but I’ll make myself a little reminder what I need to do.

  • Go through my audiobook The Worry Trick
  • Summarise my todays course
  • Review some new applications
  • Reflection on holidays and diet

Positivity

I was meant to write last few days actually but it got so busy at work and I become frustrated and very tired. Frustrated about work and politics. I was going to write that I felt so much better. I was thinking about last year, how difficult it all was and how low I felt. It is a horrible place to be.

I don’t think it’s the best method in mental health problems but “it could always be worse”. Also I remember when I was in the middle of last year I was going through all of it, I discussed it with one of my friends and she said “I can get used to anything”. Why can’t I? Flexibility.

So, I feel better. I am doing positive affirmations as much as I can, when I remember and have time. But as soon as I have few things piling up or change of my routine – the anxiety comes back. My daughter isn’t well, I’ve been up most of the night with her. The dark scenarios I saw in my head…. But after imagine the worst, I felt – it’s not bad. What I have now it is NOT bad. As it could always be worse. Maybe if I tried I could get used to anything as well???

My evenings are much better. My nights… not. I have problems falling asleep and then I wake up with any noise. But the falling asleep is difficult. I increased my melatonin to two tablets 2mg. It’s not a big dose at all. But sometimes it helps. I still take sleeping tablets but I try not to rely on then and take them occasionally. It’s sad as sleep was never ever my problem. I could sleep anywhere, anytime – no problems. Fell asleep in 30seconds!!

Maybe it’s just time. Maybe at least I know what I’ve got and I can deal with it – at least it is not worse. But tiredness and change of routine definitely triggers my anxiety so need to remember that. I need to remember that whatever I think in moments like that is NOT prediction of the future.

Sometimes I think life is so much piling up. I have no time to catch up with everything I want. But need to take day by day, moment by moment. Not to overthink, not to go ahead in the future. I am actually coping all right. I’m trying.

To add to it even more, I started diet. I looked at the mirror and thought – enough is enough. It’s only good to say – don’t think of it now, there will be time to lose weight. Well, the time is now. I started swimming lessons so that’s completely new to me 🙂 I try to get going with the law of attraction – good thoughts bring good events. But I also get on with my crocheting. I finished one blanket and the second project is well underway 🙂

So maybe flexibility and change of focus is the answer. Law of attraction, positive affirmation and change of focus. Yes, life is not easy. Yes it’s more than I could think I would have to deal with. But I am strong.

Finished blanket 🙂
Pepper’s favourite!

Discoveries

Hello 🙂 I have noticed something – I received couple of likes on my last post! 🙂 this is incredible! Thank you so much for reading my blog. If you want to say something, please do. Sometimes it is nice to hear what other people think or even just feel you are not alone.

I’ve been thinking today about Keith Flint – The Prodigy singer. Someone has recently told me that they don’t believe it was a suicide and media are feeding us with all that rubbish. I do believe. I used to love Prodigy and actually I still do. I wasn’t biggest fan, can’t say I know much about Keith. But I can imagine a bit how possibly he felt. Of course I’m not him and we can never say we know exactly how someone else feels. But… the news said that the last time he was seen was eating lunch or dinner with his personal trainer and cheering about breaking his personal best in some sort of sport achievement. He was also joking with some locals in the pub. And then he killed himself. Later that night. So, was it planned? Was he really cheerful knowing in his head that it was his goodbye? Or…. was he actually enjoying the moment and even forgot he is lonely/depressed…. and needed people. Needing their company. Enjoying the chatter and food. Then coming home and…. bum, loneliness. Nothing, Empty. Maybe he hit a very low bottom and just decided he couldn’t deal with the lows any longer. I don’t know. But that’s what I think is probable.

As I feel similar. Not suicidal. No. It’s more about feeling the very low. People go, leave you, go back to their lives (which always ALWAYS seem happier, fuller, better than my own) and then you feel empty. Lonely. And so stuck with the same problems.

I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. I’m aways so hyper alert. Always expecting something to happen, something bad to happen. Not allowing myself to relax. I keep thinking if I do relax then life will kick me in the backside. That reminds me of dad drinking actually. When I was the same, always alert if he was doing it. Hypervigilent.

I was going to go back to the first time it happened and go through my emotions but I can’t tonight. Graham found new job (he lost one and was unemployed). And I should be happy. But of course he can’t drive and I’m worried about him taking buses, getting up early and coming back late.

