I decided whilst standing in my bathroom this morning, to write about something I deal with silently.
Well, not completely silently, James gets to see and hear about it, and a few friends that study psych have used it to help them remember facts for the exams..
I am a bubbly, outgoing extrovert with a fairly intact self esteem, and usually have good confidence levels. But I have this problem.
People who meet me probably wouldn't ever expect it.
It's not really something that people are particularly comfortable talking about, although through increased media exposure regarding acceptance of mental health, we are slowly becoming less judgmental.
I have an irrational phobia of vomit and certain illness.
I have had this phobia for as long as I can remember. I couldn't tell you how it started, or recall any particular traumatic childhood experience that shaped my fear.
I used to run out of the room with my hands over my ears if someone was about to be sick.
I got much better as I got older, and of course children throw up from time to time, so dealing with it hands on so to speak was inevitable.
But whilst my phobia of others being sick has waned somewhat, my fear of being sick myself is an ever present 'threat'.
I spent a little under $1000 earlier this year sitting in front of a clinical psychologist who took me through mindfulness CBT. (just google it, it's easier)
It was very helpful, but I found I was having to use the exercises every day and was so tried of feeling panicked all the time.
We had been in a car crash about a week after I stopped seeing the therapist, we were hit by a drunk driver, who wrote of our car and two others. We were fine, as was everyone else, miraculously.
I told myself I wasn't going to be scared of driving.
I worked on it.
I was remarkably better than I expected to be, but still, the adrenaline was pumping through my body all the time, at the smallest things.
One day, I felt unwell.
I didn't want to get out of bed.
I knew this thing was starting to get worse, I wasn't sleeping, and I was fed up.
So, I went to the doctor, and said
"please help me"
I'm not depressed at all, I am very happy, in fact, but I need to not feel like there will be an earthquake everyday. It's that constant anticipation, following you around like an unwanted shadow.
Yelling at you through the unsettled stomach.
Scratching at you like an old, rough jersey... too tight, too irritating
So she gave me some pills.
And I have been taking them for about 4 weeks now.
And, I guess, I'm starting to feel a bit better to be honest.
The side effects of anti depressants (also used for panic disorders and anxiety) aren't much fun.
Tired, unsettled stomach (although that is also a symptom of anxiety, which ironically for me comes from the fear of being sick...) and dulling of some other more fun aspects of married life.. ahem.
But I am driving without too much adrenalin now.
I don't feel as scared.
There are moments when I want to run and hide from crowds with too much noise (like a concert I went to recently and discovered, I am now, actually too old for such things)!
That was scary and uncomfortable, but I had to stay and get over it.
I mostly "worry" (classic) that I am letting James down by being this way.
He didn't sign up for this! I wasn't like this when he met, which probably leads him to the conclusion that it is somehow his fault,
which, of course it is not.
One day I hope to never have to bug him with my complaints.
And be able to feel free again.
I believe it will happen.
And at least he's there beside me holding my hand :)
So, I'll keep taking my pills, and studying hard the subject which is so close to home,
and hope I can say it has all been for something.