It's all me, me, me...

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Vivre Sa Vie
London, United Kingdom
Well hello there. My name is Viv (well, it's not really), and, like a lot of people, I'm ever so slightly neurotic... I have panic attacks and anxiety (ranging from mild to pretty intense), on and off. I also have an amazing and quite high-profile job, so I'm choosing to remain anonymous on here. Not because I'm ashamed of the aforementioned neuroses, but because I don't want to be googled and for my colleagues to read bizarre posts about me breathing into a paper bag and popping lorazepam. I've worked for bookshops, mixed arts festivals and charities, and have met (and still meet!) a lot of famous, fetching and fantabulous people for my job. (See, anxiety doesn't need to stop you being AWESOME and doing what you want to do) Here's hoping you'll find some helpful hints and tips on here which will help you tackle the evil panic heebiejeebs... PS. I'm an Australian, but I live in the UK, and have adopted tea-drinking, pubs, Wodehouse, and a Welsh man.
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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

What is it about the dreaded sickness?

'Is that a raven? An OMEN OF MY IMPENDING DEATH? Oh my God...'

I hate to get sick. I fear getting sick. And I fear being sick. And I'm really not sure why.

I mean, I know it's unpleasant and all that, and noone WANTS to be sick, but I start to get really depressed and twitchy if I feel a virus or something coming on, and if, godforbid, it develops into something proper, I get hit with a massive wave of anxiety that sits on the sickness' shoulder like a nasty vulture.

If I have a bogstandard cold, a little nervous voice inside me says 'your nose is so blocked up that if your mouth were to somehow get smothered, then you would die'. Which is patently absurd, but the little voice is persistent.

Or if I'm about to be sick, the evil bugger comes back again and says 'what if you try to breathe and can't, and end up choking on your own vomit? Then you'll diiiiie.' And 98% of me knows it's ridiculous, but the 2% is weak and confused and starts to freak out.

All of my major panic breakdowns have happened when I've been ill. I've either been in pain, or had a gastritis, or had a bad flu or something. And my anxiety has built and built upon the illness and exploded all over the shop in a spleurgh of panic and freakout. There's something in it - there's a connection - but I don't know what it is. I want to pay some super-duper therapist a huge lump sum to just wash out my brain and investigate all the dark corners, and flush out whatever it is that's lurking there.

And do you know what? There's nothing I would hate more, than to be the kind of person who freaks out about getting ill. Like Melman from Madagascar crossed with the sickly bitter boy from The Secret Garden who used to screech about the spores. Noone likes that person, and that person doesn't like themselves. I want to be the person who laughs and says 'Oh that? Pah, just a smattering of smallpox. No worries at all. Few days of antibiotics and I'll be right as rain. And in the meantime I'll watch a ton of Columbo!'

'I'm allergic to vitamin D and spores and breeze and human touch and my Daddy doesn't love me but the love of a young girl and a special garden will liberate us all (and my legs will start to work again, phew)...'

Well, to be accurate, I am the kind of person who SAYS that, but it's not remotely what I'm thinking. What I'm actually thinking is 'Oh my God, I'm getting sick. I hate getting sick. What's wrong with me? Is it CANCER? Is it chronic fatigue? Will I have to be fed on a drip for the rest of my life? Will my boyfriend have to be my carer? Will I be able to go to that party? Will it ruin my holiday? Can I take these pills with these pills or will I do a Heath Ledger? Will it make my panic attacks come back? Will I have to take time off work? Will they hate me and not believe me? PLEASE GOD don't let me get sick' etc etc etc etc 

Anyone else? Tumbleweed...

Replaces misplaced organs?


Rosie said...

I totally do that, the wierd thing is when I actually was ill recently and was hospitalised I didn't freak out at all and was as calm as toast.
Yet I feel slightly peckish at bedtime and I convice myself its not hunger its sickness and I am about to be sick and eventually I vomit and spend all night freaking out. Woe and misery.

Vivre Sa Vie said...

Hi Rosie - that is so miserable - I completely sympathise. But don't you find it reassuring that in a REALLY serious situation (i.e. hospital) you're actually very calm and collected? So if, godforbid, anything awful were actually to happen, you would actually be brilliant and calm and in control?

My boyfriend always says that I'm absolutely amazing in a crisis or genuinely threatening situation - it's only when I've got a cold or am in a lift or something small and completely non-life-threatening that I freak out. I take some small comfort in that, although it just makes me feel more confused about what's going on inside my panicky brain!!

rosie said...

I know! Do you think its because when something terrible ever happens you are actually to busy to be concerned. Yet if someone says they are having a party you have six weeks to worry about it and going through every situation that could possibly go wrong.

I do wonder why I was so calm in hosp and I didn't eat for 24 hours as was Nil by Mouth but yet didn't panic at all. Yet if I am slightly hungry in any other situation I get freaked out. I don't get panic attacks I just feel anxious and sicky and I think I confuse sickness and empty tummy.

I hate having a panicky brain. Did you have any luck with the herbal remedies from your book?

Vivre Sa Vie said...

Ah, well I haven't really tried them yet. I'm going to order these special vitamin/minerals for anxious brains from Patrick Holford and see what they do...I'll definitely let you know! x

Vivre Sa Vie said...

PS. Completely relate to the not-eating/anxiety relationship. I'm trying a low-ish GI diet at the moment (half-heartedly) to see if that helps. I definitely have worse anxiety when my blood sugar drops - but I recently read that's because the body produces a surge of adrenalin to keep you going when stores are low. So make sure you keep snacking regularly! x

Rosie said...

I think I am on the same diet, I am SICK TO DEATH of brazil nuts! They are my new diazapam.....

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