I did have a strange thought last week though. I realised if I wasn’t with Graham that I would be scared and afraid for someone else as now I KNOW it is inside me, what stops someone else to have a seizure? I realised that’s not outside world it’s inside me which is struggling. That it does not really matter what is happening outside, but it’s inside which needs to be changed. But I lack of knowledge how to change it. I’m just stuck. Stuck in repeating the same thing – I’m scared. I’m sick and tired of feeling scared.

 

Positive affirmations

“We attract to ourselves what we hold inside. Every circumstance, every person, every situation that we attract and experience is based on what is inside of us. Could you ask for a more magnificent system than this?

Your life is a reflection of what you hold inside you, and what you hold inside you is always under your control.”

“The Secret Daily Teachings” Rhonda Byrne

I haven’t written for a while. Things went a bit pear shaped. I think just after my last post I had a bad week of a complete re-lapse of fear and panic. I had panic attacks and complete depression. I was petrified, scared and lonely.

I don’t know how exactly I managed to get up but I have. Things are not perfect. I made myself so busy not to think about stuff that now I have no time to rest and it is not good either. But nevertheless things are a bit better that they were.

I’m still listening to my audiobook “The worry trick” and I still think that the advice given in that book is amazing. I have to go back though and make few notes to put it all into some sort of whole as it’s a bit scatty. I also came across few people talking about positive affirmations and the power of positive thinking. Hence the quote above. I thought I would give it a go. I watched few Polish You Tube videos about it and the lady there said that we should tell ourselves how good we are and how attractive we are and all the positive thoughts. And then someone may say it’s a lie. But when we say to ourselves we are fat ugly and unattractive – we lie as well. So may as well lie positively. And then I thought – why not. Will give it a go.

I found a book with daily teachings and I’m trying to force positive thinking.

I also got a call from Healthy Minds again. I’m not sure if I mentioned it before but I have been now diagnosed with PTSD not quite GAD. So PTSD is a post-traumatic stress disorder. And guess who deals with it – Healthy Mind, same organisation which I have done my CBT therapy with! Why they didn’t diagnose this before I don’t know. But now I’m back to the beginning of the queue as they discarded me after last year therapy so now I have to wait for a therapist to become available. that’s ok though as it’s been such a long time I’m struggling with this that waiting a bit longer is not going to make much difference As long as I’m getting the correct treatment this time! The good thing is they didn’t offer me their lovely online course (which I hated) and I was straight away referred to a fact-to-face therapy.

On top of fighting with my own mood, Graham has lost his job and he is quite down. It’s so difficult to stay strong for others when you don’t feel strong yourself. Sometimes all I want is someone to look after me and hug me so tights and say it will be ok, I’ll look after you and I’ll do it. I’ll take care of it so you don’t have to. I know adulthood is all about responsibility. But I’ve never expected that much of it. It is enough to worry about money and job etc when you add health to it, it all becomes overwhelming.

But, I’m still doing what I’ve been doing. The difficulty is that I am fighting myself. My own mind. When the evening approaches I can feel the thoughts coming to my head, mostly “what ifs” and I can feel them and notice them more and more gathering around my head. At the moment I can manage to stop them converting into panic. But I can’t stop them coming. I can see the normal life happening and I don’t feel the normal life yet. But it is looking into the things you do have and appreciate them.

And then there is always Zentangle 😉

Confused

I haven’t written for some time. It’s been a difficult week. I have got very confused as to what I am actually feeling and what is happening.

My daughter has finally got to see someone at school. One year ago I have applied for counselling for her and only just now she has been given the opportunity to see someone. Part of me thought was it worth going over the things when she has managed to cope with it in herself. But if I didn’t use the chance maybe she would cope with it in a completely wrong way like I have coped with my childhood. I want her to have better life. Better emotional and psychological life.

When speaking with the counselor I discovered few things. She brought up few good points, she understood where I come from. I was a bit afraid she’d say I only waste her time as there are people with real problems out there. I’m not sure if it is such a good thing to actually be considered as “real” problem. But nevertheless I felt understood and listen to.

But during the discussion I was told that I probably was misdiagnosed with GAD (I’m not sure about that one. An hour chat is not really enough to establish that) but I have PTSD. I have felt I had PTSD for a while now. the name for it is “complexed emotional trauma”. I was told to get my GP to do a proper mental health assessment to get a correct treatment.

