Imagine you’re swimming in a beautiful blue ocean. The water is warm and clear, it’s calm and you’re feeling perfectly relaxed. Then, out of nowhere, on the horizon you see a giant wave forming. It’s coming straight for you, building and building in power and height as it comes towards you. You freeze with fear. You can’t outswim it, there’s nowhere to hide. The wave is coming, it knocks you over and you feel yourself taken under. You can’t reach the surface, can’t catch your breathe, you’re drowning…..That’s a bit like what it can feel like to have a panic attack.
I’ve never been a great swimmer, the sheer vastness of the ocean has always scared me a little (actually a lot). And big waves? Forget it! In the past, when I’ve felt a panic attack coming on, when I’ve felt that wave rising, I would turn around and swim away as fast as I possibly could. That is, I would get up and leave. Or I’d just avoid the ocean (aka- situation) all together. But lately? Well, I’m ever so slowly learning to ‘ride the wave’. I feel it coming, I feel the panic rising and I just let it come, I let the wave wash over me. Because here’s the thing, it will eventually pass, the wave does eventually receeed and go back out into the ocean. I might get momentarily swept up in it, but I will not drown, I will not die (even if it might feel that way sometimes!)
My closest friend once said something to me whilst I was mid panic attack meltdown and it has really stuck with me, she said “just remember, you know what this is. You know it’s a panic attack and you know it’s going to pass.” Sounds simple but mid panic attack you can loose all sight of rational thinking. So the other week when I was home alone with our son (hubby was away for work) and I woke in the middle of the night mid panic attack, heart thumping hard and fast, I just lay there and repeated what my friend had said to me in my head over and over again. I let the wave come and wash over me. It’s a really uncomfortable feeling, to just let yourself succumb. It was scary but I did it and I’ve done it again since and I feel like the more I do it, the better I will get at it. Because pratice makes perfect right?
Have you ever experienced a panic attack? How would you describe the feeling? What techniques do you have for getting through them?
I’ve wanted to write this post for some time now but wasn’t sure how to go about it without sharing my story which, at this very moment, I can’t really do because there are some things going on in the background (icky legal stuff) but that’s ok, because I’ve realised that I don’t really need to be able to tell my story to make my point; it’s much bigger than that. I wanted to talk to you all about the importance of having ownership over our bodies and our health. Too many times in my life I’ve felt really let down by medical professionals (doctors, nurses, specialists etc.) and I know of many others that have felt this too. Not feeling heard, being dismissed or misdiagnosed or too quick to medicate and it’s just not right. We all need to start standing up for ourselves and become more educated and assertive when it comes to our own health. Here’s how to do it:
First step is finding a GP that you love. Yes, you should love your Doctor. There are some really awesome ones out there and we shouldn’t settle for any less. It is so, so important to have a doctor that you trust and respect and who also respects you. After a pretty awful interaction with a GP last year, my sister and I embarked on finding a new family doctor. We asked family and friends for recommendations, which is a good starting point, but then we also made appointments to check them out for ourselves. Do this. Shop around for a family doctor and don’t stop until you find someone who you feel completely comfortable with and whose beliefs align with your own.
Remember that you know yourself and your body best. If you feel like something is wrong don’t stop until you get an answer or at the very least, feel that it has been fully investigated. The same goes for your children; you know them best and as a parent it is your job to advocate and speak for your child when they are too young to do this for themselves
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask a lot of questions; ask them until you feel comfortable and confident in the answers and you understand completely what is being said. Do your research (just make sure it’s from a reputable source, not Dr Google) and become educated and informed about your body; knowledge is power.
If you feel you want or need it, get a second opinion. There is nothing wrong with doing that.
If something happens or is said that just doesn’t feel right, speak up and keep speaking up until somebody listens. Doctors are in quite a powerful position and unfortunately, sometimes this power can be abused which is not ok. Doctors are also human and make mistakes too.
Have you ever felt unheard or dismissed by a medical professional? Do you have a great family doctor?
