My Blog

ANXIETY

Sertraline

So the doctor prescribed me 50mg of Sertraline to be taken every day at the same time, I decided to take it in a morning when I have my breakfast. The first few days were hard as I was imagining all sorts of side effects, and as when I had taken tablets before for anxiety (propranolol) I was thinking it was going to make me worse. My brain was playing tricks on me again and actually I was ok. Within a couple of weeks I was feeling much better. Over the next few months I saw a massive difference in myself, I was finally able to go to social events that I had been avoiding.

Side effects

One of the side effects of Sertraline is that it numbs your feelings. I have experienced this side effect, in particular when I had my dose increased to 100mg when I was pregnant. This means that when a happy moment occurs I am still happy but can’t feel it the same as I use too. The hardest thing for me is how it stops me from crying. I have been through a lot of stressful and devastating situations in my person life over the last 18 months and although the sertraline helped me get through them it also meant I could not let out all my emotions by crying. I have always been someone who enjoys a good cry to let the emotions that are building up out but now they are just building and building. I can feel in my head that it is full and if I could just cry I could let it all out and feel so much better. That is actually the main reason I came back down to 50mg a few months ago in the hope I would be able to cry – but no such luck.

Another side effect I have found is if I’m a few hours late or I miss my sertraline (this doesn’t happen very often) but I can really tell I have missed it and so can my family. It sends me down a dark whole where I feel like I’m being swallowed by darkness, I really struggle thinking of anything good in my life (even though I know I have many good things).

 

I know a lot of people who think medication is just a placebo affect and to be honest I was probably one of those people but after being on Sertraline for 3 years now I know it definitely works for me. And although I have had these side effects I am so glad I listened to my counsellor and went back to the doctors and asked for Sertraline. My life has changed dramatically and I have been able to go on holiday with my family a few times, I have been numerous days out where I would not have been able too. This has impacted my children lives so much that they can finally be part of a family that goes out on days out rather than their mum not being able to manage it or ruining it while out with panic attacks.

So if you are reading this and considering going to the doctors – I say do it. Counselling and medication have really helped me.

This is not to say anxiety is no longer a problem as it is – it is just managed better!

Thank you for reading.

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ANXIETY

CBT again (part two)

Sorry it has taken me so long to write this blog, I have been super busy with my children and I have struggled knowing what to write as my memory of this time is not so good.

I was seeing my counsellor every two weeks and I enjoyed going and talking through how I was feeling but I was struggling completing the tasks she set me for home. I was trying to retrain my brain into knowing that certain feelings and symptoms were normal and not due to me being about to have a panic attack but to be honest I was failing. I would try and tell myself that it was all normal but I would head in to another panic attack. Then my counsellor told me she was leaving as she had a new job, she said she could still see me one more time but then she would have left.

I knew I didn’t want another counsellor as it would mean starting all over again and what if I didn’t get on with them – it could set me back. So I decided that after my last session with her, I would finish CBT. The last session we talked about medication. She explained that she thought that I should give medication a go. I explained my worries over it and how propranolol had made me feel worse. She explained that there were other medications and that maybe I should go to the doctor and ask to be put on Sertraline as she had heard good things about it. I knew she was right – that I had to try something as I didn’t want the rest of my life to be like this. Worrying about having a panic attack and having them. It wasn’t just my life that was being affected but my husbands and my children as there was lots of things I wouldn’t do.

So I decided I had to go back to the doctors. The doctor put me on 50mg Sertraline a day, my next blog will be about how I found the Sertraline.

 

 

ANXIETY

CBT again (Part one)

When my CBT finally started I had to go to a new clinic where I had never been before. This just made my anxiety worse, (my first round of it had been at my doctors surgery and the counsellor came there). I worried about where it was, where to park, who to speak too, where to sit in the waiting room. I had to fill in a form each week I went which asked for me to circle an option to how I had been feeling that week when it came to certain situations. Most of my answers were that my anxiety was affecting my life a lot. I answered yes to ‘had I been feeling that my family would be better off without me’. The counsellor I saw on my first visit (on the 2nd time around) was a lady, and she asked all the normal questions and wanted to know about how it had all started. But the way she spoke to me was as though she thought I was stupid for feeling that way and like she didn’t understand at all. This made me shut down and not really want to answer her questions and I didn’t want to volunteer any information about myself and my anxiety. I remember coming home feeling even worse than before I had gone. I didn’t want to ever go back. I thought well if CBT isn’t going to help, then nothing is, and I will be like this forever. That scared me. I felt even lower about myself if that was even possible.