I have tried to call GP but you can’t really get anywhere with them on Friday. I doubt I get far on Monday too.

I have been doing a lot of self-analysis which I am personally a bit sock of now. I have also tried to join Facebook PTSD groups. I have read a lot online about PTSD… as you do. When I read about it online I do have all the symptomps. The flashbacks, nightmares and constant fear and “alert” state are the worst. Well that’s what PTSD mainly is. But when I read about other people experiences on the Facebook groups… I don’t quite fit there.

On top of it I think I might have lost another friend. It really amazes me how much people cannot take other people’s pain. I don’t know why it only come out now. We were talking about things from last year. Maybe they felt they couldn’t say anything last year as I was “suffering” and now when things got back to normal – they can tell me how much I’ve hurt them. Actually it is a good thing in a way. As by no means I wanted to hurt anyone. but it just shows who your real friends are. Things never go back to normal after things like that. There is no normal. normal has gone! and the new “now” is difficult to cope with. I need to learn what to do and how to do it. I’m extremely grateful to everyone who stood by my side. I said it before and I’d say it again – I would have never done it without my friends. But I’m not fully back to being myself. I don’t focus on others now. There isn’t enough me to make sure everyone knows how grateful I am. There is not enough me to be a good friend possibly. I don’t know how long the healing process will take.

I still feel scared of evenings at home. I feel scared of letting Graham go – in case something will trigger a seizure. I know it is silly. I’m still working on myself and I start to believe it is a matter of time. I’ll get there and I’ll be happy again. I asked today everyone at the table to tell one positive thing which happened today. I didn’t give them any warning about it – but I think I keep doing it.

I also need to re-wind and go back to basics. I need to learn what’s mine and what is someone else’s pain/emotion/fear/worry/hurt. It is theirs. Not mine. I think it will be difficult to change the mindset. but hopefully not impossible 🙂

Be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons

The title isn’t really relevant to anything, but I just like it. I decided to become more creating (even more!) and I set up another blog where I’ll be putting my art designs. I don’t want to mix anxiety and creating. Although I suppose they are blending one into another.

I’m still reading (listening ) the book The Worry Trick. I’m intending to go back and listen again and take notes and write them here. But few things which already bring results. Firstly – I think that listening to the book is actually better as it’s almost like sessions with a therapist. Almost.

So I gave up the idea of tick tacs as I’d eat the whole box, that’s how often I had “what if” thoughts. But it has helped me to realise when and how often they appear. The next thing is AHA approach and scheduled time for worrying. Find two minutes each day (best twice a day) and all you do is worry. And repeat the worry out loud, standing in front of a mirror. This is WIERD. It is really really really uncomfortable. I’ve done it once only. But the point is if a worrying thought come up you have an option to tell yourself you’ll think about it at your appointment with worry. As long as you do show up for the appointments. It’s not about dismissing the thoughts.

AHA approach: Acknowledge the thought, Humour it, Activity. So Acknowledge a thought – that your brain is an organ creating thoughts and it is just another thought it your head. A worry thought, an unpleasant thought but it is just a THOUGHT. Not a prediction of future events, not reality. Only a thought. Then you can humour it – you can make a funny song or write a poem. The author suggests limerick or haiku. I’ve tried limericks 🙂 And then resume usual activity – with the thought. Just carry on life as normal. Maybe go for walk? anything you would be doing anyway. The most difficult in this I found – making an effort to worry. As worry is subconscious activity – a bit like occupying your bored brain. But also it’s not pleasant activity so to do it consciously and purposely is a bit weird. But – practice makes perfect. we will see. Below my limericks

Once I had a scary thought
A seizure will happen in a spot
The world will end
My life won't mend
And I'll certainly loose a plot
My tiredness is winning over
And anxiety creeps up stronger
it won't end I feel
It gives me so much thrill
That it will stay here so much longer
Will I sleep tonight she ponders
Sleeping pills make such wonders
But it a straight way
For a long pill-rely
And it can cause life thunders
I'm scared if my worries tonight
will keep me awake at night
I feel so weak
to put up with this shit
Why I can't be simply all right 

What anxiety is to me

So…. I’ve been thinking again while listening to “The Worry Trick” audiobook by David A. Carbonell PhD. I got this book accidentally – I was browsing Facebook as you do and on my news feed it came up with a free trial of Audible application. It came up with that book as an offer so I tried it.