School holidays; I’d actually been really looking forward to it. Watching my boy grow so fast lately, I’ve realised just how much I miss spending our days today now that he is at school and I am back at work. So I was looking forward to it. And we had it all figured out. Hubby and I had managed to juggle our work days around so that we’d both get to spend some time at home with the little man. And then I went and got sick. Always seems to happen on school holidays doesn’t it? Today is day four of laryngitis and tonsillitis; no voice, a horrible cough, heavy headaches and just feeling all round crappy. Woe is me.
A trip to the doctors earlier this week confirmed that it is viral and there’s nothing to be done but rest. Day four and I’m over resting. I’ve been drinking lemon and honey drinks and downing Panadol like it’s going out of supply. And I miss my boy. My hubby and some good friends have done a great job at making sure he hasn’t missed out on the school holiday fun which I’m really grateful for, but also sad to be missing out myself. Yes, I’m aware it could be worse, I’m not dying, I will get better but I did warn you this was going to be self indulgent post so just excuse me whilst I sit here feeling sorry for myself. It’s hard to be sick when you’re a Mum. Woe is me.
I’m also aware this is probably my body’s way of saying slow down. It’s been a busy start to the year (is it really July already?!) With the little man starting school and my return to work, it’s been all systems go. I’m loving it, but it is busy and has been an adjustment for everyone. So, back to bed for some more rest I go and fingers crossed that I’m feeling better to enjoy the second week of school holidays.
Meanwhile, how are your school holidays going? And any suggestions for some shows on Netflix I could binge watch? After all that is probably the only good thing about being sick am I right?
To celebrate International Women’s Day this year my work held a free screening of the documentary ‘Embrace‘ at our local cinemas. I had heard great things about it so decided to invite my sister and Mum along for a girls night out. The film is brilliantly done with a good balance of seriousness and humour. If you haven’t yet seen it, I highly recommend you do. I was a bit worried that the film might be a bit preachy, and to be honest, I was also a bit worried that I might not relate to it. Because here’s the thing, I’ve never had to battle with my weight in the traditional sense. I’ve never struggled with weight gain or trying to lose weight. But yes, I did still relate to the film, because even if I’ve never worried about being ‘too big’ I’ve certainly still had my fair share of body issues.
Case in point; I have a big nose. There’s no denying it, there’s no missing it, I have a big nose and I also have crooked teeth with pointy little fangs that a boy in high school once told me looked like I’d stuck two tic tacs to the top of my gums. I spent many years trying to perfect my smile without showing my teeth. It always looked awkward. And I’m naturally thin…oh yeah, I see you rolling your eyes sarcastically thinking ‘gee you poor thing’ but I can tell you that it was well into my mid twenties before I began to wear skirts or shorts due to being so self-conscious about my so called ‘chicken legs’. I was thirteen when a girl in my class began tormenting over those chicken legs, screaming out ‘anorexic’ across the courtyard every time she saw me. I quickly took to wearing pants, even on thirty plus degree days. That became a bit of a problem when I switchedto a private catholic school a few years later and school dresses were mandatory for girls during summer. I wore them long, under sufferance and great awkwardness. Skinny shaming is totally a thing; I cannot begin to tell you the amount of strangers that have told me I need to ‘eat more’ or ‘put some meat on my bones’ like they actually know how much I eat! Pretty sure they would never dare tell a larger person to eat less so I wonder why they think it’s ok to comment on my weight?
I know someone who commented that the Embrace movie was sending the message to people that it’s ok to be ‘fat and unhealthy’. Umm, no, that person totally missed the whole point! The point is ,health and weight are not synonymous. You can be considered a ‘bigger’ person and still be really healthy. You can also be thin and be unhealthy. It’s not about weight, it’s simply not. It’s about learning to love our bodies and being kind to ourselves. It’s about the things we say to ourselves and the messages we send to our kids. As Nora Tschirner (German actress) says in the film “My body is my home. It’s my soul’s mate”. So take care of it, love it, embrace it. I’m learning to.
Wednesday is usually my day for getting stuff done; it’s the one day of the week that I don’t have to go into the office and I’m kid free. Wednesdays for me usually involve working from home, doing the housework and washing, paying bills, going to the bank and the post office…you know all that boring grown up stuff that you don’t really want to do but needs to be done. But today? Well today I was totally self indulgent and I spent the whole day in bed reading. Hubby was home from work so he took the little man to and from school. It was cold and miserable outside so I cuddled up in bed with my heat bag and my latest read ‘first, we make the beast beautiful’ by Sarah Wilson. Hour later, I have emerged and I just need to share….