After speaking to my husband and my family about my experience, they suggested ringing up and explaining how I was feeling and asking if my previous counsellor was available to see instead. After a few days of not feeling brave enough to do this, I finally made the call. They got my previous counsellor to give me call and I explained what had happened and why I didn’t want to come back. She put me at ease straight away and said sometimes people just don’t click with a counsellor and its perfectly normal to ask for another counsellor.

After that things went a lot more smoothly, I went after two weeks to see my counsellor. Each time I filled in a form answering the questions and at first I didn’t see any improvement in my answers but after a while I did. She gave me different tasks to do each time. I had to keep a diary entry of my symptoms and thoughts going through my head.

During this time we had a holiday to Centre Parcs again, and when we had arrived we had gone swimming before going to bed. I struggled to sleep that first night (it was the first time I had stayed away from home since my major panic attack that had landed me in hospital). I didn’t have a panic attack but I was definitely anxious. But I kept reminding myself how many times we had been to centre parcs and how much we all loved it. I managed to enjoy the rest of the weekend. When I explained to my counsellor my symptoms of how I was feeling that night she explained that actually those symptoms were normal – I was tired from working all day, then driving there and going straight swimming, I was cold and shaking as my hair was still wet. She said that my mind was putting the symptoms down to anxiety but actually they were just normal. She said I need to retrain my brain to know that sometimes these symptoms were normal and not me beginning to have a panic attack.

 

I will continue on with how my CBT went on my blog…..

ANXIETY

Panic Disorder – asking for help

The panicking about having another panic attack continued. I felt low about myself and angry at myself for succumbing to the panic and missing my friends hen party and now her wedding. Another of my friends was getting married in a few weeks and I knew I needed help to be able to go. So I went back to the doctors and asked for help. I explained what had been happening since the last time I saw him and my symptoms of a panic attack. He agreed with the doctor at the hospital who said it was panic disorder. He offered me tablets but after my experience of taking propranolol, I never wanted to take tablets again. I asked if I had could have another course of CBT.

In the meantime, while waiting for my CBT to start I tried my own techniques and my husband helped me. Every time I felt a panic attack coming on I would try to distract myself or if that didn’t work I would lie in a quiet room with a YouTube calm down video on.

During this time, it was my other friends wedding. Me and my husband were going and we were staying in a hotel very close to the venue with a group of my friends (including my friend whose wedding I had missed and her husband). I was nervous about seeing her as I felt so bad about missing her wedding, I had wanted to be there so much. I managed this wedding ok. We set off in plenty of time to ensure we had time for me to stop and use a toilet if needed. I had my water, diarrhoea tablets and listened to music to distract me. For the actual wedding I made sure to sit on an aisle seat so that I could leave quickly if I needed too, but I was determined not to miss another friends wedding. I wouldn’t say I was relaxed during the service, but I was able to enjoy seeing my friends get married. I also knew that they knew all about my panic attacks and they would understand if I had to run out, which made me feel more at ease. The party bit of the wedding was great and I ate my delicious three course meal and even enjoyed a dance. But later through the night, the music suddenly got to me. The loud bass suddenly made me feel very panicky, and I told my husband we needed to go back to the hotel as I could feel a panic attack coming on. All our friends tried to get us to stay but I knew I couldn’t. Walking back to the hotel my husband had to basically carry me. I was shaking so much and just couldn’t hold my own weight. We got back to the room and led on the bed, my husband was trying to distract me and he put a YouTube video on his phone but it wasn’t really helping. My breathing was getting faster, he decided to get me in the shower to try and cool me and calm me. This worked a bit and after he distracted me with playing cards. But the thought of staying in a hotel overnight was frightening, as the last time I had done that I had ended up in hospital with a panic attack and I had thought I was going to die.

I did try and stay but my mind wasn’t having it. So we decided it was best to drive home. I hadn’t been drinking (as it makes my panic worse, so I was able to drive home).

 

Even though I hadn’t managed to stay out overnight I hadn’t missed my friends wedding so I was proud of myself for that and I had had a good time at the wedding.

