Tag Archives: panic attacks

Kindness At A Higher Level

We live in a society that is often far from kind. I’m not talking about individuals, I’m talking about policy and societal norms. Being individually kind is important but we need kindness as a society to make a larger change.

Unfortunately we live in a world led my money rather than kindness and what is best for people. I can understand this. Money is finite and so we have to spend with care and this can mean cuts that are the opposite of kindness. We see this in mental health services all the time. People are turned away as not sick enough or not enough resources. People are sent miles from home when unwell and needing the kindness of family close by. There are some changes that really need to be made and cutting more and more is doing the opposite of kindness and therefore worsening mental health issues at times.

Also as a society we are far from kind to those who attempt to end their life. Many are labelled attention seeking and selfish. Many a person has been heard on a train that has hit a person berating them for ending their life and delaying people. The kindness that this person needed appears to of been absent in their life and their death. Instead of asking what could of been done to help them before this event they are condemned for seeing no other way out.

Society is also cruel in its use of social media. While social media can be great there are the trolls and the nasties who are far from kind. They band together to bring cruelty to one person. They push people over the edge as they can’t show kindness. They condemn people as guilty before hearing the full story. They forgot that a little kindness could improve the world and keep people alive.

By changing our outlook from the top down we could prevent so many deaths. By acting as a society we could improve life for many. It’s time to unite to be kind as well as individual acts of kindness.

I’d love to hear your views so feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Lost In Lockdown

So it seems like the world has been shut down for forever. Everyone is finding it tough. People are losing loved ones or being kept away from them at least. Life is restricted. Unfortunately my mental illness has decided to take advantage of this situation to cause ultimate unpleasantness.

I know this lockdown is not fun for anyone. I’m not pretending that I’m the only one negatively effected. Everyone seems to be in the same boat. But unfortunately that doesn’t help make it easier. In fact it’s making it harder. I feel guilty that I need support. I feel like a burden when I know so many are struggling to deal with this. I hate myself for being able to access support yet still feel on the edge.

The thing is I know I would tell any of my friends who are mentally ill and struggling that it’s OK and mental illness doesn’t make it easier but harder. That it will impact you more as you have to work harder than everyone else to stay well. I’ve even said these words to others. But I can’t apply it to me.

I think also that as things that help keep me more stable have been removed temporarily due to the lockdown this is going to make it harder. I’ve been lucky that my mental health team have given me permission to exercise more than once a day. This is allowed for medical reasons. (For more information click here.) But there are other things I’m missing that I’d not even realised I needed.

Social contact for me has always been exhausting and something I need a break after. I thought I’d be OK without it as I still can contact friends and others through social media or WhatsApp. But it turns out I need to physically see people. I need hugs. I need to be closer to them. I miss them. Yes I may need quiet time after but I still need the contact.

While we can all say lockdown is not our ideal situation I have found some things that are helping keep me a little bit saner (never completely sane, that ship sailed long ago). I’ve rediscovered things I liked doing. I’ve discovered I’m more skilled in them than I thought and that they can help others feel better. Drawing has been a major one for me, with me drawing animals and characters for others and children.

I’ve also found it useful to set myself projects. I’ve put together things I’ve been meaning to do for ages, I’ve built Lego I’d been meaning to make or made friendship bracelets for others. Focusing on this one thing has helped me keep moving and not dropping into deep despair.

The thing is it’s not always helpful. I seem to have a regular Friday night meltdown at the moment. I just disintegrate. My anxiety at times is so high it gives me chronic chest pain. I’ve got an almost constant headache. These are things that I’m struggling to manage. I’ve had a lot of anxiety that I’m going to infect my family. Hair pulling and skin picking have increased along with self harm. Things are not ideal.

Unfortunately there is nothing we can do to make this go quicker but we can help each other. Just checking in is helpful. And we need to ask for support when we need it. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to have some normality soon.

To keep in contact please feel free to use the comments or Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Grounding Techniques

Anxiety can be high when things are different or there is a major event that is hurting many going on. Therefore I thought I’d put some grounding techniques together. They can also be useful for people dissociating.

5,4,3,2,1

This technique gets you to focus on your senses. First think of five things they can see. Then four things you can touch. Three things you can hear. Two things you can smell. One thing you can taste. Try and focus on each fully.

