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      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

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ebichu64

how do I cope until Wednesday?

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ebichu64   

Hi again

I've been in denial about this for the last few days but my partner was just picked up by his boss and I'm terrified. They're driving to Liverpool and catching a plane to Barcelona. He won't be back until Wednesday evening. His boss knows I'm ill but he's needed for these meetings, so he has to go.

 

I've been off work for two weeks with anxiety. Things that trigger panic attacks are:

waking up and the reality of my situation hits me

Ringing phones

People ringing the doorbell

Certain TV programmes

Getting flowers from work

Just having quiet time and starting to think too much

A long queue in a post office I'd not been to before and waiting outside with people walking past me

Children running

 

I have to describe this one:

Yesterday we went to Alderley Edge in Cheshire which I love. There were families and dogs there. We'd been there for about 15 minutes - I'd taken a photo of an interesting tree stump and we'd walked up to the Beacon. As we started towards - I think - the Wizard's Well I started to realise how muddy, slippery and steep the paths were. We kept trying to find an easier way around and then the whole forest seemed to spin and I had to stop because I was so dizzy. I was able to go on for a bit and then we sat down on a log for about 10 minutes while I calmed down again and listened to the birds. We carried on down the path a bit further, passed two families with kids and dogs and I couldn't go on. It was just after midday but I was frightened of getting lost and stuck there after dark, or coming out so far from the motorbike I'd have to struggle uphill in my motorbike gear and be so tired that I fell off the back on our way home. There were too many people, kids and too many dogs, and too many trees that looked the same. I got disorientated, lost all sense of direction. My hands were freezing - my partner said they were icy to the touch - but inside my jacket I was soaked with sweat. We left the path to go back to the bike and I could barely walk upright. I thought I was going to faint and I had to keep hold of his hand. It felt like he was dragging me though he wasn't. When we got the path I was stomping and walking like a robot. When we paused so my partner could choose the path I just stood still staring blankly into space. It turned out we had gone a bit wrong and went we got out of the wood we were a bit further down the road from where we parked, at the pub, There's a tea room there so we stopped for some chocolate and then walked back to the bike, which was less that quarter of a mile away. Once we were back on the bike going home I was fine again. I'm diabetic and I have gone hypo before. I get confused and irritable, but this didn't feel quite the same, even though chocolate helped fix it. This was real fear, but at the same time there was a little person in the back of my head telling me I was being irrational. When we got out and I asked my partner how far away the bike was and he said not far, I needed to know exactly how far "not far" was. 100 metres, half a mile, a mile? I sounded childish even to myself.

 

My partner said I have got worse since my panic attack week before last which was caused by people moving too fast and too close to me. Last Thursday morning I woke up, had the panic attack but instead of gasping I froze. When I could move I started pulling my hair out. Last night I went to bed with chest pains because I knew he'd be gone this morning.

 

I've got the phone on mute, the answer phone on, the door locked and I'm not going out any further than the back garden. The only people I've told are an online friend in Australia who's raising her autistic grandson and you.

 

I don't want to stay with anyone because there's no-one I trust nearby. Even if there was it would mean going outside and using public transport, and I don't want anyone in the house with me because they would be invading my space and I'd feel compelled to be the perfect hostess and try and act "appropriately".

 

I've seen the doctor and he won't give me any medication to stop the panic attacks. Instead last week he said he'd send me a DVD with relaxation techniques but that's not here - in fact, my Australian friend sent me a DVD and that arrived first! I'm relying on Kalms but last Tuesday after one panic I took some too close together. They knocked me out for 3 hours and I woke up feeling sick and with a headache. The earliest I could get an appointment with him is Thursday and that's after my partner gets back.

 

What I'm asking is, is there anyone out there that knows this and can you help? How did you cope? I'm really scared I'm going to die without him there.

Edited by ebichu64

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Hi

 

It sounds like you are feeling very fragile at the moment. Firstly don't be too hard on yourself.

 

As it's 'only' until Weds - do you need to go out? Can you do internet food shopping? Do you have a hobby or interest - family history, reading etc that can occupy you and keep your mind off your anxiety?

 

Knowing what happens in a panic attack and why may help diffuse the panic attack. Telling yourself you are NOT going to die from it and calming your breathing down and distracting yourself by doing something constructive may help. I know that doing 'something' is the best way to reduce anxiety, of course it is not always as easy as that sounds, but it may help to at least try. Personally I never found Kalms made any difference - not even the placebo effect.

 

Will your husband phone you? Do you have mobiles so he could text you if that's better for you? Or email?