ANXIETY

A and E – Panic disorder

The trip to the hospital was long, the paramedic sat in the back with me was talking to me the whole way, she was telling me about her own dealings with anxiety and how she had only recently returned to work about an episode of panic attacks, (il never know whether this was the truth but it helped me at that time, knowing I wasn’t the only person going through it). When we got to the hospital they stayed with me for a while but as the hospital was so busy I was just on a corridor on the bed I had been on in the ambulance. By this time my breathing had calmed down and my heart rate had slowed but I was still on edge. They finally got me a room and a nurse came and did all my obs. They decided I needed a blood test and told me it would be a few hours wait for the results and that I could not leave until they were back as they were unsure what was wrong.

I realised at this point that I had missed my friends wedding. My husband had rang another friend to let them know what had happened and how we wouldn’t be there. I couldn’t believe I had made it all the way to Essex but had missed the wedding of one of my best friends. It was a long wait for my blood results and the girls were getting bored and started playing up, but at least that meant my attention was on dealing with them. My husband was amazing throughout all of this. We spoke about what we were going to do, but as I was still very panicky (my breathing and heartrate were back to normal, but the thoughts in my head and the feeling of not really being with it were still there) we decided we needed to cancel the other hotel and drive home.

My blood test results came back normal and they said I had suffered from a panic attack and that the reason my obs had been funny was because I hadn’t eaten anything for so long. I asked them what they could do to help me return home without having another panic attack. I wanted them to inject me with some sort of relaxant but they said they could not give me anything and that I would have to see my own doctor at home for some medication. This made me even more panicky as I didn’t know if I could make it the whole way home. My husband convinced me to just take it one step at a time, and the first step was to walk to the car. I did this, he was driving (obviously in the state I was in I could not have driven a car), and then we set off. I remember feeling like I was in a trance and that I should be locked up in an institution. I thought I would never feel normal again. I listened to one song continuously – ‘Cheerleader’ I sang along to it with my knees pulled up to my chest. Somehow we got home. I went straight to bed but I couldn’t sleep as I was still feeling on edge. This lasted all night and the next day. It was like I was going to slip into another panic attack at any moment, my brain would not stop whizzing, my heart was beating faster than normal and I just didn’t feel normal at all.

The next day my husband persuaded me to come with them to a playcentre (seen as the girls had missed out on the wedding and we had also planned to go to London the day after the wedding to see Buckingham Palace). I did go, and I spent most of the time going to the toilet and back, I felt sick and I did not enjoy being out of the house one little bit. I knew a panic attack was on its way.

As soon as we got home I went upstairs and within 10 minutes of being home a panic attack had started. My husband didn’t know what to do. He had the girls to think of who had no idea what was happening to their mum and were worrying about it. He was worried himself and then I was in a full blown panic attack again. He rang his mum to come and help. I tried listening to Cheerleader to try and calm me and then I tried listening to a YouTube calming video, which talks you out of your panic attack. I did settle down once listening to this but I still felt on edge for days after, just waiting for another panic attack to start.

I was now worrying about having a panic attack. Panic Disorder is what I had developed and it was horrendous.

ANXIETY

“I’m dying”

So I had missed out on my friends hen do and also on over £200 on which I had already paid out and didn’t get to enjoy. I felt awful, £200 is a lot of money to waste when we do not have much money and I have a family to provide for. We had already booked our hotels for the wedding, and I was determined to be able to make her wedding. It was in Essex and the church was quite along way from the venue so we had two different hotels booked, both premier inns but one near the church for the night before and one for near the venue for after the wedding.

The day we had to travel to Essex I was working during the day and the girls were at school and we were to set off once we had finished. I tried not to think about the journey during work, but I didn’t dare eat as I was scared of needing the toilet while in the car. I had taken diarrhoea tablets (as I now took with me everywhere and took before I went anywhere). My husband was meant to drive but he had not managed to sleep the night before and was shattered. So I had to drive, I took toilet roll and bin bags in the car with me so if I needed the toilet I could go in the car if the worst came to it. I managed really well driving, listened to music to keep me calm and played I spy and Who am I? with the girls. As we were driving down, our friends who had set off earlier in the day had rang to say that the M25 was closed due to an accident and that the traffic was not moving. This got me panicked. So we decided to stop at a services for me to go to the toilet and I got a subway as I had not eaten all day. We got back in the car but I had asked my husband to drive as I had been working all day and then driving for five hours by this point so I was tired, hungry and anxious. I only managed to eat a couple of bites of my sandwich as I felt sick with my anxiousness. The next three hours were so long, we kept getting stuck in traffic that was not moving, I was desperately trying to keep myself calm by playing games with the girls, singing to the music, opening the window to cool myself down. By the time we arrived at the hotel it was nearly midnight and so we unpacked the car and all climbed into bed. We were all sharing a room, and the girls and my husband fell asleep pretty quickly. I tried to eat a couple of biscuits as I knew I hadn’t eaten all day but I really had to force them down.