I’ve read many books on the subject of anxiety over the years but this one was different. The title and the cover grabbed me from the start, it promised to be ‘a new story about anxiety’ it really was.
As I was reading, there were parts of the book that I couldn’t relate to; Sarah’s life is (of course) quiet different to my own and she has done things I would never even dream of doing; from bungee jumping to taking off on week long hikes alone and living in a deserted shed in the woods for six months. Just reading about that stuff made me feel anxious. Nope, that’s not for me, because of course the control freak in me would never allow anything like that to happen! But there was so much in this book, and in Sarah, that I could relate to. I found myself nodding along furiously to parts wanting to yell “oh my god yes, this!”
By the time that hubby got home from running some errands I had flagged a whole bunch of pages that I wanted to read to him, which he lovingly let me do over lunch (bless him). There’s a part in the book where Sarah talks about how our loved ones can help us when we are feeling anxious or mid panic attack…
“Just be there when we wobble. Just stay. and be entirely certain and solid about doing so, even in the very convincing face of pushback and the frantic wobbliness from us. Your patience and calmness will exist in such stark contrast to our funk that we’ll start to feel silly and return to Earth. Our anxiety does pass.” Umm yes! I’m lucky that my hubby is actually pretty good at doing this. It’s why he’s the one I always want nearby when I’m feeling anxious. He’s great at staying solid and bring me back down to earth.
And this; “don’t confuse our need to control our environment with our need to control you”. Yep, we anxious folks are control freaks but it’s not that we want to control other people, we’re just doing our best to try and control everything else to prevent (gasp) the worst from ever happening. (Of course deep down we know that’s actually impossible, because if we could control that we’d be God!)
And I giggled out loud at the trueness of this one; “Never in the history of calming down has anyone calmed down from someone telling them to calm down”. In fact, it does the exact opposite…thankfully my husband learned this a long time ago!
There were so many other random and weird things that popped up throughout the book that I have always thought to be a ‘Sarah thing’ (me that is, not Sarah Wilson) but now wonder if it’s actually an anxious person thing. Like the fact that I just cannot relax at a day spa but I totally love those cheap and nasty, walk in and walk out, Thai massage places. The best! And why I sometimes like to sleep upside down in bed; putting my head where my feet usually are and vice versa (a trick I introduced to hubby years ago and he now also loves to try when either of us are having trouble sleeping). Or why I’m so bad at making decisions; Sarah explains this so perfectly in her book but I won’t delve into that here, it’s a little complex and I don’t want to give o away.
If you suffer from anxiety I highly recommend you grab yourself a copy of this book. Allow yourself to get swept away into the amazing, raw, yet ever wonderful world of Sarah Wilsons mind. You might just find some comfort in it.
Who knew that something as seemingly simple as choosing a lunchbox can be so complicated? But it really is! I’ve been through many a lunchbox (and drink bottle) in my years, trying to find the perfect one. When my son started kinder a couple of years ago we had to try a few out before we landed on the right one for him. We ended up with the Nude Food Mover, Mini Rubbish Free Lunchbox and it’s done us good for almost two years. But with the little man starting school this year and me heading back to work it was time to update so when Smash Enterprises offered to send me some of their goodies to try I jumped at the chance.
Smash Enterprises have a massive range of lunch boxes, drink bottles and eating accessories; they seriously have something for everyone and everything! Personally, here’s what I look for when choosing the right lunchbox.
Size: Is it big enough? Will it fit all the items I would usually pack for an average school/work day? I also don’t want it to be too big; you want it to fit comfortably in a backpack without having to squeeze it in.
Material: Is is strong and durable? It needs to hold up against being opened and closed constantly and thrown on the floor (because that’s pretty much what most kids do with their bags when they walk in the door). I don’t want to be replacing lunch boxes constantly, that gets very expensive, I want it to last. I also check if the material of the lunchbox is safe (BPA free), insulated (or with the option to fit ice blocks) and easy to wash and dry.