 

Make a list of things to do, whatever that might be, so you can try and tick one off each day (you don't have to finish it, just try and do some of it).The things can be very little things like dusting one cupboard, putting on 1 load of washing, reading one page of a book.

 

Very best wishes

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ebichu64   

Thanks

 

We can keep in touch. He has a company mobile and his boss is okay with them picking up the bill as he'll be phoning home too. It's just the thought that the evening will come and I know he won't be coming home. Or tomorrow night. He really hates flying as well.

 

I do read but I don't feel much like it right now. It doesn't really occupy my mind enough. Housework is pretty much all done. Knitting helps, (repetitive and creative) but I've had to stop for a few days because 1) I ran out of wool and had to order some more and 2) it makes my fingers really sore. (I hate my fingerprick tests for the same reason) What I really want is for the postman - one person I will open the door to! - to bring me some plants for the back garden, but I doubt they'll arrive until later in the week.

 

His flight took off a little while ago. I think I need to go and cry for a bit.

Edited by ebichu64

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Try and keep busy, post on here about random stuff, tell us more about Alderley Edge - sounds great, I only know it cos of footballers living there. I love hilltops and places with a good view, feel more at peace. You can cope, you just need to allow yourself to.

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Lyndalou   

Hi ebichu64

 

Is there something that you've thought about doing for a while but you've never got around to doing? This might be the time to do it when you can emerse yourself in something that takes up your whole focus and attention. It might take your mind off being on your own during the day. You are doing all the things that I would do which is switching off the phone at times you know you won't be getting a call from your hubby and locking the doors. Maybe stick a sign on the door saying 'Please don't ring the bell' or 'No callers please' to discourage people turning up unexpectedly too?

 

I know I can be a bit uneasy when I'm here on my own overnight. I might keep certain lights and the TV on.

 

Hope you are managing to keep calm right now. I really hope that on Thursday the doctor gives you something to help get these attacks under control because it must be so frightening for you.

 

I know it's not much to suggest but have you tried camomile tea - I find this quite relaxing - or milky drinks like Horlicks? I've cut right back on my caffeine intake too which has helped my anxiety levels a bit. Do you have favourite smells that calm you? For a time I slept with my husband's T-shirt (a bit sad I know!) but it had his scent on it and was reassuring.

 

Hugs, Lynda

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ebichu64   

I just got off the phone from my partner. I really miss him but it was good to hear his voice and I have a photo of him smiling at me on my phone that I can look at. He's trying to find a cup of tea so he can sleep. He has a 7am start tomorrow (6am our time) but at least they are listening to him so it isn't a wasted trip, which is one thing that was bothering him.

 

To positive_about.

It's not so much the village/town but the hill - The Edge - that I like. The town is a little bit trendy, but it has supermarkets, Oxfam shop and a Costa Coffee like most places. You drive through it and then follow the signs for "over Alderley" that take you up Macclesfield Road. There are some huge imposing and impressive houses on the way up the hill. This is the old part of Alderley Edge, before it was fashionable and was just expensive. I remember thinking how much nicer it was not to be struggling up the hill on foot like normal because I had the chance to look at them properly. There was one that had a little clock tower like a church.

 

There are three entrances to the Edge (that I know of now). The first one is the usual place we've got on to the hill before. That brings you out at Stormy Point which has amazing views. We would have gone there on the way to the Wizard's well but we didn't make it that far. We drove straight past it because it's just a gate with a National Trust sign, and we stopped at the second. This was right at the middle point of the hill. Easier to spot as it was a bigger gate and a map with a lot of cars parked up. Now I know better I'd suggest carrying on bit further to the pub, The Wizard Inn. The tea room is there too with a proper car park and I think the information centre is there too

 

I first learned about The Edge when my class read The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner at school. All the places mentioned in the book are there although some of them are follies - like the druid's circle - and some of them were created. apparently, by Alan Garner's great great grandfather! Alan Garner made up some things - birds do sing on the Edge - but he was right about others - it is very easy to lose your way,

 

There's a really good website about it here.

http://www.alderleyedge.org/index.htm

 

The first time I visited was in 1986. We took the train to Crewe and changed there. I got my first look at Jodrell Bank on the way and fell in love with that too. It's only a few miles away. As I said, I love Alderley Edge, but I'd prefer it with less people about so I can concentrate on where my feet are going.

 

To Lyndalou

I've got the no cold callers sign up. We did that after getting the flowers last week freaked me out. I know what you mean about the lights too. My partner goes to visit his family every 8 weeks or so, and I usually have to keep the hall light on. I managed to switch it off for the the first time last time but I don't think I'll manage it tonight somehow. I've cut back on caffeine too - I do love my diet coke - but need to do that slowly. I ended up feeling sick and with a bad headache last week.

