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Trying to deal with anxiety and loss after relationship break up

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  • #275973
    Shelbyville
    Participant

    Michelle,

    If I stand back, I can see it. He’s petrified. He often told me in deep conversations of how scared of the future he was. He described his point of view a few times and it was EXACTLY the same strange point of view I had before I met him. We actually were very similar when we first met. Anyway, it’s makes no odds now. He’ll never explore his reasons and is happy to just live a life where he is not presented with questions or any pressures.

    I must say, you’ve given me a good idea. I literally asked my therapist how would I live out my life now until I die. I explained that I fundamentally do not believe any future happiness awaits me. That’s it for me now. However, I feel I have a life now and can’t exactly hand it back, so what am I supposed to do with it? So maybe I can just go around doing my best to make others happy!

    Kkasxo,

    You’ll be ok. You’ll make it through again, it’s just natural to want to have him comfort you because you are in need of comfort. What can you do to comfort yourself? Can you some meditation in bed? Breathe through you feelings and maybe ask yourself some questions, like why do I need to contact him….and question each answer.

    The therapy this evening definitely helped as I was spiralling some I think. He said I can’t see the wood for the trees in the sense that it’s just 4 months after being 4 years with him and having such a special relationship. So he said I’m still being too hard on myself to try and be ‘better’ or be moved on. He added that he feels it’s probably far to soon in my particular case to be looking at the prospect of a new relationship. So I’m relieved!! Because I was only considering the notion because everyone kept telling me it’d help!

    Im going to the swimming pool tonight with my cousin. Hoping it’ll help me sleep better!

    Would you burn some anxiety in gym?

    #276025
    Victoria
    Participant

    Hello Everyone,

    I have had a busy day so I have just been reading the forum tonight. I will right a more detailed reply tomorrow as right now I just wanted to get on here and express myself as I am finding it difficult to sleep tonight.

    Today was a good day as I have thrown myself into uni work and attempting to socialise so I break my hinbernation mode I seem to have become so familliar with recently. Everything was going fine until I went to socialise with a group of individuals who were watching a movie. Now prior to spontaneously turning up I did not know what movie it was, turns out it was one my ex’s favourite and on top of that a lot of it was grusome and unpleasant with some triggers that made my anxiety increase.

    After an event that momentarily made me feel happy and confident I had put myself out there and proved that its not as hard as my mind makes it out to be when I came home I felt shattered and hoped that it would mean I might get an early night.

    However, all I have done is wondered if he is okay and just thought the worst of the worst. At the weekend all I could imagine was him with someone else. I am like @Kkasxo ex, I do not want a relationship with anyone right now.

    Currently, I believe it stems from fear and lacking confidence, I need to find the parts I lost of myself and unfortunately my ex, due to a traumatic event that I did not seek help for until after six months of beating myself up about it meant that the relationship became stressful when before it had been my safe haven, it was why I knew I needed to end it for him just as much for myself. – sorry if I am repeating myself, just needed to add some context.

    So this evening I can’t get comfy and I think I am allergic to my eyeliner so my eyes have been sensative to light which has not helped . I just wish he would reach out even if its just a “how are you”, because he is not active on social media so I can’t quickly check, even if he was posting kissing someone new at least I would know he was okay. Why do I feel this need to protect someone who is older and has looked after themselves long before they met me?

    I may be at the anger/sad or just sad stage as I started trying to convince myself of all the flaws so I could justify my decision to end things and why he hasn’t contacted. It angers me because he knows im a worrier but at the same time it my emotions arent his responsibility and he doesn’t know I am wondering if he’s okay after a weekend of partying (what happens if he ended in a&e from drinking too much?, those kind of thoughts are whirring around my mind right now).

    I’ve just felt on edge after that movie and he would be the person I would seek comfort from. The comfort I would give myself right now would be sleep but I have a headache from crying and I am too awake. You know the state where you can feel the physical tiredness but your brain won’t sync with your body. I might try meditation.

