The Vault Regulars

Friday, September 27, 2019

Anxiety - Progress to date.

My holiday to Greece has come and gone. Sheila made our friends who live in Greece aware of my ongoing problem and forewarned them that i may be quiet, a little vague at times and basically not to be offended if i just had to leave at any point.

When we met up, the greetings were same as usual and they understood what was happening with me and fortunately they had also experienced a similar situation with one of their relatives. He had to be taken to hospital.

Our flight went without any problems, in fact i was asleep before we took off and i only woke up when the coffee was being served about half an hour in.

My first week passed with just a couple of days where i wasn't feeling good. For one full day and night i was shaking and feeling sick. I don't know what set it off but i just went to bed.

I had been told not to set myself any goals which were possibly unachievable. I decided that I wanted to get to running 5km and walking 10km before we came home.

I still find it difficult to understand how I got into this situation and the general public, which I include myself, have absolutely no idea just how anxiety and panic attacks affects your daily functioning. How the brain almost stops, how your energy disappears, how the muscles change, how eating changes, how breathing changes, how thoughts change, how dreams change. And much more.

Recovering from this takes time and that time differs for each individual. I'm lucky to have had great support from friends, neighbours and family.

Anyway, back to Greece. My first run I managed just over 2km and was shattered. Luckily we had a pool at the villa and sun beds to relax on. It was 35 degrees.
I didn't run the next day but we walked everyday starting off with short walks and by the end of the holiday we walked almost 15km of undulating paths without any problems.

Running was hard but again just pushing a little bit every time I finally managed 6km before we came home. So I beat my goals.

As the time to come home was on the horizon I started to panic a bit. I didn't know why, I just didn't want to do the trip. I had been so relaxed for the last three weeks and I was feeling good I didn't want to go backwards or remember where I had been mentally. But, as I kept telling myself, at some point I would have to face it anyway so get it done.
We actually had a good trip home without any real issues apart from a 40 minute delay leaving Kefallonia. All the transport clicked into place like clockwork.

The holiday did do Sheila and I a world of good. Im feeling more like my old self but I know the medication still holds me in the middle ground, I don't get over excited and I don't get depressed. In October I have to go back to the doctors and hopefully I can reduce the meds and ween myself off it altogether.

Hopefully by Christmas I will be fully recovered and I will start hiking again. In my 1st post about anxiety I said I doubt that I would ever backpack again, well I'm not giving it up without a fight. Hopefully next spring I will do some weekends out. They don't need to be long hikes, just short ones will do with a couple of overnight camps in familiar territory.

This will be my last post on this subject and if I have helped just 1 person cope then I'm glad I put it in the blog. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Some improvement thankfully.

Sheila wisely suggested that we do a dry run to the airport. So a few days before leaving for Greece we got the train and did the journey. Although I was apprehensive things went ok.
Come the day we were leaving properly, the trains were cancelled. Northern Fail again.
Luckily a neighbour took us to the airport.

I felt ok going through passport control but once through I felt disoriented. Even though I had been through the airport dozens of times I wasn’t sure where I was. Only when we sat down did things start to appear familiar.

Apart from a slight delay with the flight everything went ok. I think I slept quite a bit.
Our arrival in Greece was without incident and we were through arrivals and into the taxi within minutes.

The first couple of days we just chilled out and then decided to do a ferry trip. On the way back I didn’t feel good and couldn’t stop shaking. My uncomfortable feeling lasted for a day and a night.

I was determined to start running on this holiday even though my energy levels are still low and my muscles ache. The first run was about 2km. My breathing was awful and I was shattered when I got back. The next run was only a little longer but I actually felt a bit better and my muscles not as sore.

10 days into the holiday and I haven’t had another bad day, but even better my running has improved to 5 km and with my breathing improving. Still my energy level is about 50% of where it was before all this anxiety started but it’s mentally helpful to know that I am improving faster than I ever thought.
The medication is still controlling my emotions but I am learning to live with it.

Let’s hope the next 10 days improve too.

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