 

I've done the teeshirt thing too, but with his pillow!

 

I can't think of anything new I want to start, but the good news is that I have a box of ferns to plant in the garden and they might come tomorrow or Thursday. I'm going to try and get out in the garden tomorrow whatever, refill the bird tables and do some weeding. I'm doing lots of garden planning as well. We had it all redone last week and I'm going to buy plants to attract bees and butterflies. It's a proper wildlife garden and now it's warming up it's so busy with all the birds, squirrels and hedgehog. It is one place where I can relax but I hope it's not too cold. It's about 20 degrees in here and I'm wearing thermal socks but my feet are still like two block of ice.

Edited by ebichu64

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Lyndalou   

You sound a bit calmer and more in control right now? I'm glad you had a good chat with your partner and maybe that will be helpful...a bit of 'normality' - him doing his thing where he is and you doing your thing where you are! You've got a plan for tomorrow and that's great too. It's definitely something to focus on and keep any negative thoughts at bay. Well done for finding ways to get through a hard time :) .

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Thanks for the Alderley Edge info, I think my partner and I will head there next time we can get away, not that far away from us. There's a ridge about 20 miles west of where we live, Wenlock Edge, you can drive right along most of it and the views are great. I'm sort of interested in the geology of the area, I had to read up about how the ridge formed as the rock layer is at an angle. We've been to better places for views and quietness but its a nice spot. My partner struggles with the walking at times, she is a bit clumsy and we both prefer nobody around, and I'm dying to race ahead and see whats coming up. I've seen Jodrell Bank from a distance but the geek in me would like to get close up. In recent years we've been enjoying the Peak District, loads of walks and quiet spots. A recommended spot is Lud's Church, its not actually a church but a gap in the rocks - its quite a walk to get to it but its well worth it - we went around dusk so it was deserted, but nearly got lost on the way back.

 

Its a good day for gardening, I went out this morning to start levelling a circular area near the bottom, where we want a table and chairs to go so we can sit in peace down the garden - its been wild and cluttered before so not been room to sit down there. We want to attract more wildlife, and create a peaceful spot we can enjoy away from two noisy teenagers. I always free a bit refreshed after doing some gardening.

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ebichu64   

positive_about. If you scroll to the bottom of the home page there's a tiny link "To the Mines of Alderley Edge" There's a section there on the geology. That part of it isn't quite in my line of interest but I understand it is fascinating.

 

I spent most of yesterday planning my garden while I waited for the first batch of ferns to arrive.

 

I already have comfrey and creeping jenny in the wild patch. I want anise hyssop - a lovely aniseed scented herb that is number one for bees, and I have a list of other perennial wild flowers to plant there too. 3 hardy geraniums will go there as well. I already have loads but they're all pink, and these three are blue, white and black. I love black flowers too. They look so alien. Geraniums spread, the slugs won't eat them and they form nice domes for the hedgehog to forage underneath,

 

The ferns got here about 3.45 so I had time to plant them before it got dark. Now I want more ferns as well. These are evergreen and I'll probably stick to that type, but I want some Japanese painted ferns to plant in between. They'll disappear in the winter but they have beautiful silvery leaves and in summer they'll brighten up my shady garden and look really dramatic.

 

I want borage for the herb garden I wouldn't mind some bergamont as well, Creeping thyme for more ground cover in the wild patch - it's another great bee plant.

 

We have a trellis up the side of the shed that is primarily a ladder for the squirrels to get to their feeder, but the shed is ugly and so my partner would like something to grow up that. I found the perfect plant with the right growing rate and the right conditions to grow in a pot, and it's jasmine, so t'll probably play havoc with his rhinitis. I'll warn him and if he still wants to go ahead, so be it.

 

I woke up at 5am and had another panic attack. Tried taking some kalms but instead of calming down they knocked me out and I woke up at 10.30 feeling ill.

 

So once I was steady enough not to fall downstairs I went back out in the garden to check on the plants. I ended up digging up a geranium that was getting tangled in the cotoneaster (co-to-ne-aster - for years I thought it was pronounced "cotton Easter!"), then I transplanted some colombines and a cowslip to better places. Mr and Mrs Blackbird and the sparrows stayed in the garden with me while I was working... there are times when I worry that my life is becoming like a Disney film...

 

It's about 1pm in Spain, so my partner will be flying back in an hour. He'll get back to Lverpool about 3 UK time, and then it's an hour to home.