    – V

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by Victoria.
    #276059
    Kkasxo
    Participant

    Morning ladies,

    I hope you’re both feeling a bit better this morning.

    I myself had one hell of a night, unfortunately I ended up spiralling last night, something that hasn’t happened now since October so it scared the hell out of me once again and brought to my attention just how real these moments are and that they do indeed just wait around the corner. I thought I was making progress until I found myself back in that terrifying place. It just confirmed my thoughts on the need for my ex and the fact that I may have outgrown the relationship itself, but I still need the connection just in case of the dark times. My ex rushed to my rescue and I was grateful for this as I was all alone and spiralling terribly. God, I honestly hate every second of this. I wonder how I have become this person honestly. It is beyond me or my understanding. I used to be so normal… and now I have literally hit rock bottom.

    Victoria – it is natural that you worry about your ex, you may not want to be with him right now but you still care. But you just have to trust that he’s wise enough to look after himself when you are not around, which I am sure he’s doing. Are you seeking help now after your trauma? Do you think exploring more of your trauma on here will help gain some insight into your anxiety? No pressure at all, feel free to share as little or as much as you are comfortable with. I am assuming that your problems too began following a traumatic event?

     

    #276065
    Kkasxo
    Participant

    Hi all,

    So I write again as I feel absolutely lost..

    I can feel myself in absolute overdrive all of today, the warning signs before a complete spiral and with the last one only hours ago I’m terrified. I am getting to a point of no return if I am honest. I have come to the conclusion that I will never get through this. I can spend days, weeks even going on about my day, getting myself to work, working out etc but the pain ALWAYS returns, without a doubt. And it is this completely overwhelming, full of intensity kind of pain that takes over my body, my mind, my soul. It’s never going to stop. I’m never going to be able to move past any of this. I’m never going to get better. I’m never going to be able to lead a somewhat normal life because it’ll always take me by surprise and return. I feel stuck, suffocated, struggling for breath and I am completely at my wits end. I have no more fight left within me to continue down this road. I am done. There is no more. I am so utterly shattered. I can openly say that from May 2018 onwards my life, my person, everything is gone. I feel destroyed, obliterated, desecrated, annihilated, demolished, shattered, demoralised and I simply am not coping anymore. My head is pounding, my heart is beating out of my chest, my hands are shaking, my muscles hurt.

    I want to scream for help, some kind of release but I realise that there is nothing in this world that will help me. Nobody can help me. No amount of therapy, self help books, reading, researching, meditation, exercise, socialising, self-love or whatever else anyone puts on the list, none of it can or will help me.

    #276073
    Shelbyville
    Participant

    Kkasxo,

    Sorry I’ve been away from my desk at meetings and just back. Tell me about the spiral….what happens? Let’s take the scariness out of it, that’s what my therapist says.NOTHING can hurt you, I promise, you are safe, in a building which won’t fall down or on the edge of a cliff or facing a gun, you WILL BE ok. So let’s see if we can shake some of the fear from the spiral.

    I’m giving you a hug right now. I truly am, you will be ok. Can I tell you something? The thoughts you are having are lies. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means saying you are lying, but I’ve had those exact spirals…I have. I recognise them so well. It’s fear and pain twisting your mind. Telling you you won’t ever get better, it’s simply not true. You can, it is very possible.

    So basically, from what little I know about healing and psychology, you endured the most painful thing you have ever felt in your life. To move on, you will have to feel that pain, every debilitating, shattering, excruciating piece of it. Remember my analogy about the thorn and you can spend your whole life moving about trying to avoid anyone bumping off the thorn or navigating ways to manage the pain from the thorn, but that’s not a great life. If you pull out the thorn, if hurts like a beeeeeeeep, but it’s gone forever and you don’t have to worry about it anymore.