Style: Let’s face it, not only do we want a lunchbox that’s practical we also ant it to be nice looking too! Kids want their lunchboxes to be cool, colourful and fun and personally, I love nice colours and more sophisticated patterns. The style of lunchbox also needs to be easy to open, this is especially important for young children who may struggle with twisting open or unlatching containers for example.
Cost: Too cheap and I know it just won’t last but I also don’t think I shouldn’t have to pay a fortune for a good, strong lunchbox.
So, with all that in mind we laid out our goodies from Smash Enterprises and here’s what we chose:
For the little man:
Clockwise from top left (with item code numbers): Fashion tritan 750ml drink bottle 27263, Dino double decker lunch pack 27302, Green sandwich box 27528,Green cookie movie 27531, 2 Green snack boxes 27529, Green/black snack orb 27345, Green/white gel ice 27527,
I let him choose what he wanted (can you tell he likes the colour green!) but I was very happy with his choices. The lunchbox is insulated and easy to open with zips and I love the idea of using little containers for all his separate snacks and lunch. The drink bottle is perfect size and also has a centre insert that can be frozen to keep the drink cold. Our favourite though is the snack orb; a fun little container to store snacks. Most of these items are from the Nude Food Mover range which is also great for schools that have a rubbish free requirement.
Clockwise from top left (with item code numbers):Large Rubbish Free Lunch Box 27548, Stainless Steel 800ml Teal Drink Bottle 27245, Paint tote 27272, Geometric tent 27268.
The lunchbox ticked all the boxes for me and I love how it has all the separate compartments/containers and pulls apart for easy washing. I’m also totally in love with the new range of adult insulated bags which come in a range of gorgeous colours and patterns. I found it hard to choose so I mixed it up with a tote bag and smaller insulated bag in different patterns and drink bottle to match both.
Now for the awesome giveaway bit. I’ve got this huge bundle of Smash Enterprises and Nude Food Movers products to give away to one lucky family…
It includes: Large Rubbish Free Lunch Box, Checker smash lunchbox, Nude food mover cool skin, Stainless Steel 800ml Teal Drink Bottle, Fashion tritan 750ml drink bottle, Paint tote, Boy ice sheet small 3 pack.
Enough lunch gear for the whole family! All you need to do is leave a comment below telling me what your favourite go to snack is to put in your child’s lunchbox. Look, I’ll admit, I have an ulterior motive here; I’d love some new ideas for what to pack in my son’s lunchbox this year. I’ll let the little man choose his favourite and the winner will be announced on Tuesday 24th February.
If you’re not the lucky winner but are interested in purchasing some of the Smash Enterprise range anyway you can find them Woolworths, Coles, Big W, Kmart and Target or see HERE for a full list of stockists.
Good luck everyone!
Competition terms and conditions: Open to Australian residents only, must provide email address for winner to be contacted, competition opens 6am Tuesday 17 Jan and closes 12am Tuesday 24 Jan.
This is a sponsored post, I was gifted all items shown. All words and opinions are my own.
It seems we say it every year but man, this year has gone so fast! Christmas is over for another year and next week it will be 2017. This is a time when we often sit back and reflect on the year that was and so today, I wanted to look back on this blog and share with you my top five posts for the year (based on views, readership and comments). I’ve also provided a little update on where I’m at today with the things I spoke about in these posts. So here we go, my top five posts for 2016:
The hardest decisions are sometimes the right ones: In this post I talked about my decision to give up working from home. At the time I was working two social media management jobs, plus freelance writing. I took a couple of months off but there was one job in particular that I really, really missed and so I ended up going back to it but with a promise; that I would not work when my son was home. I’ve kept that promise, managing to do the bulk of the work when he is at kinder. Sure, there’s an odd phone call or text message sent here and there but on those days when he isn’t at kinder or it’s the weekend it’s family first all the way! I’m just doing a small amount of hours each week and that’s working well. I’ve been tempted to take on more but I know it’s just not the right time and that’s ok.
Habit, Addiction and the Challenge: It’s no surprise that this post seemed to resonate with so many people. I think we’re probably all a little guilty of using our phones and social media too much. I’m ashamed to say that I have definitely fallen back into some old, bad habits. I pick up my phone way too much. I scroll mindlessly way too much. It’s purely habit….and bad habits can be heard to break! This might be something to work on in the new year.
