You don’t have to live with it

You don't have to live with it

Sitting on the plane, waiting for it to take off, I feel fine. Tired, the adrenaline of the last few days is wearing off, but essentially fine. I open my iPad and scroll to the reader app; opening a book that has been on my mind for a while now and settle in. I enjoy flying; a few hours of quiet, uninterrupted time to do with what I please.

Another passenger drops into the seat beside me and the plane fills up. She opens her iPad as well, selecting Solitaire as her poison of choice, gives me a polite nod, as the man across the aisle almost takes her out with his carry on luggage.

The plane starts doing its pre-take-off thing. Doors close, hostesses demand our attention, the captain speaks as we roll backwards. I try and concentrate on the book, but I’m feeling the belt buckle press into my leg.

The book is graphic, yet highly recommended, its won awards. It will be worth it in the end, they say. Push through the violence, love the characters. And I do, but the belt buckle still pushes on my leg and in the book a character is losing his leg due to gangrene.

As the plane takes off I notice my breathing is getting tighter, shorter, harder. My head feels light, hearing muffled. I may vomit. The belt buckle is really hurting now. I run my fingers underneath it, it’s not even tight. I shuffle and try and move it into another position. It’s the book. It’s not really the book. After they amputate his leg, the character dies. My breathing gets faster and the words begin to blur on the screen.

I’m not going to die, I remind myself. I step through the techniques I’ve learned and practised time and time again. Slow down the breathing, I tell myself. Breathing in, one, two, three, hold and then release. Slowly now,  concentrate. Closing my eyes and watching the air as it comes in and out of my lungs, trying to find a way through the fog that’s filling my head.

The plane goes up, and bit by bit my breathing slows. Over the next hour and a bit, it comes back to normal. I finish the book and I don’t vomit. Not a full blown panic attack; looking around I don’t think anyone even noticed.

And that’s the way it sometimes goes. It flows over you, overwhelming every sense before receding back again and making you wonder if it even happened at all. When I land, I get my bag and walk off. Call husband and make plans for getting a taxi and discussing the ins and outs of dinner. The day goes on.

I’m lucky; I take anti-anxiety medication when I need to, and have had enough therapy to have some great tools that I can use, and generally it works.

But there was a time that I didn’t know that this wasn’t normal. I thought it happened to everyone. Surely everyone has moments, days, weeks and months when they feel overwhelmed; when they feel like they’re wading through cotton wool, unable to see the next step. Clammy, yet cold. Exhausted, but unable to sleep. I honestly did, and as a result it took me a long time to get help.

I know I’m not alone in this. In fact, recent research by Beyond Blue suggests that people still think that anxiety isn’t a genuine mental health condition, one that can be diagnosed and treated. Often they think that it’s either normal, or it’s just part of their personality. And as a result, they often don’t get the help they need.

To assist with changing this perception, Beyond Blue are reviving their campaign, ‘Get to know Anxiety‘  in an attempt to help people recognise what to look for, so they can get treatment.

If you think you need help, don’t wait, don’t ignore it. Get in touch with the trained professionals in the Beyond Blue team or make an appointment at your doctor. You don’t have to live with it on your own.

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This is not a sponsored post. Both Poss and I struggle with anxiety, so this is an issue very close to our hearts. 

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Comments

  1. Renee, have a look at my twitter feed, Kerri Sackville has posted a video she has put on you tube. Its really worthwhile.

  2. I know that feeling all too well. I never thought I suffered from anxiety and only now as I watch my daughter suffer and deal with her emotions am I starting to realise that perhaps to a certain degree the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I don’t remember having the same issues as her as a child but I can see that perhaps I share a few of those traits now. It can be quite overwhelming. You always have such a great way with words.

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