    You only started therapy recently, I have been going to therapy for years – it can take time. Emotional issues are deep rooted and just need a good bit of work and time…..but hey…you’re 26….you’ve got time right? Let’s say I said to you, Kammy, if you’re willing to work hard, your pain will be gone by the time you turn 30, would you do it? I think you would, you’d hate the sh*t for 4 years, but think of the other 60 or 70 years you have left after that that would get to be amazing!

    Don’t let your mind fool you, you can withstand this. We’re here with you and you are most certainly not alone, I can assure you. Kick Martha’s ass, it’s a bad week, you’re letting the pain in ever so slightly more, but I’ve been told that a millennia old mechanism that protects us ensures we don’t let in any more can we can survive at any given time. I have faith in you.

    #276077
    Michelle
    Participant

    Kkasxo. Try to breathe, calm. I know you are scared and at the same time angry at yourself for being here. It will pass. It has before, it will again. Try to be as compassionate to yourself as you would if you were looking after someone else in this situation. Is it possible to go be with a friend or call your therapist – you sound like you could do with some company if you are alone. I know your ex is usually your comfort/safe place – be forgiving on yourself if you need him now again.

    You are stronger than you know but right now just accept and do the best you can to stay calm – it is all anyone can do. There is a way out but it is long – anything worthwhile usually is. And you are worth it.

    #276109
    Kkasxo
    Participant

    Shelby & Michelle,

    Thank you both for your kind words, honestly, in a time like this every tiny detail makes the biggest difference.

    Now rationally I would like to believe that I’ll get through it and that the only way is up and the lot, on a normal day that proves difficult, on a day like this it is impossible.

    Shelby, you asked what happens during my spiral. Let’s start at the beginning. The first ‘spiral’ I have ever experienced was days after my trauma. I wasn’t okay, I was in complete shut down mode but I was surviving, as we do and literally within minutes I went from staring blankly at the TV screen (myself and two of my friends were watching a movie) to being in absolute hysterics, crying in complete panic. The feelings of I am stuck, I don’t deserve anything good to ever happen to me, what has happened to my life, who am I, what have I ever possibly done to deserve any of this, why does this hurt so bad, why is this happening to me suddenly taking over my whole body like a whirlwind. I have no answers, all I am aware of in that moment is the lack of answers, the intensity of the pain felt and the extreme need to escape, by any means necessary – each time leading to me resulting to the conclusion that the only way through it is to die, that is the only way I will not feel this pain anymore. Prior to my trauma I have never experienced any mental health issues, depression let alone suicidal thoughts to the first time this happened to me I was so terrified, I didn’t feel safe even around my own self, how could I be capable of even thinking those thoughts?! Am I actually capable of doing ‘the deed’?! Since then, I’ve had probably about 5/6 more of these, last one being in October, with that I really thought I was making progress – foolish me!

    Although I can never really pinpoint how I get myself in such a state or what triggers it each and every one of my moments so far was always based on my trauma and the difficulty of having to live the rest of my life carrying the weight of it. However last night I felt was different, I remember thinking ‘the only way to get away from this man is to die.. that is the only way I’ll ever be able to live without him’. That’s messed up. Now he really is not a terrible person at all and I don’t think neither him or I ever expected for the events to effect me in this way but my mental health at the moment is clearly so deteriorated that I literally cannot cope with much at all. The anxiety around the whole separation situation with him, whilst rationally wanting to get away has probably played a part in last night’s spiral. I’m so up and down right now I can’t understand myself or how I can possibly help myself. I wonder how I went from a completely functioning young woman to someone who is clearly suffering with mental health in an extreme way – how did this happen to me?! I actually feel like I sound like a crazy lady at times.