I will be ok: The response I received to this post was overwhelming. I received tons of comments, messages, emails and phone calls from both friends, family and strangers. I had people confide in me that they too suffer from anxiety. I had people tell me that they appreciated me telling my story because it helped them to better understand someone in their life that has anxiety. I’m happy to say that I’m doing much better. I am now on some new medication, which seems to be working really well and I am visiting my counsellor regularly. More than that, I’m learning it’s ok to ask for help and sometimes rely on other people without feeling guilty (something I will probably always struggle with).
Creativity and Career: This is also one of my favourite posts. It’s the moment I realised that I don’t need to make a career out of my creativity in order for it to be valuable. Since this post I’ve continued to enjoy creating for enjoyment; I write, draw, take photos and paint…sometimes I share these things, sometimes I don’t. And I love it, I enjoy it, I need it. Creating things will always be good for my soul.
One Step at a Time: Following this post I received the results from the skin specialist. Whilst it came back that the lesion wasn’t skin cancer he still wanted to remove it. But I was hesitant. I’ve had bad experiences in the past of doctors being little too knife happy and I really don’t want to go cutting into my face unless it was necessary; especially when he said he wouldn’t refer me to a plastic surgeon but rather do it himself under local anathestic in the chair. So I sought a second opinion. My GP also looked over the results and agreed that unless I wanted it removed for cosmetic purposes the spot was fine to stay. So stay it has. I will continue to keep and eye on it and monitor any changes.
So that’s it, a round up of my most popular posts for 2016. I will be taking a week or two off blogging to enjoy some time with my family but I’ll be back in 2017, that’s for sure. But for now, that’s a wrap!
Since writing this post about my recent struggles with anxiety I’ve had many people email and message me suggesting different things to try that might help. I am always open to suggestions and have tried many different things over the years and will continue to do so. I am not anti-medication and I do believe that for some people, this is needed. For me, I knew a couple of months ago that I was in need of something more. I was struggling with everyday life, struggling to leave the house and that just wasn’t ok. So I went to my GP, we discussed it and I am now on some new medication. It is helping but that doesn’t mean I have stopped working on natural ways to manage it. I guess I just want to be really open about the fact that I am taking medication because I’m not ashamed about it and I don’t ever want anyone else to be either. The only thing I will say is that if you do ever decide to take medication (for anything really) is it important that this is done in partnership, and under the close supervision, of a trusted doctor. It is important to understand what you are taking, why you are taking it and the risks associated. Always follow the dosage your doctor prescribes and never start or stop without first seeking medical advice.
Ok, enough about that, what I really wanted to share with you today is some other things that I have tried over the years to help manage my anxiety. Some have worked, some haven’t. But I share them here today in the hope that if you suffer from anxiety, maybe they might just help you! Please remember, I am not a doctor or an expert, I am just somebody who has lived with anxiety for many years and am still figuring it for myself.
Research and understanding: Over the years I have done a lot of research on anxiety. I’ve found the more I understand it, the less afraid of it I become and the more confident I feel in managing it. My favourite book of all time on the subject is Power Over Panic by Bronwyn Fox. It’s an easy, relatable and informative book that I had reread a number of times. There is also a companion book called Working Through Panic. I would highly recommend both. My advice is to stay away from Dr Google; the internet can often be unreliable and overwhelming but you can try asking your doctor their suggestions for helpful websites and online resources. My GP recently gave me a list of websites which provide information and free courses for people experiencing anxiety that you may like to check out:
Counselling: I have been to counselling on and off for several years and I am not ashamed to admit that. Personally, I think everyone can benefit from counselling. When it comes to managing anxiety, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is highly recommended. This type of therapy helps to unlock and challenge the negative thoughts you may have that are causing your anxiety. At the end of the day I really think talking helps and having the guidance of a professional who understands anxiety can be life changing. It’s really important to find a counsellor that you feel comfortable with so don’t be afraid to try a few different ones (I have!) until you find one that you really like.
