Thanks to everyone who reached out to me (and Holly) after my last blog about my anxiety. Even though I was not in a place where I could reply to people (sorry about that!) I read every text, email and Facebook message and in one way or another they all really helped me. Even the ones that were just saying they were sorry I was going through this helped.
Things were feeling bleak for a while when I was at my lowest, and I feel like it was made worse by the fact that I would look at Scout’s beautiful little face and wonder what I had to make me feel like this when I have the most incredible and amazing daughter in the world. I also felt guilty that I wasn’t being the best version of myself for her and that she needed a mum who was well, not one who has a disability and a problem with their mental health.
But then I put things into place to start to help myself -and below I’ve listed some of what I did that helped me. These are all very much what helped ME and they may or may not be the same experience that other people have had.
Things that helped me:
- My mum and dad came to see me and to help me. This was amazing – I finally told them how I was feeling and they came up the next day. They managed to help me unravel a bit about why I was feeling the way I was, but more importantly they made me feel supported and that I had options ahead of me. They also looked after Scout and gave Holly and I a bit of space together which was really good
- I saw my doctor and my doctor took me seriously and he also gave me a plan for how I could move forward. He increased my medication and he gave me some other meds (like tablets to relax me and sleeping tablets) for the short term. He also put a plan in place for what help could be available to me longer-term if I needed it.
- I cancelled my work plans. This one was a lot harder because in my job you can’t just cancel plans, phone in sick or ask someone to cover your work. As a business owner and the one earning the money at the moment with Holly on Maternity Leave, this was a huge amount of pressure. But on the other side of that coin is what happens if I am completely unable to work if this escalates? Well this was the question I was posed by my doctor and I guess it made me think. So, I did the difficult thing and asked for help from my colleagues and they stepped up and made sure that the weekend shoot I was supposed to be doing would go ahead without me. This meant I had a whole weekend that I didn’t have to worry about work which was a massive weight off my mind.
- I got back into a routine. A friend texted me after reading the blog to suggest this and I thought I couldn’t do it because the way my work is means that I don’t really have much of a routine throughout the week – some days will be off filming, some days will be editing, some will be working from home and some will be working from our shared work space. And a few weeks ago I was all over the place with this and that did make things harder. So as much as I wasn’t looking forward to getting into a long edit (think long days, lots of stress, no sunshine etc etc) in fact the routine of it was actually quite good for me. And so was seeing people regularly every day.
- I slept. This one is a biggie because this is a vicious circle. For me, anxiety makes it much harder to sleep and then bad sleep leads to feeling more anxious. So in order to break the cycle I took some sleeping tablets. Only for a couple of nights, but it was enough to make me feel a bit more human again and able to cope with the world.
- I ate better food. Again, this was quite a big one for me because I am intolerant to two quite big food groups (lactose and gluten) and yet I still often eat them and make myself feel bad. Or I skip meals and eat junk instead. So Holly and I made a real effort to eat good food that wouldn’t make me ill and that seemed to help my health generally as well as my mental health.
So, doing all of these things I have started, gradually, to feel a bit better. I know my anxiety isn’t going to disappear overnight. And, most likely, it’s never going to disappear. But it’s getting back to where it was before this last dip. I mean, I’m taking each day as it comes and some days are better than others, but in general things are gradually getting better.