    I remember the analogy about the thorn.. I thought therapy would help with pulling that thorn out, exploring every aspect around the trauma, feeling all those feelings and learning to deal with them but this spiral has just proven that perhaps it’s not working as well as I thought. That just goes back to the idea of time, I hope & pray that by 30 I will be okay. That I would have learnt how to live a content life post trauma but it seems so unrealistic. I realise it has only been 8 months so in hindsight it isn’t a long time considering I had to practically start my life all over again, but it is still a long time to be suffering and trying my hardest to get by and just when you think you’ve taken one step forward you are presented with the worst, the spiral. It is so disheartening and gives me no hope for the future.

    Michelle, it is interesting you mention trying to be compassionate to myself as though I was looking after another in my situation. When I look at it that way I think you are doing so well, you have no idea just how well you really are doing taking into consideration what you have been through, you are completely entitled to feel at the lowest of the low right now and it is okay. But when I try to tell myself it doesn’t apply..

    My friend who normally sits with me through these moments lives pretty far, so I’m afraid no can do there. In any case, I think I prefer to shut myself out anyway in these moments and just be alone – when I’m coming down from my spiral that is. When it’s ongoing although I prefer to be alone I realise it is not a good choice, just in case.

    I keep telling myself I am strong, I really really do but I am just running out of strong at the moment. I am so tired of fighting this endless battle on my own and being no better off at all. I feel I will not have the energy to continue my life in this way for the rest of my days.

     

    #276153
    Shelbyville
    Participant

    Kkasxo,

    You are not crazy. Wanna know why? Because I’VE felt exactly what you’re feeling. Oh my god, you’ve nearly described how I’ve felt in some of my spirals. I promise you, it is a natural reaction.  It’s absolutely frightening, terrifying, I mean……when I think of it now…..I was lying on the couch, realising I just wanted to die. I really did. I told my therapist Ibwas ready to go, my life was done. But thinking these thoughts and doing something about them are different things. Very different as he explained.

    One Sunday evening I nearly threw up with the pain in my body and soul, I was screaming and frightened. My sister and her family were far away for the weekend and could nothing for me. I had previously relied on them heavily, I called her and howled down the phone about the pain. She was distressed but had reached a point where she could do nothing at a distance. She said ‘Shelby, I can’t help you. I love you and I’ll be here for you always, hey you can live with us if you like, but right now YOU have to do it for yourself. I can’t pull you out of the hole, you have to WANT to get out of it. You have to help yourself like you help others’. I hung up and was even more upset, feeling lonely and abandoned. And when the tears screamed to an end, and I had adjusted to the level of pain and I realised ‘she’s right, I need to do it myself, FOR myself’. I got up and put on my trainers and went for a long walk. I felt marginally better when I got back and called my sister. She was bawling crying hoping she hadn’t set me over the edge. She was so worried. But she knew her limitations. SHE couldn’t take away my pain, SHE couldn’t make me happy, I had to try, myself. She is always there for me, but now I try a little more myself.

    Maybe you will have a moment. Now, don’t think I don’t know how bad the spirals are. But I printed out a sign and it’s on the side of my desk that says ‘This too shall pass’. It was my anchor for when anxiety used to get a grip. It’s just a tether to reality.

    Do whatever you need to survive right now. Do what you need to, never mind what anyone thinks or says. Your natural instinct will find something to help you survive.

    Dont worry bout therapy, I honestly know it takes a good bit of time to work through things. I’m sorry to say, it’s often more than a couple of months.

    The biggest thing that hit me in therapy was my therapist said ‘of course you’re in pieces, you have been hit by a proverbial double decker bus and anyone who says otherwise is wrong’. He says it’s absolutely right and true that you are on the floor you poor poor thing. Don’t try and get up, you should acknowledge the enormity of your loss. Each time I looked for the path to healing, he would again reiterate and I think he knew. Be sad, be broken, be down, be devastated, be weak, aren’t you entitled to? For the moment.

    Perhaps you spent such energy trying to heal and move on not worry people that you didn’t appreciate the impact of the traumas at the time. I say traumas because it was more than one. First, the original one. But it was traumatic to break up with the man you love too. Two traumas. That’s A LOT. You are absolutely doing as good as anyone could be expected to in that situation.