Meditation and mindfulness: I know this can be so helpful in managaing anxiety. I also know I’m slack and just don’t practice it enough…but I really need to start to make it more of a priority. Learning how to breath properly, slow down your breathing, be present, be aware of your thoughts and learn to stay in the moment is key to combating anxiety and it’s all learnt through meditation and mindfulness. There are some great free apps and podcasts out there that provide guided meditations that you can listen to and do anywhere. My current favourites are Calm, Smiling Mind, and The Meditation Podcast.
Get healthy: You need to look after yourself. It’s as simple (and as hard) as that. This is something I am constantly working on. Healthy body equals healthy mind! You need to eat right, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. I always find my anxiety is worse when I’m tired. Get outside, enjoy some fresh air and sunshine..I find that always helps.
Herbs and Tea: A few months ago I visited a Naturopath and was given some herbal supplements (in tablet form) to take. Apparently turmeric is very good for anxiety. For me, I didn’t find it made a big difference but my anxiety was really quite high by that point so maybe if I had gone earlier it may have helped to prevent me getting to that point. I’ve also been drinking herbal tea before bed each night to help me sleep. I’ve been using Sleepy Soul from Love Tease.
Crystals: Some people might think it’s a load of hippy crap; me? Well I’m willing to try anything and figure it can’t do any harm so why not! I recently purchased some crystals and often carry them with me. I’ve been told the best place to put them is inside your bra. For a list of crystals that are believed to help anxiety see HERE.
Oils: Many people swear by the healing powers of oils…and they sure do smell nice! My favourite calming scent is lavender. I burn it in a diffuser every night before bed and also carry a vile of it to sniff and dab onto my pulse points if I’m feeling anxious. I’m told Doterra is the place to go for essential oils.
So that’s a few of the things I use to manage my anxiety. Have you tried any of these? Do you have any other suggestions?
So much to say that I don’t really even know where to start….If you follow me on facebook or instagram you will probably know that I have been struggling a bit with my anxiety lately. Truth is, I’ve been struggling a lot. Sometimes I really hesitate sharing things like that. I’ve always be very open about my battles with anxiety (and in the past, depression) but sometimes I worry. I worry mainly about what people will think of me; that they will think I’m crazy, unstable, weak, weird or unhappy with my life. But actually, none of these things are true at all. And I guess that’s why I choose to share my experience. Because I want to reduce the stigma, I want people to understand that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what your life is like; anxiety can affect anyone. Men, women, mothers, children, professional people, doctors, lawyers, confident people…anyone. Anxiety is real, it is common and it can be really debilitating. So yes, I’ve been struggling with anxiety and I’m ok with admitting that.
Anxiety has been part of my life…always. It has come and gone in different ways and levels of severity over the years. There have been times when I have gone years without a panic attack and other times when I have been so crippled by them that I couldn’t leave the house. Before having my son, I think I had probably gotten to the place where I was able to talk myself through a panic attack. I would focus on my breathing, do a bit of positive self talk and eventually it would pass. If all else failed I could crawl into my bed and sleep it off. But since becoming a mother I’ve found that my anxiety overall has gone to a new level. I guess it’s the fact that I have this entire other little human being that I am completely responsible for. And of course, as mothers, we always put ourselves last, we run ourselves into the ground, spend a lot of time worrying, looking after everyone else…and feeling guilty. And no longer do I have the opportunity to just sleep it off! When you’re a mum you just have to keep going.
So how did I get here? How did my anxiety get so bad? Well I could tell you the long complicated story of my life, who I am and where I’ve come from; all the things that have made me the type of person who is susceptible to anxiety. Or I could tell you about all of the things that have happened over the past year or so; the big things and the small things that we’ve dealt with that have maybe contributed to my anxiety…but I would be here all day! So instead, let me just try to explain to you what’s been going on the past few months and how my anxiety has spiraled.
