I started this blog as someone who considered herself to be recovered, or mostly recovered (depending on the day!) in order to offer hope to others in the thick of PND. I hope I can still offer hope after being completely honest about why I haven’t posted during the last few weeks.
One night four weeks ago I couldn’t sleep. I don’t know if it was fate punishing me for writing my previous post on insomnia or just one of those things, but I couldn’t sleep for an entire night and I panicked. And that panic led to an anxiety-filled following day. And I allowed that anxiety take hold of me, I gave it power, I had forgotten to use some of the CBT I preach about and it grew and grew. I felt out of control with it for a while.
But I took action. I began Zopiclone again to help restore my sleep. I visited my doctor and I visited my therapist and I even decided to go back on antidepressants – in truth, the latter may not have been necessary but in my highly anxious state I made a decision and I’m sticking with it for now.
Strangely, I thought I remembered what that level of anxiety felt like. That’s why I write about it after all. But this recent setback/low spell/bout of anxiety – whatever you want to call it – has reminded me that until you are in it again the memory has faded considerably. Which, frankly, is a good thing and a way for our minds to protect us I think.
I’m a little better now. The last few days felt like a turning point, I’ve learnt how to keep it under control again I think, but I have no doubt bad days are still to come so my future posts are currently uncertain (although I do have two already written from before this began).
Awful as the last few weeks have been, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dealing with a lot of anger, resentment and fear for the future right now, I feel – as always – that I’ve learnt something too. I’ve learnt that anger and resentment only fuels anxiety and positivity is something I really need to work on. I’ve been reminded how important self-care is. I’ve realised that the sheer knowledge that I overcame anxiety before has an incredible amount of power when trying to overcome it again. I’ve come a little way into accepting that managing anxiety may be something I always have to work on, but that it does (and will again) get easier to do so. I’m having a refresher on techniques that I first learnt two years ago and I’m reinforcing them with new ones too. I’m stronger I think.
The most key realisation I’ve had this time is being able to see and create distance between the anxiety and how I feel about my life and – vitally – my son. My son only exaggerated my fears first time around but now he is the antidote. I can see anxiety for what it is – an awful excess of adrenaline that plays tricks on your mind and manipulates your body – and it is also a liar. A big fat liar. Who tells me I don’t love my son or my family or my life – and this time, even in the worst moments, I knew deep down that I do love all those things deeply and the anxiety is an entirely separate entity. An entity that, with a lot of hard work, can be brought back under control. And that’s what I’m working on right now. Here is where I am.