    #276203
    Kkasxo
    Participant

    Shelby,

    It is so comforting to know that I am not alone in this, please don’t take this in the wrong way at all as I do not wish you any pain, only happiness, but it is comfort to know that perhaps I am not going as crazy as I think..

    Your description of the spiral is exactly that. That overwhelming feeling of ‘I do not want this life anymore. I just want to die’, almost like I have trialled, tested and exhausted every option to heal and get better and there is nothing left but to just escape reality. That final escape, once and for all. That was me yesterday, on the floor unable to even dress myself following my bath, crying, screaming. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and not recognising the person looking back at me. What a mess. You are right though, thinking it and doing it are two different things and I thankfully I am still here 8 months later BUT it is absolutely terrifying. When it first happened I was lost, shocked, how has this happened to me?!

    You’re very lucky that you have such a special relationship with your sister. You speak very highly of her and often and it is clear that she has helped you in some of your darkest moments, she loves and treasures you very much. I too like to think I’ve got an incredible relationship both with my sisters and my mum, but I just can’t seem to reach out to them for support or a helping hand. I cannot. I feel it’ll hurt them and in turn hurt me even more to see them hurt. I do believe that this is something that remained from the trauma as they were my only source of support and yet I saw them crumble and break into pieces just as much as me, I witnessed that pain in their eyes when they held me and cried with me. As much as the events were out of my control, I never want to be the cause of that pain again. So instead I normally turn to my friend, the same friend I spoke of in many of my posts but it has gotten to a point where I don’t want to bother her anymore (even though she reminds me each time that it does not and she wants more than anything to be there for me) but I know what it’s like to have your own life, especially when she gives me such valuable, understanding advice that my silly self seems to ignore most of the time – beyond my control but nonetheless.

    That saying the only way through it is literally through it, feel the pain. I have and I don’t want to anymore. I feel like it has gotten too much, too far and right now it is not something I can deal with. It literally feels like I have tried everything under the sun to feel better at this stage. I have tried to not feel, I have tried to feel, read, journal, therapy, exercise. What to do next? Because it’s not like I’m not trying to help myself. I’ve just hit a brick wall.

    How did you get yourself out of the spiral?

    #276243
    nextsteps
    Participant

    Hello Kkasxo,

    Not sure if I should post or not as you, Shelby, Victoria and Valora (and anyone else I may have missed) are being such a good support network on this thread, you sound like old friends which is lovely.

     

    I just wanted to try and help if I could with my experience of the spiral and how to try and slow it down. I really feel for you as I have struggled with this and probably still will in the future as the thoughts–low mood–i want the pain to stop and me to die cycle is so hard to see when you are in it and it feels totally overwhelming. My therapist calls them “emotional flashbacks” maybe of trauma from childhood and/or the actual trauma itself. I find it hard to know when I am am in one as the thoughts seem so real aka it seems a real thought to hate myself and want to die and feel totally hopeless. However, she has given me some markers to try and identify it before it spirals too far and becomes overwhelming aka me crying and crying in bed. These are:

    1) wanting to post lots of messages to her on the online therapy portal

    2) my life seeming “all wrong” – black and white thinking

    33) me wanting to run away, get a tattoo, quit my job or any other drastic decision

    4) me wanting to die and googling “i want to die” “i feel hopeless” “i hate myself” etc

    5) feeling entirely without hope

    6) not wanting to go outside or see anyone or do any work etc etc.

    It can be so hard (and I had this for about 2 years solid at least) where I felt like that every day, so the low energy kind of feels “normal” if very very exhausting and draining and scary. It was also scary if i felt “okay ish” or dare i say it “happy” as I know “the fall” would come (which it always did).