That night was probably the worst of my life – I did not sleep at all but instead spent all night panicking. I don’t even know what I was panicking over as I was now safe in a hotel room with our own toilet but I just could not calm myself down. I didn’t want to wake my husband as I knew he had not slept the night before. I just lay there shaking, my heart beating so fast and worries going over and over in my head. I remember my husband hugging me at one point in his sleep and he suddenly woke up and said why are you shaking so much and told me to slow my breathing down. But I could not.

In the morning we went into the pub next door for our breakfast (which was included with the room). I knew I needed a lot of food to get my strength up after not eating the day before and being awake all night panicking. I put lots of food on my plate and went and sat down to eat, but the first mouthful had me running to the toilet to be sick. I then told my husband I did not feel well and I left them to go back to the hotel room. Walking to the room, I had to hold on to the wall as I was shaking and struggling to stay upright. When I got back to the room I sat on the toilet for a while, shaking so much. My breathing was erratic and my heart was beating so fast. I thought I was dying. By the time the girls and my husband came back to the room I was a complete mess. I was screaming at them to get me help, I told them I was dying. My husband had to try and calm me but also calm the girls down (they were only 7 and 5 and their mum was telling them she was dying).

It got so bad that in the end my husband phoned 111. But they were taking so long to get back to him and I was just getting worse that he ended up phoning 999. An ambulance turned up not long after and they did my obs. They asked me to control my breathing but I couldn’t. They said they thought it was a panic attack but something in my obs was worrying them and so they wanted to take me in to the hospital. They had to call for an ambulance as the one that had attended had been a car and they couldn’t take me in that.

My husband said he would get the girls ready and pack up the hotel room and then come to the hospital. The paramedics had to decide which hospital to take me too as there was a few all within the same distance of the hotel. They decided on Harlow.

ANXIETY

Continuing Anxiety

For the next year things were still the same. I would worry about going to the toilet and I would get myself worked up before going anywhere, but I was trying to use the tools I learnt from CBT and make sure I still went to different events. I managed to go to the Grand National – although I did have a bit of a panic when getting on the train. I had to sit near the toilet, I made sure I had taken diarrhoea tablets before and I took a bottle of water with me. My husband kept talking to me to keep me calm. The first train was only a short journey and then we had to get off and wait at the next station. There was so many people waiting for the train, I felt a bit panicked at how many people were getting on. When we got on there was no seats left, and we were stood in the doorway with lots of other people. I felt all hot and flustered. I started shaking and I knew I could not stay on. I quickly pulled my husband off the train. He asked if I was ok and I said I could not manage the journey with all those people and not being able to get to the toilet. Anyway, we managed to get on the next train (which was 45mins later) and I managed the day as I knew where all the toilets were and I used them regularly.

We also went on family days out, and I managed to go on them but didn’t always manage all of the activities. On a trip to the farm there was a train ride (and when I say train ride, it was like a tiny train that was just 5 mins to a little playground and then 5 mins there and 5 mins back) I said yes il come on it. But as I sat on the train waiting for it to start I was panicking about the fact I wouldn’t be able to get to the toilet, and I got off the train. My children still got to go on with my husband but I missed out on their enjoyment. Now writing this, I can’t believe I could not manage that very short train trip but my anxiety was so much worse then than it is now. Another time we took the girls on a steam train ride, again it was only short, probably about 10/15 mins each way. I did get on this, but as we set off I started panicking. My husband went to look for a toilet and he did find one but it was an old one that was not in use or hooked up to anything. But I was so panicky by this point, so I went and sat on the toilet to make myself feel better. I didn’t actually use the toilet but it made me feel more at ease knowing I could use it if I needed. But again even though I was technically with my family on the train, I had actually missed being with them.

These were just some of the events I can remember where my anxiety was a major problem but there was a lot more of them.