One day a few months ago when I was driving my son to kinder I had a really big panic attack. My hubby had recently had gastro and I had been feeling a bit off that morning. The drive to kinder from our house is about fifteen minutes. As I drove I started to feel more and more sick, I felt like I wanted to vomit, or run to the toilet or pass out. My son was chatting non stop (as he does) asking a million questions and I was just trying to focus on driving and not being sick. And then I started to panic. There was nowhere to stop, what if I didn’t make it to the toilets at kinder on time? What if I passed out while driving? What if, what if…and so my mind went and before I knew it I was having a full blown panic attack. By the time I pulled up at kinder I was shaking so bad that I had to get a friend to walk my son into kinder for me. And then of course my son started to panic too; he kept asking what was wrong with me, I just told him I was sick. And then he started to cry “Mummy, when you feel sick I feel sick too.” My heart broke. From that day on, every time I drive to kinder I get anxious and usually end up having a panic attack. I have to take that trip six times a week. It’s exhausting. And now of course I’ve become trapped in that vicious cycle…afraid of when the next panic attack will hit. What if I’m at the shops and it happens? What if I’m driving my car and it happens? Of course the more I think about it and worry about it the more likely it is that it will happen. And so it has. The panic attacks have been coming thick and fast. I feel like I’m standing in an ocean and the waves keep coming. I get knocked down, I stand back up, only to get knocked down again.
I’m pretty good at seeing the warning signs, I know when my anxiety is getting out of control…I spoke about it here not to long ago when I made the decision to give up all the work I was doing from home, thinking this would make a difference and relieve any stress I had…it didn’t. I’ve tried a number of other things too; things that have worked in the past and also new things; from meditation to herbs to crystals and essentials oils and everything in between…. I’ve tried it all. Last week, it eventually got to the point when I knew I needed professional help and so I made myself a doctors appointment. My doctor agreed that at this stage I probably need medication. The thing is, I will need to slowly wean myself off my current medication to then start a new one. Unfortunately this means things are probably going to get worse before they get better. But that’s ok, because if there is one thing that I have definitely have learnt through all my years of suffering from anxiety it’s that I will be ok. This too shall pass. It may get worse, I may have to take some medication short term, I may have some hard work to do but I will get through it. And I will be ok. In the meantime I have a fantastic support crew; my husband, my mum, my sister, my bestie, my boss and all my other friends who have rallied around me these past few months and of course, my lovely blog readers. I know I have lots of people I can call upon, talk to and ask for help if I need it and for that I am forever grateful. Yep, I will be ok.
A couple of months ago I was at my GP, “What’s that on your face?” My doctor asked, squinting and leaning forward. She was talking about this…
“Oh I dunno” I said, touching the spot “That’s always been there…what is it?”
My doctor said she wasn’t sure, nothing to worry about at all but she could give me a referral to a dermatologist if I liked, they could probably just shave it off, make the skin smooth. Sure, I said, why not. So she gave me a referral and I made an appointment.
On the day of the appointment I considered cancelling it. The spot didn’t really bother me that much so did I really need to go? But I kept the appointment anyway. The dermatologist came in, asked me a few questions then started to examine the spot. He went very quiet. After a while he asked me,
“How old are you?”
“33” I answered.
“Hmm” he paused “So, I think what you have there is skin cancer.”
Say what? Did he just use the C word? I tried not to panic and focus on what he was saying. He explained that he believed it was a BCC lesion, the most common type of skin cancer. My mind wandered back to just twenty minutes before when we’d been walking down Chapel Street and had spotted Jarryd Roughead, the footballer who’d had a skin cancer spot removed a couple of years ago only to find out recently the cancer had spread. This is what I was thinking about as the doctor spoke to me.
He assured me that it is very rare for this particular type of cancer to spread, it is usually self-contained. The first step would be to get a biopsy, just to be one hundred percent sure that his diagnosis was right. It would need to be removed obviously. Non-surgical removal wasn’t an option, it would need to be cut out and due to its size he recommended that it be done in hospital under general anaesthetic (and we all know how I feel about hospitals). I asked a few questions and the doctor answered them but mainly he just said we need to take it one step at a time, starting with the biopsy. So that’s where I am today, off to get the biopsy done. I’m trying not to worry, of course it would be great if the results come back and the doctor has made a big mistake but if it turns out he’s right…well, like he said, one step at a time.
Regardless of what the results say I’ve learnt a good lesson; something I’ve read about and heard about and been told about before but never really worried about before; check your spots, know your body, get any changes checked out. It is always better to be safe the sorry.