Alphabet Lists

For this one it is useful to have pen and paper but not essential. The idea is to choose a topic, for example animals, and find one whose name begins with each letter of the alphabet. This can give you a new focus especially with the more difficult letters.

Item Focus

Choose an interesting item. It is good if it can fit in your hand but not essential. Focus fully on the item, describing it to yourself. You can do this in your mind, out loud or writing it down, whatever suits you. Focus on how it looks and feels. What do you notice about it? Does it change colour in the light? Is it smooth or rough? Are the edges straight?

Drawing Around Your Foot

This might sound a bit odd but try to imagine drawing around your foot. Think how you’d move your pencil around each part. How would it feel if the pencil touched your foot? What would it look like when it was done? What shapes to your foot had you not noticed before?

Listen To Music

This isn’t about the piece of music you choose. Listen to the music fully. If it has lyrics focus fully on what they are. Listen to see what different instruments are being used. Does it get louder or quieter in different places?

These are just a few grounding techniques I have learnt from various people and places. Not all of these may be helpful to you. It’s about finding what works for you. I hope there is something useful for you there. If you have other techniques feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Jokes And Memes To Get You Through

Yes I am going to inflict my sense of humour on you all. Sometimes we need to laugh. In Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) there is a skill called Opposite Action where we do something to make us feel the opposite feeling. So I thought I’d produce some humorous (in my opinion) content to help. Good luck to you all reading this.

Jokes

Bare with me. I find them funny.

How do you make Pikachu get on a bus? Pokemon

Who designed King Arthur’s round table? Sir Cumference

What do you call a pig who does Karate? A pork chop

What do you call a bear with no teeth? A gummy bear

What do you call an acid with attitude? A-Mean-O acid (ammino acid, yes its a science joke, it may not be the last)

What do you get if you cross a snowman with a vampire? Frostbite

How much room is needed for fungi to grow? As mushroom as possible

Why don’t skeletons fight each other? They just don’t have the guts

What time do ducks wake up? At the quack of dawn

What do you call a bee that comes from America? A USB

Do you want to hear a bad cat joke? Just Kitten

What kind of music scares balloons? Pop music

Memes and things

Puns

I tried to catch some fog. I mist.

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I can’t put it down.

Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop anytime.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.

I used to think I was indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.

I tried to sue the airline for losing my luggage. I lost the case.

Velcro – what a rip off.

She had a photographic memory but she never developed it.

I’m a natural sleeper. I can do it with my eyes closed.

I lost my mood ring. I don’t know how I feel about it.

I bought a boat because it was for sail.

Feel free to share any of your own jokes in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Kindness In A Crisis

We are living through a crisis at the moment. Everyone is dealing with an unprecedented situation and it can feel overwhelming. At this time what we all need is some kindness. This can seem even more difficult when we are either keeping our distance from others or isolating. I thought I’d share a few ideas to spread a bit of kindness. As things may change these might not all be appropriate so please take the most recent advice.

1. Message people

The most special thing to most people is a bit of social contact. Sending a message to others to remind them they are thought of and that they matter to you will hopefully make them feel better. If you feel able to offer support do but don’t put pressure on yourself. You deserve kindness too.

2. Make a card/write a letter

I think everyone loves getting mail. Maybe write one for a neighbour who is isolated or to send to a friend. If you’re self isolating though remember to keep you and others safe.

3. Send a present from online

If you have money to spare (and I know not everyone does so please don’t put yourself in a difficult position) then it might be nice to send a present to a friend. It doesn’t have to be anything big. It might just be something that would be useful.

4. Share a music play list to brighten people’s day

It might seem silly but anything that might brighten someone’s day is a great thing to do. And this can be done from at home. And it might brighten your day too.

5. Offer your services if you can

Again if it is safe to do so and if you feel able to then offer to do something for someone else. Mine has been offering my teaching skills to help those with children at home. Your’s might be shopping or something else.

These are just a few ideas. I’m sure you all have many more ideas so feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Image from Pinterest

Cancer Scare: Results

I wrote before about waiting for results from tests for a lump I found in my breast. Today February 21st 2020 I got the those results. I don’t have breast cancer. They believe I have a condition called granulomatous mastitis. This has meant I have had to have further biopsies to find the cause before treatment can be started.

I’m obviously pleased that it’s not breast cancer. I’m pleased I won’t have to deal with the treatment for that. But I’m still struggling. I feel bad about this. Everyone is so happy it isn’t breast cancer. And I totally understand that. But they don’t seem to of taken on board that there is still something wrong that will involve treatment that I’m concerned about.