    When I can either tell I am starting a spiral or in a spiral, my therapist has told me to do the things you have done eg journal, meditate, exercise, eat right etc. On some days I find that none of these things work. On those days I tend to kind of accept it and go to bed early with a good book and a hot bottle and kind of zone out. She says that sleep or meditating is kind of a “reset” and can help reset your mood/energy levels. She also said about appreciating the little things aka sunrise, cup of coffee etc. When I am in a low mood/spiral those little things feel like absolutely nothing. My thoughts at that time are: “how dare you deserve and enjoy this coffee, you are worthless, and life is hopeless, and coffee is bad for you, you cant even choose one thing right, life is pointless.. how about wine instead??!” Etc so its REALLY HARD for me to enjoy the little things as they sont seem “enough” or i would see a nice sunset and feel numb (and then feel scared) as its like any feelings arent getting through or get through in waves that take me over. I have a gratitude journal which helps me actively appreciate things (on a good day) or at least remember them (on a bad day).

    I find that if I have a routine that does all of those things I am okay but if I fall out of my routine or skip for a day or two as I am feeling better, the whole thing falls apart and i am back to crying and crying again.

    For me, my routine starts with listening to youtube video https://youtu.be/ygCZo9vVNJw which is just long enough for me to get dressed and put my trainers on. I then go for a 30 min run-come back have breakfast etc etc and it seems that if I start right and then always try and do “the next right thing” whatever that may be in your day, it all follows on.

    I have also tried antidepressants. They didnt work for me as it just made me feel hungover and at the same time not sleep. So far exercise has been the kind of glue holding things together as whilst I am running i am not thinking. On the days where nothing works, I tend to go out for a long run eg 1 hour and run and run through the tears until I am too tired and stop as that at least stops thought temporarily.

    Other things that help on the bad days are literally the little things aka wearing a fleecy jumper in bed, reading an uplifting book, googling “mind” the charity and reading stories from people who have been in similar positions, looking at ruby etc posts on twitter (they are funny and true). Just very small things.

     

    I really really hope you start to feel better. From you and Shelby’s posts you both are strong, courageous, honest and kind people that any guy would be so so lucky to have. Xx

    #276249
    nextsteps
    Participant

    Sorry Michelle, didnt mean to miss you off.

     

    One last thing after reading your post again, my therapist also told me to write about my feelings every morning or evening with a time limit of 10 minutes. I do not sucseed in doing this as the feelings/spiral tends to take over and cloud my feelings for the whole day so maybe journalling isnt always helpful. I find (for me) that if I dont get outside in the morning/move I tend to stagnate and my feelings go downwards with that.

    A lovely distraction if you havent watched it is the detectorists on BBC (I think), its a slow paced, british series that was my escape when I was in a low low time. X

    #276251
    Shelbyville
    Participant

    Kkasxo,

    I completely understand and empathise with you. Ok firstly, I increased the serotonin booster medication. My GP has been with me since I was young so he wasn’t someone who was just shoving pills into my hand. He said that I’m just going through a tough time where I can’t see out of the fog and the medication just helps me clear the haze until I’m able to do it on my own.

    My therapist also felt it was a good decision and smart and self care. He said for highly sensitive people all of the emotion all at once can be overwhelming so the medication helps me to get a grip on it. Within 8 days, I literally looked back on myself and thought ‘wow, how was I even IN that darkest of places’. Also my therapist says he sees no reason why I need to be on it long term, so we’ll look at reducing the dose again in a couple of months.

    Secondly, perspective. A big big part of it. So…a spiral is in our heads. The world becomes what is in our heads. Our truth becomes what’s in our heads. It’s not true of course, but you can’t see that at the time. So that dark dark day, when I went for a walk, I saw the countryside, I saw the leaves on the trees, I saw my neighbours, I saw people going about there business. THIS was real life, not what my mind was telling me. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t skip gleefully back home that evening, but getting out of my head, stopping the spiral in its tracks by physically moving just seemed to keep me from the brink.