The book definitely has some good points. I’ve been bookmarking the most important bits and I’m going to listen to it again and write it all down. But I think it described perfectly well how anxiety feels. And it feels strange. I’ve been trying to think when my anxiety started. The author suggests we are born with genetic predisposition or even in-born anxiety. And it is more likely to show itself if one of the parents have anxiety. I think I’ve always been somehow anxious but I thought it was shyness. I had many complexes too so put it towards that. I was always scared of things, like driving for example. I was petrified of driving. But some of the things I overcame.

The difference between a bit of stress and anxiety is how it feels. It paralyses you. It starts with a thought (usually with the “what if”. or something like that) and then it follows with a scenario. The problem is that the scenario seems very realistic. It in facts FEELS realistic. In fact, to me it feels like prediction. For most of my life I actually believed I had the ability to intuitively predict bad events. Now… did I really? Or did I have the feelings of anxiety (without realising what it was) and then I believed it was a prediction? intuition?

If we follow with an example. I get anxious about many things – mainly the seizures which seemed to be the biggest trigger for me ever. They freaked me out. The whole situation went out of control completely. So sometimes I get the feeling that what if Graham has a seizure? And then any justification follows: as it happened before at this time, in the evening, on Sunday etc etc. Then I’d try to argue with myself and say but it’s been such a long time, there was a trigger (chemo) or malnutrition after the surgery, blah blah blah, but the anxiety always wins with two answers: either: the first seizure happened before the chemo OR just because nothing is happening now does not mean it won’t happen again. So, after the little silly conversation with myslef in my head I get more and more scared. I then can SEE and FEEL it happening. In fact, the feelings are soooooooo strong that I can literally be almost 100% that the next thing will happen is the seizure. I can literally feel it happening. I can’t find words which would describe how REAL the feeling is. And the more I think the more I’m scared and then it can lead to a panic.

I don’t particularly like talking about it or even imagine it. But another suggestion in the book was that you can’t “unlearn” anxiety when it’s not there. So in a way – it’s like watching horror movie. The more you watch it – the less scary it becomes….

Yes, have used the word “unlearn” as I don’t agree with fighting with anxiety. Or even overcoming. I now after reading a bit of the book start thinking that it’s something my brain learnt.

It’s not just seizures which trigger me. That’s the biggest trigger. But even before it all happen I can clearly recall the evenings when I had a feeling that something bad is about to happen. That’s’ such a common feeling to me. I actually have to say that writing this has completely unsettled me. I feel very anxious at the moment and scared that I’m going to bring the bad thinking to happen by talking about them. But anyway, the prediction of bad thing. I can’t tell you what exactly bad is supposed to happen but I know it is bad.

And that leads directly to feeling dark, and gloom and depressed. And lonely. I feel sooo lovely when I’m anxious. Everybody’s life seems so perfect. Happy. And full. But not mine. I can’t relax since last year, even when things are fine they are not fully fine – at the back of my head the anxiety is awake. I think that what has mainly changed since the seizures, cancer and chemo. That the anxiety does not go to sleep. It sometimes is more silent and sometimes it screams but it is awake at the back of my head all the time.

But I am determined to find a way to make it sleep again. To unlearn the patterns. I just thought I’d explore first what I am standing against before I tackle it. I started from a suggestion in the book to get a pack of Tic Tac (or anything like that which is countable) and each time a “what if”thought comes to your mind – eat (or throw away) one of the sweets. This is to teach yourself to notice how many times the thoughts happen. I only say that I bought 18g packet of TicTacs with 37 sweets in it… and I just went to Tesco to get some more. I’m supposed to do this exercise for a week at least….. I started this afternoon (after school run) so let say 4pm and now is 9pm and I have 26 sweets left. 5 hours 10 thoughts. And I haven’t even counted the anxious feeling I had writing this post. And it can be anything. It can be even change of the place to sit. I usually sit on the sofa but I’m not sitting at the table and part of me keeps whispering in my head that maybe if I change the seat the seizure will happen. How ridiculous is that?? I can see it is ridiculous, I can be embarrassed it is ridiculous. But I’m still scared 😦 Among everything else – it is very tiring to feel anxious.