With granulomatous mastitis the treatment is a course of steroids for up to six months. It doesn’t sound that bad but there are significant possible side effects. I know I may not get them but the possibility is there. Included in the possible side effects are mood swings, depression and anxiety. Welcome to my world already. But what if it makes things worse? I struggle everyday as it is. The thought of a dip even further is terrifying. I just don’t think I’d cope or survive.

There is also a possible side effect of weight gain. I’m already fighting hard to lose weight gained from years of psychiatric medication. I do not want to put it and more back on. I hate myself and my body as it is.

I know I’m jumping the gun a bit. Today I’ve had to have more biopsies to look for a possible cause that may involve other treatment before the treatment for the granulomatous mastitis itself. It feels overwhelming and again it’s a loss of control which is a huge trigger for me. I feel so alone with this. I feel if I show I’m down over this people will think I’m disappointed it’s not cancer and that’s not the case. It’s just there is still a lot going on and to go through. It doesn’t help I’m in pain from the biopsies.

Anyway that’s where I’m at, at the moment. Again not sure when this will be shared and where I’ll be when that is shared. To stay in touch with me feel free to connect in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. For more information on any health condition check out nhs.uk

Picture from Pinterest

Cancer Scare: Waiting For Diagnosis

This is a personal piece. Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering.

The date today as I write this is 15th February 2020. Three weeks ago I found a lump in my breast. I regularly check mine but this one was actually brought to my attention by my cat kneading my chest as she loves to do and it not feeling right. So I checked it out and it felt sizeable. It had been 2 weeks at most since I’d last checked.

I kept checking it over the weekend just to make sure it wasn’t just some lumpiness that would go away. Then the following week I tried repeatedly to get a GP appointment, finally managing to get one on the Thursday. Luckily it was a GP I know well and trust as with my history of sexual abuse it was raising anxiety. When he checked he said he thought it was about 5cm. He referred me on the two week wait cancer initiative.

My appointment came through for 12th February 2020. I went along with more apprehension of facing the tests than the results. It started with an ultrasound of the breast. This seemed to confuse them and another person was brought in to look. Then it was decided I needed both a mammogram and biopsies. Normally someone my age would not be given a mammogram as it may not show anything. But mine showed the lump clearly.

The biopsy process was painless due to local anaesthetic. I was still just thinking it was a normal part of the process and they would be like it’s all fine but we just have to know what it is. That was not the case.

After the biopsy I was asked to wait in a room. My mum was with me. We got called back in and I was faced with a number of people which put me on edge. They explained that they were concerned about the lump. That I was going to have to return for another appointment to get the results of the biopsies and find out the next steps. That they were pretty sure surgery would be needed whatever.

One of the people in the room was a breast care nurse. She had been assigned to my case and would be my point of contact. She was lovely. She took me and mum off into another room. We discussed a few things and she sorted out the appointment. Her comment that there was a lot that they can do to treat cancer made me feel they know already but I can’t be sure. I’m in a state of not knowing.

So I’m sat here having a mixture of thoughts. I’ve been through so many emotions in the last few days. From the incredibly calm to the extremely anxious to suicidal. I’ve been showing others the calm side. I’ve been pushing my emotions down. A few people have heard some of the worry but not the full extent. Not the thoughts that have been going through my head that make me ashamed of myself.

There is a part of me that feels IF it is cancer then I don’t want to go through the treatment. The thought of dealing with being unwell and making it worse to get better scares me. The thought of trying to live when mentally I want to die all the time seems hypocritical. In fact it feels like it could be my way out which is a terrible thought isn’t it? But I know others will want me to go through it all. I know I will have to do it for them.

Obviously at this stage I have no definite answers. But this doesn’t stop the thoughts. Google is not my friend at the moment and the late night Google searches are not a good idea (other search engines still available?). I feel so much guilt over my thoughts. I’m just trying to push all the feelings down. I don’t want the pity. I don’t want to be treated as delicate. I don’t want people thinking I’m brave and strong. I’m not. I’m a mess. Not because I care about me but because of those around me. I don’t want to cause them anymore suffering.

So yeah that is where I’m at as I write this. I don’t know anything definite. If I publish this I may know more by then. I will keep people updated. Feel free to connect in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. For more information and support about cancer click here.

Picture from Pinterest