I don't talk much about anxiety or depression as generally I like to think I'm moving away from these things (although really they're always there, waiting for an opportunity to pounce on a low day, out of the blue) but 2 days ago I had a brush with the old anxiety which left me feeling a bit stupid. A bit vulnerable. All the things that anxiety is particularly good at making you feel.

I thought I'd take the children out for a lovely day. Get out the house, grab a change of scenery and perhaps waste some pennies in a pound store on craft things (even though we have plenty!) I thought I was ready to deal with 2 children, a pushchair and figure out the trains and busy streets. I think I was ready to be honest, just a series of unfortunate events hampered my positive attitude and determined mind.

We walked up to the station and waited patiently to be served our tickets. Of course, being a bit behind with 2 children I knew the time was closing in to catch this train. Of course there was someone having a lovely chat in front of us. Damn. Already anxiety level goes up to 3. I'm OK, just aware we're cutting it fine.

We get served with a side of rushed and then, oh no, the barriers are down. I have a toddler and a 5 year old, a bag and a buggy that won't sodding fold down and I have to cross a fair sized bridge to the other platform! Anxiety goes up to 6. The ticket man helps us across which is very nice of him. Anxiety settles down to 3 until the train doors open and I am putting my children on the train only for people to deem it absolutely fine for them to not let me on. They stopped me, a mother from getting on the train where my children were waiting for me. I panicked. They panicked. Anxiety is now at 8.
When we get on the train things just get worse. There's no where to sit so Little Man screams in protest for the 25 minute journey at being strapped back down in the buggy whilst Midge has to sit on the floor. I'm flushed like a beetroot and incredibly self conscious. I have decided that when my feet hit the platform I'm turning back around. Anxiety at 9.

When we stepped off the train it became apparent just how busy town was today. If you suffer from anxiety too then you know first hand that this is not good news! However, I refused to give in at this point. I tried phoning my Aunt to meet for lunch. I knew this would be nice, familiar company and would make a good day for us all. Turned out she was with my Mum. I walked into the main street with the children, trying not to convey my uneasiness. Within about 10 minutes I caved and text my Mum who eventually replied that she would pick us all up. My Anxiety went all the way back to 3. The knowledge of being 'saved' takes all the worry and panic away. You don't have to deal with the situation anymore, yey! Although you sort of failed..Boo! We popped in the pound store for some crafty bits and went off to Mums' house shortly after.

As it turned out we had a lovely day seeing my parents. I'm grateful to have a family who are so understanding. If I was left any longer I know I would've had a panic attack and I never want to have one of them in front of my children. How terrified would they be? I have decided the next time I go out on an outing like this it will be buggy-less. I will do it again. I won't let anxiety win, but I will stay in my house today and avoid the noise!

Do you suffer with Anxiety? How do you cope when it rears its ugly head?



Jo_Brdly said...

I have so much empathy for you and your situation (although I don't have children myself!) I have a long family history of mental illness and depression and can sometimes see the signs in myself. When I feel it taking hold I stop, breathe deeply and imagine every worry leaving my body with the last breath. Break what you have to do into stages, so going out and taking the kids for a day out is broken up into, getting dressed, getting to the station etc.. as you achieve each step it starts to feel easier.

Most important thing is to keep talking about it. Anxiety, worry and depression are prefectly healthy and normal feelings, it's when you start hiding the feelings that they become a problem.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your honesty and for describing just how I feel on a semi-regular basis...I am not alone!!
I generally manage by avoiding high risk activities, or at least saving them for when there are two of us,and planning, particularly where and what to have for lunch (my biggest button is big boy's eating...and he knows it!). Other than that, I keep my fingers crossed . When it does rear its ugly head, I am moody for days :(. I do worry that it affects my boys, but it seems to be getting better with time (and sleep!).

Hannah said...

Oh sweetie :( Anxiety is so horrid. I tend to pause for about a minute and repeat "This is not forever. This will be over soon. You just have to get through it." And try to think of the things I'm looking forward to doing.

Elizabeth said...

Oh poor poor you. That does sound like a truly horrid series of events - the type where you could deal with one of them, but one after the other after the other...I can't believe the other passengers didn't let you on the train - that's wretched! And so ignorant.

I have anxiety at times. I find it comes and goes in waves, and like you I don't tend to mention it because I'm hoping it is on its way out, but then it pops up and bites you on the bum doesn't it? Sadly I have no magic answer. I so empathise with your comment about busy town - I find I can't manage the supermarket when its busy and often end up spending more because I go to Waitrose where it always seems calmer!

In fact only this morning on the drive to work I had that horrible sick, heart-racing, quickly breathing type thing. I had to close my eyes and take myself off somewhere in my head. For me its sitting at a place called Chysauster and looking out to Mounts Bay in Cornwall.

Really hope you are feeling better now. Be kind to yourself. You didn't fail. X

Anonymous said...

Urgh I know how that feels! I'm not so bad lately but for a good few years the thought of going out alone would get me worked up, I find I'm ok if I take Eva especially with the buggy but alone I find it easier to take headphones and block out the world, focus on where I'm going, what I need to do and do it as fast as I can so I can get back as quick as possible. I hope you find it easier next time you go out x

Unknown said...

Oh I feel for you. Rail travel is a total nightmare. Im having to travel with a 6 year old with special needs in few weeks over 150 miles ( 3 trains) Im dreading it.

Hannah said...

Oh goodness, I wish you all the best with your travels! Let me know how you get on? I'm tackling a train alone to and from Bath soon, wish me luck! x

Hannah said...

I'll def be taking headphones and some good music to block everyone out on my next journey alone. I hate taking the buggy, makes me all stressed if i come to bridges and what not, especially with 2 children to watch as well.
Thanks for the comment x

Hannah said...

You're right, one of the events wouldb've be fine but all of them? Nah uh! People really can be selfish and rude it's very upsetting, especially for the children! Hope you don't have too many of those 'episodes' I know full well what you're describing, it's awful.
I think i'll try your image idea xx

Hannah said...

Thanks Hannah, that's really nice of you. I shall remember that mantra xxx

Hannah said...

Thank-you for commenting Jo. I really like your technique you've described. I think I was told something similar when I had CBT last year but obviously something I forgot. Thank you xx

Hannah said...

You are so, so not alone. This train stuff is what i would call my 'high risk' activity which is something i identified from my CBT last year. I felt ready to push myself but clearly not quite ready (at least with the children AND the pushchair)
Hope you continue to get better. Pop by anytime! xx