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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Friday, 22 June 2012

Here comes the sun REDUX...


Okay. It is 20 minutes since I wrote that last post, and I have cried like a baby, and apologised to my boyfriend yet again about Berlin. I have also realised something (both on my own, and with his help). That last post was only half of the story - but that's the bit I keep torturing myself with. I'm going to use all of my super panic-busting skills and re-tell that in a different (and much more accurate) way.

When I went to Berlin, I'd had no CBT therapy at all for my panic attacks. I still thought there was a possibility I might die. It was also minus 18 degrees, and was actually painful to breathe outside - panic attacks or not.  I have learned so much since then, and I will never again be in that early, terrified place I inhabited when the panic disorder first started.

I also only had about three Lorazepam which I tried to eke out over a week. I also thought I would become an addict if I took them.

And I didn't stay in my hotel all week. Despite my terror, I got out of bed every day, and walked out of doors in the bitter cold and discovered new things. I would have panic attacks along the way, and I would sit down and cry. I would then get up, wipe my face, and carry on again. I haggled in a market, I had hot chocolate with brandy in it, I ate kasespatzel, I went to a cafe where resistance groups used to hang out back when Berlin actually was a genuinely terrifying place to be. So it wasn't even a complete and utter disaster - because I was brave, I clawed some great experiences back from it. And that was the absolute WORST it will ever be, because I can never again go back to that place of confusion about my condition.

And since Berlin, I have had a wonderful holiday in Granada for a friend's wedding, a lovely family holiday in France for another friend's wedding (a panic attack here or there in both, but nothing terrible), and flew both to and from Cannes film festival on my own with no troubles at all.

I spent my entire childhood and adolescence on planes (between the UK and Australia) - often on my own. I LOVED planes, and I LOVED travelling. My mum took me backpacking around the world when I was four, and I loved every second of it - and was apparently never anxious, worried or nervous for a single moment. That is the true me - strong and tough and rough and brave - and this is just a blip.

I'm going to have an AMAZING holiday. And even if for some reason, I don't - it won't be the end of the world. I'll get back up and keep on going and keep on trying until I do.

'Take THAT'


Anonymous said...

Probably not very cool for Mum to comment but go with a light heart and rediscover your inner four year-old who held tightly to her mini backpack and boldly struck up conversations with Buddhist monks in Thailand, a ticket collector on the train in Sydney, local women on the ferry in Fiji and a very serious businessman on the LA airport bus and told them all proudly, "I'm travelling around the world!"

Vivre Sa Vie said...

I think that's *very* cool, Mum - thanks for reminding me that I haven't always been a worrier! I'll try to let the four-year old get a word in - she sounds awesome, and I think I've been strangling her for too long. Will try to channel some of your crazy travel lust too! Love you xx

sara crowley said...

I think it's fab that you can recognise that you'll never be in the scary Berlin situation again - you have so much more understanding about what is happening to you when you have an attack. Travel can be super anxiety inducing, but you're prepared - you know what needs doing to get through. I hope you have a wonderful holiday! Lots of love xx

sara crowley said...

Ooh! Your blog let me post again!

Lucy said...

Woohoo you go girl! Enjoy the holiday! Just remember that especially on a holiday nothing is mandatory and everything is allowed. Yes, everything. So if you do have a panic attack, remember that it will pass, like it always does. And that it's fine to have a panic attack, because everything is fine, because you're on a holiday and nothing is mandatory and everything is allowed.

Not sure if this helps, but that's the sort of stuff I keep telling myself when simultaneously visualizing myself going crazy in a crowd. Enjoy your time off!

Lucy x

Vivre Sa Vie said...

Aww, thanks so much, Sara and Lucy! Really helpful and gave me that extra boost I needed! Had an AWESOME time - woooop! Couple of wobbles, but nothing catastrophic. Mostly sun, beach, cocktails and relaxing. Will post very soon with an update, but work has been ridiculously hectic as soon as I got back.

Thanks again you wonderful ladies!

V xx

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