Wednesday, 22 November 2017

ME AND MY HEALTH - AN ANXIETY UPDATE

Today I am going to update you on my mental health, namely my anxiety. I intended to add depression too, but the post got too long so that one will follow another time.

THE BEST VERSION OF KELLY

I’ve tended to blog about specific anxieties and fears however, I also get general anxiety. I unexpectedly get a feeling of fear, dread and feel sick as if something terrible is going to happen, without reason. It rarely lasts all day but can last for hours. I can be out, or I can simply be at home. I go through phases where I can be free of it for weeks and other times it hits me frequently.

I haven’t found my CBT has helped so far with this as we have mainly concentrated on the specific anxieties. I am hopeful my mindfulness classes may eventually provide tools to help control it.

In terms of my more specific anxieties I have had highs and lows over the past six months. My fear of judgement has lessened significantly through my CBT work. My blog has also presented opportunities that have helped me overcome this one, such as being on BBC Radio Leicester and going to blog events alone.

THE BEST VERSION OF KELLY

You may have read my post earlier in the year about my anxieties around driving and how I was tackling it, here. I was doing so well but sadly in August I had a car accident. I was driving the kids to Derby, it’s about twenty miles away and involves driving on the motorway and several big A roads. For me that was a huge challenge. I had driven to Derby before, I think maybe twice but not with the kids or during rush hour (we had to be there for 9.30 am.) I thought for ages about if I could manage it or not and decided of course I could and in the name of facing my fears and becoming the best version of Kelly I would do it.

It was a horrible day and was raining. Being on the motorway in the rain and at that time of day was challenging but I did great and was feeling so proud of myself. Then whilst on the A6 having just come off a roundabout I skidded, we spun round, crossed over to the outside lane and came to a stop facing the oncoming traffic when we crashed into the central barrier. Thankfully by some miracle nothing had been in that lane at the time, so no other vehicle was involved. I dread to think how much worse it could have been. Yet it was still so unbelievably scary, everything slowed down and although the skid must have just been seconds it felt like minutes, I can remember thinking ‘what’s happening,’ ‘what do I do,’ ‘we are going to tip up,’ ‘someone is going to collide with us,’ ‘are the kids ok,’ and ‘will we die?’

An amazingly kind couple stopped to help us and explained people often skid at that spot, on diesel leaked from lorries. This both made me feel better and worse. It wasn’t my fault, I had done absolutely nothing wrong and could have nothing better which is a comfort. But there’s not much comfort in knowing it could happen to anyone and at any time.

THE BEST VERSION OF KELLY

Three months on and I am still driving but barely and only short distances. I am a nervous wreck and tense as hell most of the time. I am using my CBT to do exposure therapy. I pick a route and drive a small part of it, adding to it every few goes until the route becomes easier and my anxiety lessens. I just need to keep going. I had done so well to get where I had with my driving and it’s devastating to have had this knock me, but I won’t let it win. It’s just yet another hurdle on my journey to be the best version of Kelly.

On a brighter note I have had some success in other areas. When my general anxiety is worse it seems to increase all my fears. I have always had a fear of heights and in particular bridges. I became aware my fear was so much worse in recent years so again, I have been working on exposure therapy.

There is a bridge that goes out of our village, bear with my terrible description. It’s basically a road and pavement that goes out the village and part of it is a bridge under which a dual carriageway runs. So, you just keep walking and it becomes the bridge, no steps up to it. If you live near me, you’ll know the one I mean and will probably think I am insane. I have lived here for six years and always been fine with the bridge until maybe the last couple of years.


I started the exposure therapy by walking to the bridge alone and attempting to walk over it. The first time I had to give up. Then I would mange to walk over with my head down and without taking my eyes off my feet. I was petrified. Even as I became more comfortable walking across I couldn’t stop on the bridge or go near to the edge and couldn’t even turn around until I was well off the bridge. Still I kept persisting, my aim was to stand in the middle and touch the railings and look at the traffic. 


Back in July I reached my aim. I still can’t believe I did it and all by myself, I even took a selfie to prove it! I can’t believe I am making this picture public, I had no make up on and was too scared to pose!


Bless her on this day a lady stopped her car and came to check I was ok as she had driven past twice and noticed me hanging about on the bridge. When I told her what I was doing she gave me hug! People can be so very kind.

Due to all the other things going on I haven’t progressed further with my bridge work, but I will, and I have some other bridges in mind to tackle, each one a little scarier than the last. Plus, I will aim next time to take a more relaxed looking selfie!

I don't find these types of posts easy to write, I've spent about three hours writing and rewriting this one and had a break to mull over posting it and have felt real anxiety over it. Anxiety over posting about anxiety, oh the irony! Yet I fully believe long term this is going to help me, sharing has already been so beneficial.

Thank you so very much for reading and supporting me, every page view means so much.

If would like to see my previous posts on my mental health, then click here or on the mental health tab at the top of this page. 

Kelly x


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1 comment

  1. Well done Kelly - it takes an enormous amount of courage and strength to keep going in the face of such anxiety, progressing little by little, on and on, and never giving up! I'm impressed - good luck with your anxiety!

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