Thursday, 29 March 2018

The Great Pretender

Sometimes when you are blogging you can feel like you are living a lie.
There is a life  that I share with you through my blog and then there is the
private life that I share with my nearest and dearest. Just recently I
haven’t been sharing the whole truth with anyone.

As my regular readers will know Mr Myasthenia Kid and I have been
through some pretty traumatic times of late. We lost one of our beloved
dogs just before Christmas, then my Grandmother passed away, then my
dear friend Pam passed away and then a school friend passed away. At
the time it felt like I was just coming up to the surface to catch my breath
and something else happened. There was no time to process anything at
all. I knew that it was affecting me as there were days where all I would do
was cry but I also knew it was having other effects on my mental health.

I have always been a really anxious person, I have spent years  in therapy
learning how to do CBT. The problem this time was no matter how rationally
and logically I could see what I was getting anxious about was ridiculous,
I still ended up diving down the rabbit hole. I was waking from what little
broken sleep I was getting in a state of absolute panic - usually clueless
as to what had set it off. My anxiety was reaching proportions I had never
experienced before. I felt constantly as if I was in flight or flight mode,
all the time pretending to everyone around me I was ok. I didn’t see the
point of bringing up my anxiety because I knew it was irrational and there
was nothing for Mr Myasthenia Kid to fix. I just thought I would try to
soldier on. At some point it had to get better right?

I tried bringing up my anxiety with my hospital consultant. I explained to
him what had been going on and he responded “well it’s early days,
give it a few more weeks and see how you feel”. The problem was he
didn’t realise that if I am bothering to bring something up in an appointment
it has got to the point where I can’t cope with whatever the issue is anymore.
I don’t bring up all the different things that are wrong at every appointment,
as we’d be there all day. I only bring up the most pertinent issues. If I am
bringing up anxiety, it’s a big issue. Especially with my previous issues with
mental health which are almost 20 years ago now.

Although the hospital consultant never meant for me to take it this way,
I am sure, I felt like he told me to pull myself together and stop making a
fuss. So I continued to solder on, with the trip to Birmingham only a week
away I knew I had to hold it together. My anxiety was going crazy, I was
barely sleeping but I just had to keep going because it would settle down,
it would get better. The problem was it was just getting worse. I wasn’t
sleeping and every waking hour was filled with fear over the slightest
thing. I had permanent butterflies and I was close to tears constantly.
Anything at all was making me burst into tears, which wasn’t me.

Last week it all came to a head. On Monday after my fall I kept bursting
into tears. Initially I put it down to banging my head and the stress of the
boiler not working. However as the days went on I was still crying at the
drop of a hat. I had to face facts that things were not settling down, I was
feeling worse than ever. Jay had noticed that I had become incredibly
quiet and continually distracted (staring off into space), to the outside
world it was still business as usual but even that was becoming hard to
do. I am a great pretender but I was even beginning to struggle coping
with the outside world. I had started to withdraw from my friends and
just hadn’t bothered to message them as I just couldn’t cope with the
thought of having to maintain a conversation and pretend that I was ok.

I managed to get the Duty Doctor to ring me as all appointments until
after Easter had been booked. When the receptionist asked what was
wrong and I replied anxiety and depression, she immediately put me on
the duty doctors call list. I am eternally grateful that she didn’t think that I
could wait for a standard appointment. I wasn’t at risk of doing anything
stupid, I wasn’t feeling suicidal, I just felt like I couldn’t cope with everyday
life. The doctor rang me back in a few hours and I explained what had been
going on. She was so kind and understanding, she didn’t make me feel like
I was overreacting and that I should be able to cope. She told me most people
struggle with one bereavement to suffer so many in such a short amount
of time would knock anyone. I was prescribed diazepam to use on the days
when the anxiety was at its worst, when I just couldn’t calm down. To help
me sleep she doubled my dose of mirtazapine.

I am slowly starting to feel a lot better, I seem to have had a break in the
constant feeling of panic that I couldn’t stop before. I am still anxious but
its at a more normal level. I am however exhausted constantly, my sleep
is still hit and miss. Some nights I am out like a light but others I am still wide
awake hours after taking my meds. I am also feeling very groggy the following
morning and it's taking me a bit of time to wake up. All of which I can live with
if it continues to improve my level of anxiety as I don’t want to end up with
the situation where the anxiety eventually causes me to become depressed.

So that you can appreciate how bad things had become I had got to the
point where I had become frightened of using my sewing machine. Now
anyone who reads this blog or knows me in real life knows that my life
revolves around Jay aka Mr Myasthenia Kid, Mollie, Frankie and Sewing.
I live to sew, when I am not sewing I am planning my next project. So for me
to suddenly become frightened of my machine, was just bizarre. I can’t tell
you exactly what it was that was frightening me but I just felt like a complete
failure and that nothing I did was good enough…….a great pretender.

A few days after I had been on the meds I got my sewjo back. I decided
to tackle my subscription box project which I hadn’t even had a proper
look at since it had arrived at the start of March. It was really complicated
but I just took it very slow and steady. This was the result

Dresden Plate design cushion cover in the newly launched Liberty
Quilting weight range of fabrics.  I was so proud of it I posted it on the
Sewing Quarter Fans page on Facebook.

Then on Sunday morning this happened:

My Cushion was mentioned by Jenni Smith who works for Liberty of London
on their fabrics. I was so chuffed, it has given me some confidence back again.
So much so that I made another Dresden Plate cushion cover design on the Sunday.

So I am hoping that things just continue to improve now. I still get anxious,
I always will but I no longer feel like I have to pretend that everything is ok. I
(well we, me and Jay) have suffered a huge loss in a short amount of time
and it’s ok not to be ok sometimes. You don’t have to pretend that everything
is going well.


Carleen said...

Thanks for sharing. You're not alone. Glad you are feeling a little better. HooeHopef much better soon! Hugs❤️

Rachel Morris-McGee said...

Hi Carleen,

Thank you hun. Feeling better, the panic no longer feels out of control. Although this week was stressful as our new sofas were delivered . I had been convinced from about 48 hours after we bought them that they wouldn't fit through the front door. This has kept me awake at nights since January 12th! So hopefully now they are in the house no problem I can relax a bit!
Thank you
Rach xx