Saturday, 9 January 2010

an anxiety-free week

So, I wrote about my anxiety back in October.

It was a fairly bad time, after some big changes in my life that were really hard to adjust to (and I'm still working on), then also 'me' and some issues I was (and still am) working through in my therapy, and then suddenly a nasty burglary in my street.

I didn't really give the details of the incident at the time. When I went to visit my neighbours the next day, they told me four men had broken into their house and robbed them. They had knives and a gun, and pointed the gun at the man and his brother, and said 'so which one of you wants to die first?' The man had been taken to hospital with slash marks all over his body. The police arrested all four men, but still, it was a pretty scary incident to happen so close to home.

It triggered a whole two weeks of dreadful anxiety where I could hardly function.

Since then, it's eased significantly. I've still been working through the anxiety, and then some (possibly understandable) relapse in my depression. It hasn't been awful, just tough. Good days (which I'm grateful for) and bad days, which are what they are.

This week was my first no-anxiety week since that time.

Sunday was my last bad day. I realised last night that I have not had any anxious feelings or thoughts at all since then.

I attribute this to the snow... ha! Sounds crazy, but this cold and snow has done several things for me. It's been a distraction. The novelty of wearing wellies and kicking up the snow, wrapping up warm and walking everywhere, and then cosying on down at night. Also, I've been exercising more. 45 minutes each way to and from work, walking to the shops etc. This is much more exercise than usual for me, and I feel I have more energy because of it. I've got out more and appreciated the environment around me. Beautiful walk in the park yesterday (see photo).

Plus, less pressure... the snow has meant that at work we haven't been able to rush around doing things, we have had to adapt, catch up on tasks in the office, rearrange appointments, the general philosophy has been 'we can only do what we can do', a maxim that I usually find very difficult to adopt. It's been the same at home. Instead of worrying about what I should be doing, I've been hibernating (it comes very naturally, but sometimes I feel guilty about it, lonely, or pressured by myself to do more). This week I have really adopted that 'fuck it' attitude that my therapist has been trying to teach me. Fuck it, it's too cold. Fuck it, I'll just hibernate. Fuck it. I can only do what I can do.

This is probably a bit of a breakthrough for me, as someone who never ever says fuck it, I am adapting very well.

So, although the freeze brings with it lots of negatives, and people have been struggling with various issues (frozen pipes, no water, heating breaking down, struggling to get to work), I have gained something from it, and am very grateful for my heating working, water not freezing in the taps (and apart from frozen pipe to my bathroom sink which I can live with) no mishaps. I'm grateful for the wellies and thermal socks my parents bought me for christmas, and the many blankets I have at home and a warm cuddly cat. And some lovely phone chats with friends old and new.

I don't know how long I will stay anxiety free. I expect that I will have bits of anxiety here and then, and perhaps it might get bad again, but for now I have this respite, which is wonderful and it's all down to the snow. And me.


Dave King said...

You have obviously made remarkable strides since the robbery, which was not too long back as these things go. May you continue in the same way. Every blessing to you.

SueG said...

What a wonderful post, Annie. I hope things continue to go well.

Tania Hershman said...

as someone who has also suffered from anxiety, I know how much it takes to write a blog post like this and I just wanted to applaud your courage in sharing this. But also I know how much it helps to share, because then you find out you're not alone, that there are many, many of us who understand. How wonderful that this was an anxiety-free week, may it be the start of weeks and months where you don't even notice they are anxiety-free. Once you've had it, I don't know if you ever forget the lows, but lets hope they at least fade. Very good point about exercise too. I'm trying to do that. Keep warm, with your lovely cat. xx

Elizabeth Baines said...

That's so great to hear, Annie!

Becky said...

Hi Annie
So delighted to find your blog here. I know what you mean about having somehow taken comfort from the snow. I feel that too, and just slowing down so that a small walk to the village through the snow, actually felt lovely, instead of charging around thinking I must achieve all different things.
Great to meet you :-)

annie clarkson said...

Thanks Dave for you kind comments, and Sue, and Elizabeth.

Tania, it has been amazing actually to discover how many people have experienced their own anxiety or depression... sharing does help, hope things are good for you right now.

Becky, lovely to meet you x

Megan said...

Beautiful photo - and a very beautiful blog post, Annie. May things continue to go well.
Hang on to that snow, missus, even when it starts dripping away outside


How lovely. I'm so pleased for you with your 7 anxiety-free days in a row: beautiful.


Rachel Fox said...

The enemies within and the enemies without! It's hard. We keep trying.