By the following year one of my friends announced her engagement and the wedding was booked for a couple of months later. Her hen party was organised for a weekend down in London. I so wanted to go, she had been one of my best friends since high school. So I paid for the hen do as I really wanted to be there to celebrate but I knew my anxiety would be an issue. I did my research before and found all the toilets on the train, I found all the toilets for everywhere we would be going. I did feel ok for the few nights and days before. But the night before the hen do I was led in bed panicking. This was my second proper panic attack. My husband managed to calm me after a long time of panicking and he said I wasn’t going on the hen do.

I missed out on an amazing weekend that all my friends had celebrating the last few weeks of my friend being unmarried.

Loneliness

The key to Happiness

I saw this post on Facebook – I am not sure who has written it but I thought it was brilliant so thought I would repost it. I am definitely guilty of waiting for happiness and I do forget to be happy in the moment.

We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another. Then we are frustrated that the kids aren’t old enough, and we’ll be more content when they are.
After that, we’re frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with. We will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage.We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our partner gets his or her act together when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice holiday, when we retire.
The truth is, there’s no better time to be happy than right now. If not now, when?
Your life will always be filled with challenges.
It’s best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway.
A quote comes from Alfred D. Souza. He said,
“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”
This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.
So, treasure every moment that you have and treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time…and remember that time waits for no one.
So, stop waiting until you lose ten pounds, until you gain ten pounds, until you have kids, until your kids leave the house, until you start work, until you retire, until you get married, until you get divorced, until Friday night, until Sunday morning, until you get a new car or home, until your car or home is paid off, until spring, until summer, until winter, until your song comes on, until you’ve had a drink…. there is no better time than right now to be happy.
Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
Work like you don’t need money,
Love like you’ve never been hurt,
And dance like no one’s watching.

Uncategorized

Miscarriage

aaaza“a

Anxious mum30

In 2008/2009 I was trying for my second baby (my first born was 15 months) after a few months of trying I fell pregnant. We were so happy, we rang our parents to tell them and a few weeks later we travelled up north to tell the rest of the family and my close friends. I was only 9 weeks but i’v never been good at keeping things to myself and I wanted to share my good news. Everyone was happy for us, probably abit shocked that I was only 21 and pregnant with my second child but it’s what I’d always wanted to be a young mum.
We went back home a few days later and after having sex I bled. I didn’t think much of it but spoke to my mum who said maybe I should phone the midwife. My friend came round for a play with her…

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babies and miscarriage

Egg donation

Recently I donated my eggs and I am writing this post in the hope that it will encourage others to do the same.

I have known of a few people who have struggled with fertility for many different reasons and I saw on Facebook an advertisement for egg donars.

At the time of seeing this advertisement I had only recently had my little boy and I had had my tubes tied as I was sure I had finished having children. So I contacted the egg donation centre by email and explained that I was interested in donating my eggs but that I had had my tubes tied and I was currently breastfeeding my son. They replied to say I could still donate but I would have to wait until I had finished breastfeeding.

So as soon as my son stopped breastfeeding at 9 months I contacted them again. They sent me lots of paperwork for me to complete including a family genetic history for three generations.

The next part was to go to the centre for a scan to check my ovaries and also a blood test to check for any genetic problems and to check the quality of my eggs.

All came back good so I had to have counselling to check that I understood the process and what would happen afterwards and how at the age of 18 the children born of the eggs could come and find me if they wished.

I also spoke to my own children and my family about the process and what might happen. My children were abit put out and said they didn’t want another sibling but I explained that it’s just me helping some other people become mummies and that I don’t see them as mine at all.

Then it was time for the recipient to be contacted and check they are happy with me as a donar (they do not know any identifying information). This happened quickly as there are so many people waiting for eggs but not enough people donating.

I then had to start injections and going for scans every 2 days to check whether the eggs are ready for collection.  The injections were fine and I didn’t really have any side effects.

The actual donation day was fine, I was sedated and then had time to recover afterwards and hopefully I have helped someone have a child. They did manage to get 25 eggs from me even though the average is 10 and I did joke as to whether I should get a bonus for the amount they got.

I am hoping to do it again in a few months.

So please if you are able look into donating your eggs to help people have a baby please do! It is a great experience to know you are helping someone and if you are worried about the cost you receive  £750 compenstation to cover petrol and other costs you incur.