    Can I just add a sidenote, you said something funny, well more incorrect. Yes your family suffered pain, but no because of you. Nothing was because of you. The trauma caused them pain, what happened caused them pain- something u admit was completely out of your control so it was something that happened TO all of you not BECAUSE of you. There is no blame. Also, do you know what unconditional love is? I do, I have it for my family, especially my baby nephew. I would do anything for him, I’d give my life for him, because I love him. However, that love comes with risks….if I open my heart to love him, he might get sick, he might run in front of a car, he might choke, these are all associated with love, but it’s worth it. Your family loves you, something happened which they too must deal with, but they are still standing too aren’t they??? After all the pain, they too found their own survival methods. So don’t worry about trying to protect them too much, they love you and that’s why it hurts them. But they’ll be able for it. x

    #276265
    Shelbyville
    Participant

    @nextsteps

    Thank you so much for posting and for your support. I will definitely try the advice you shared. Thank for taking the time to help.

    #276279
    Kkasxo
    Participant

    Good evening both,

    First of all I just want to say how ever grateful I am that you have both taken the time to share with me your stories, advice and kind words! It never fails to amaze me how someone you don’t really even know can feel very much like a dear friend – thank you.

    Nextsteps, you’re always more than welcome to join in the conversation at anytime! We are always here supporting one another through the ups and downs, me personally, I have found this forum to be a God send! It definitely has helped me through some of the darkest times! Again, I am welcoming the fact that the spiral is indeed a real thing, it does indeed happen to people, it isn’t just me, it is real and I am not going crazy. I can definitely relate to the markers your therapist has offered you. I mentioned earlier in my post that I can never really pin point the trigger to my spiral but that is perhaps it isn’t just a one of thing, maybe there are several things happening in the background all stacking on top of one another and then BAM! The spiral! That would make sense, I had a panic/anxiety attack only a few days ago, a very up and down two weeks, was actually physically sick on Saturday. All these things adding up and effectively maybe adding to the spiral. So it is interesting that your therapist has explored those ideas with you so you can sense one approaching in the future – I will try to apply this to my life and see if I can identify it before it happens.

    Furthermore, you have described ‘the spiral’ to a T, literally! All the advice in the world and I still probably couldn’t appreciate the sunrise, or a good cup of coffee in that moment. My therapist has advised me that when feeling particularly low it it can sometimes feel like an out of body experience, in which case it can sometimes help to bring yourself back into the here and now – breathing helps. I normally try breathing exercises and to cling onto anything that I can physically feel, a chair, a table, anything near me at that time to remind me I am still here, I can feel, I can see, I can smell, all is okay. Now this does tend to help with anxiety attacks but it is just not effective enough in the spiral. As you rightly said, once you’re in it it seems like there is no way out.

    I really didn’t pay too much attention to routine until you mentioned it, although I do notice a pattern of when the mind is a mess so are my days, complete lack of structure, so perhaps it has something to do with it. It would make sense that when your mind is in absolute overdrive and all over the place , the unknown so to speak the only thing you can give it is some routine, things you know, to bring some order and peace, a known place. Over the last few months I have made a little routine for myself also, I tried my take myself to the gym and work out, I would have a nice nutritious salad everyday for lunch, little things like those. As expected, I haven’t worked out in the last three weeks or so and am eating complete rubbish. In a bid to do just that I have gone and purchased my bits for my delicious salad for lunch, I bought my expensive but favourite coffee for the morning and prepared my clothes for work – order. Let’s start small!

    Shelby – In regards to your anxiety medication, again you are very lucky to have a GP who has been with you since young! Unfortunately I can’t say the same about mine, I don’t actually even know who my doctor is as everytime I schedule an appointment I seem to see someone different each time. I have stuck out so long without medication, mainly due to willpower if I am honest but I do find myself questioning more and more frequently whether it would be good to give it a go, particularly when I am struggling like this! Also, I think what you said about getting out into the real world is somewhat similar to what I try with my breathing exercises as a means to bring you back to reality and out of your head. Funnily enough, when I left my house to drive to Tesco this evening to pick up my salad bits it had started snowing. We hardly ever get snow here in London so it gave me just an inkling of excitement. As I parked up I watched people running into the shop as quickly as they could to get out of the snowy shower whilst I stood there for a little while and welcomed it all, the cold flakes on my skin, looking up at the snow against the light of the lamppost, it was my little way of getting myself back to reality and I do feel better for it.