 

I can't wait to see him, and my wool just arrived, so I can finish off my knitting while I wait. That DVD from my GP still isn't here. I'll tackle him about that tomorrow.

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See, you survived :) I would be anxious if my partner had to go away for a few days, but I know I would need to occupy myself and remind myself i can cope every now and then. Least you can feel all made up for a while :)

 

Your wild bit sounds great, we need a wild patch as we get few butterflies and when we do there's not much here for them. I was in Brum today but will be back out in the garden in the morning, a bit more inspired :)

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Lyndalou   

Hope your partner got home safely and that you managed to get some of your knitting done? Sorry you had a panic attack this morning but it sounds like all-in-all you coped really well :clap: .

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ebichu64   

Hi again

Yes, he walked in at about 4.30 on Wednesday. We made dinner and had a nice quiet evening together.

It's been a bit up and down since then.

 

Thursday I had another GP appointment. I needed a new note for work and he looked at my panic attack diary and has given me some medication - Citalopram, They knock me out for about 6 hours and make me feel queasy, and he says they won't start working for about a week. I had a letter to post but I couldn't face the post office on the main road, so I went to another post box, but that looked so vandalised I didn't trust it was being used any more. So I came home and thought I'd try again on Friday.

 

My partner phoned my boss Friday morning, which triggered another attack because she wanted to speak to me again.- "She's not in hospital so she can speak on the phone". I can't bear the thought of speaking to her because all she'll do is try and put pressure on me. That knocked me back for the whole day. I spent it on the sofa with the laptop searching for garden ornaments - I have a single Roman foot and I wanted a hand to have reaching out of the raised bed. I'm going to have to get some dental alginate and stone powder and make it myself. I nearly bought an apple until I noticed it had a oak leaf instead of an apple leaf!

 

Saturday we walked to the post office together and went to a garden centre in the afternoon. That went okay.

 

Sunday we went into town to see the choir I belong to sing. It was a competition and I was meant to be singing a solo, but of course that all went to the wall when I got ill. It was my first time going somewhere with a lot of people and I was okay. The choir was great. I'll check my email later to see where they came. I was a little bit anxious going home because we took the same route coming home from work. I just had to keep reminding myself that it wasn't every time I saw a familiar landmark.

 

This morning I had a hospital appointment (ultrasound on my thyroid), and so I needed my alarm but it triggered another panic attack. I was shivering for about 5-10 minutes and it keeps coming back. It's 21 degrees in here but I still feel cold.

 

I'm starting to get a sense of what causes my attacks. It's sudden high-pitched or harsh sounds.Tomorrow I don't need to get up for anything in particular so I'll try wearing ear plugs and just get up when he does.

 

I'm going to wrap up and refill the bird table now. We had a pair of Coaltits visit the garden this morning and the Robin and Mr and Mrs Blackbird want more meal worms.

Edited by ebichu64

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Lyndalou   

Hi Ebichu64

 

I've been on Citalopram a couple of times and for me it definitely helped to even my moods out. You do have to be pretty on top of taking them at regular times or there can be side-effects. If I forgot to take mine then I would be dizzy and 'spaced' and if I forgot to refill my presciption and went without for a couple of days then I had strange feelings like my head was floating above my body! So, I would suggest sticking with the medication to see if it takes the 'edge' off your panic attacks until you can get them under control and especially since you are getting yourself into such a state even anticipating speaking to your boss.

 

I'm glad you are finding ways to relax and that your partner got home safe and sound.

 

Lynda :)

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Developing awareness of triggers and your responses is good to do, and part of coping with autism, its not always easy to but its worth trying. Once you understand yourself more, you can put strategies in place to cope better - a softer alarm clock for example. As Lynda said, medication may help you control your moods and anxiety, which allows you to cope with life better. I'm on trazodone for anti-depressant and anti-anxiety, plus low dose of aripiprazole to control my moods. I don't like taking meds but I have to admit they do help - its something for you to think about. If you are signed off work your boss shouldn't be hassling you - probably best to just say you are suffering from anxiety, etc., and have nothing new to say to her, and put the phone down. If you have, or she keeps calling then try not to answer it, or repeat you have nothing new to say.

 

Try and enjoy the peace and quiet, chill-out as much as possible - keep your anxiety levels as low as possible.

 

I can get quite anxious at times, but over recent years I've been working on keeping it under control, and try to cope with things better.

 

Just be careful you don't ignore things that need to be sorted out - it can add to the anxiety/worry even if you don't realise.

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