It’s 4:30 on Wednesday morning and guess what…? I’m awake. No surprises there. I am generally awake when I don’t need to be. Insomnia is a terrible part of this illness. You struggle to get to sleep because you are over-thinking things that have happened that day or week, even years ago, going through all the conversations you had that day. Why did I say that? I should have said this. Why didn’t they smile at me? What do they think of me? What did that mean? Etc. And it goes round and around. I do finally get to sleep after listening to a relaxation exercise or something similar and used my sleep balm, which my darling sister gave me, on my temples and nostrils. I then wake up at silly o’clock, like this morning, thinking of all the things that need to be done, or something I’m worrying about, an appointment or meeting, or, like today, a trip with my husband!
I am also awake because I am thinking about you lot, thinking about how amazing your response has been to my little stories. I am so grateful for all the lovely messages and comments I have received. I didn’t think I was being all that brave telling my stories. I just wanted to tell it like it is. I am just Sara-Jane, no more no less; just with a couple of adjustments these days. I am still a mum, wife, daughter and more. I may not be a playgroup leader or an LSA at the moment but all in good time! This I have learned, you cannot rush this illness. It will take its own time. If you try and rush yourself better, or rush anything, it will let you know and kick you in the bum!
Right, to sleep now!! zzzz
I’ve left this one until I have got home from our little trip. We are now sitting on the sofa after going to London to see friends and to pick up some animals. The perks of being a zoo wife and being off work at the moment. The point of talking about it is because it has been two days of pushing myself out of my comfort zone and how I manage it. You would think that a last minute trip to London would send anxiety levels through the roof and yes, initially it did, but once you have started to figure out more about yourself and what might make you anxious you can then put certain things in place to help you stretch your boundaries. Tim made sure that we were staying in a Premier Inn. I can cope with this as I know what I am getting, I know if all else fails there is a restaurant attached and so we can have dinner and breakfast there without having to go out into a strange area looking for food. We were arranging to meet some of my university friends in a pub, a meeting which was organised a few days ago so I could Google it and find the map from the hotel to the pub, also I was able to look at the menu. All this in place meant that I was happy to go to a new place, a new experience, a busy city; lots of people but my anxiety was in check.
If I do find it too much I have other things I can do. I can listen to the Headspace app if I am feeling overwhelmed. I can use some Rescue Remedy, which can have a calming effect in certain situations. Also I can use breathing exercises to control any palpitations. Possibly the most important thing was that because I have not kept this illness to myself everyone I was seeing knew that I might be different, I might not be as chatty, or might be feeling uncomfortable and so would be more understanding. If you keep it to yourself how can you expect people to help, support and care for you? I think that you would want to help a friend if they were ill and so why would you stop people caring for you, if they want to?
It is important to start pushing your boundaries when you are ready to. Do not push it too fast; that will make it worse… trust me! But when you feel you are ready and know that you can put certain things in place and are able to use different things to keep things under control then give it a go. A couple of months ago I would not have gone to London; it would have been too busy, just too much and the results would have been terrible. But now I know what I need to do, or not to do, I can manage to start pushing the boundaries and stretching that comfort zone, which – if you aren’t careful – can get smaller and smaller until you find yourself stuck!
So I met my friends and had a lovely time. I limited my alcohol intake as I know that that is not a good thing for me. Today we went for breakfast in the hotel restaurant instead of finding somewhere because I was feeling a little on edge. We then went to the zoo, in the back door, another zoo-wife perk, and walked around for a couple of hours.
We then picked up the six fruit bats in their travelling crate, loaded them into the van and then on to collect some Gila monsters (venomous lizards). So I, Tim, the six fruit bats and two Gila monsters started the long journey home.
I fully expect to not sleep well tonight. I will be going through all the things that happened today, all the conversations I’ve had and the evening with my friends. Tomorrow may be a struggle; I usually find that I am overwhelmed after being busy so should spend the day keeping quiet, drawing, watching telly, etc. I have counselling in the morning and the school run to do. I think I will leave it like that.
So try it, push your boundaries, learn how you can control some of the anxiety and get out of that comfort zone.
From Lala, with love xx
Reproduced with permission, originally posted here