    I must admit, despite feeling extremely shattered today with a pounding headache that I am unable to kick, at this stage my emotional state is slowly easing off, my mind isn’t on an emotional and irrational roller-coaster right now and I am so thankful for the reprieve. Rather I think I am now trying to analyse ways in which I can prevent this from happening in the future. I think I have a long way to go. For now, I will take on the advice given and make myself a lovely cup of coffee in the morning, get back into making my salads, and I need to get back to working out! Also something I think may help in the long run I have disabled all of my activity logs on social media meaning that I can’t see who is online and when, something I found myself checking back and forth continuously over the last few days, and I have decided to limit my screen time significantly over the next few days to focus on more important things. There is absolutely no need for me to be stuck in screen time going from app to app only to see the same irrelevant things, checking who was online and when (we all know this one is for my ex), it does me no good and I’d rather focus my time on relevant, meaningful interactions with you ladies on Tiny Buddha, and anything else that brings some kind of positive input in my life.

    I had a break of nearly 3 months since the last spiral so I cross my fingers that that’ll be the last of it, at least for a few months!

    #276361
    Michelle
    Participant

    Morning all.

    Kkasxo – so happy to hear you are feeling a bit better, that the worst is shifting.  I don’t have as much amazing advice as either Shelby or Nextsteps, who have both courageously shared their experiences so well. But I do identify with the advice on learning to recognise your triggers and break the cycle before it gets hold of you deep. Funnily enough, it was also doing something physical that worked for me, getting outside if I could or else just moving and ideally talking to someone else about something else entirely. It would bring my brain back to the present, help me calm down and break the cycle of negative thoughts that would otherwise drag me down.  Brains do love habits & routine, they ache for it, it’s safe and known, even if it’s not a good or helpful routine. So learning to change what happens after the triggers is key to creating a new routine for your brain to follow. A very very trivial example – take this dry Jan – the hardest part for me is always the first week, breaking the habits. It then actually feels odd the first time I have a drink after completing it, as that’s now the new habit for my brain!  Obviously the deeper engrained the routine/habit, the harder and longer it takes to replace it, there’s some interesting reading about it for sure. Another useful tool can be to instead of trying to just kick the habit from day one, treat it like a coming off a drug and purposefully include it into your routine in a controlled way, i.e. not go total cold turkey from day one. So, say set aside one half-hour a day for thinking/analysing/contacting your ex but know that at the end of the half-hour you go out the house to the gym and switch mind-set. Then cut down to every other day etc. By setting yourself an allocated time and learning how to stop at the end of it you create new habits that your brain can adopt, feel safe with, knowing when it will get it’s ‘fix’. Who knows, I am most definately not an expert but these are things that have worked for me in the past.  Btw – no snow up here in Norfolk and I love snow, so glad you enjoyed it ‘down there’ in London.

    Shelby – you are truly an awesome person. Given the background, it does sound like such a shame he can’t or won’t face up to dealing with his fears. But you are doing all you can to change the situation by changing yourself, no other way out of that cycle. And such kudos to you for choosing to respect what you want and not accept less.  The whole ‘give my life to making others happy’ thing was definately more a total abandonment of every thinking I would be happy again myself than any view on being amazing but funnily enough I do think it’s one of those odd lessons, by giving up on control and expectations, it crept up on me anyway. And in the meantime it sure as hell gave me at least a feeling of some purpose, worth, usefulness. As Kkasxo said, always with healthy boundaries but I think you have that nailed already.

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