Dark days…. It doesn’t look very threatening when you see these two words separately. It may not even pack much of a punch when you see them side by side….But feeling it in your mind and soul is something else entirely.
I have been MIA from this blog for a while now and it’s because of those so called, ‘dark days.’ I’ve been in a bad place anxiety wise and it has taken every ounce of strength I possess to drag myself out of it. I really felt like there was no end in sight and I will admit that I was terrified that I might feel like that forever. Everything in my life triggered my anxiety to an unbearable degree, things that until then hadn’t even really featured on my “anxiety radar.” Anyone who has actually seen or read this blog will know that i endeavour to be as open and honest as i can where my mental health is concerned. But this time, i didn’t want to drag anyone else into the abyss I felt I was falling into. I didn’t want to write about it or talk about it, I just wanted it to go away, I wanted to hide it from EVERYONE!
Now that I am on the other side of it though I think i will talk about it. If you’re going through the same, I know it feels like there is NO end in sight and no light at the end of the massively daunting tunnel, but i promise you there is. It may be slightly out of reach at the moment, but it is definitely there.
I can’t pin point the exact trigger that started it, believe me I’ve tried, it just felt like i woke up one day and that was it…. All I know is that it was much, much scarier than I am used to. I have no idea why or what triggered it, but it felt worse this time somehow. It was like, even though I KNEW that what was going on in my head wasn’t real, I still believed it. That is the worst explanation ever, unfortunately it’s the only one i have… I woke up one morning, got my kids up and made breakfast, then had a full blown panic attack in the middle of the kitchen in front of all 4 kids for NO apparent reason. I had to take myself upstairs and leave my 3 year old with my 15 year old while i gathered myself…. 20 minutes…20 bloody minutes it took me to get myself under enough control to be able to go downstairs and be with my children. Even after those minutes had passed i was still shaking enough that i had to sit down, my whole body vibrating like a ringing mobile phone on a glass coffee table. Now, for the past month and a half that is what i had been dealing with… Constant shaking, crying, panic, nightmares and because of the latter two, lack of sleep. I won’t say insomnia because having nightmares means that i must be sleeping at some point, however, sleep deprivation is definitely having my life right now! My brain would trigger random and frankly evil thoughts at the most ridiculous times… The next sentence might seem a tad drastic, but this is the stuff my brain comes up with; Imagine nodding off, feeling tired and heavy and ready for sleep for your brain to say, “your kids could all be dead in their beds and you’re here sleeping.” It was 1AM and I was darting from room to room making sure my kids were all alive. After the instant rush of relief when, surprise, they were all fine, came the panic attack. I curled up in a ball on the landing floor pressing my face into the carpet rocking myself to calm my nerves. That was one night out of many.
I didn’t speak to anyone about it, not even my other half, because even to me it seemed bloody stupid! Now though, as always, i wish i had reached out to someone, anyone, because maybe having someone talk it out with me would have kept me from being too much in my own head!? I have spent a lot of nights curled up on that landing floor over the last month or so and the only relief I have is that when I am doing that my kids haven’t had to witness it. I’m not saying that i haven’t had panic attacks or anxiety attacks in front of my children at all but they haven’t been as severe as the one at the very beginning. Fingers crossed. As silly as it sounds, i would much rather go to pieces on the landing floor at 1 in the morning on my own than in front of my kids….Even if some nights, after coming around, I was being licked to death by our little Yorkie-Poo Arlo. (Who somehow manages to squeeze through his pet gate!)
My older children are aware that I have anxiety and they’re aware of the restrictions and physical symptoms it brings, but that does not mean that I can’t try and shield from it sometimes. Especially when even I can’t seem to deal with it properly. It has left me feeling physically and mentally drained, it left me feeling sick and achy and it left me with daily headaches and multiple migraines…For apparently no other reason than because it could. When September rolled around it it was almost, ALMOST unbearable. I wake up every morning and make sure my children have breakfast, make sure they have their homework, packed lunches and then i ship them off to school and nursery (yes my baby boy goes to nursery now… heartbroken!). When daddy has loaded the girls up in the van and I have dropped my little man at nursery, I close the door and have a little cry to myself. School is scary, for parents and children. What if they don’t make friends, what if someone is mean to them, what if someone tries to kidnap them, what if they get hit by a car, or a bus, or a truck, on their way home? The thoughts are daunting and endless and even on a day like today when i feel more like me the thoughts are still there, lingering. Up until last week i was picking my 11 year old daughter up from school, not because she wanted me to, but because i couldn’t cope with the fact that she may be walking home alone. Now though twice a week, thanks to after school club and early finish on a Friday she walks home with her big sisters and the other three days she walks home with her friends. I will admit I am not entirely comfortable with it but my issues do not need to be reflected on my daughter, so we have an agreement. If there is a day where she has no one to walk home with and her sisters finish late, then I will meet her near school. Otherwise she gets to be a normal pre-teen and walk home with her friends….. Scary as hell for any mother, but necessary for a child who craves some sort of independence.
I am, thankfully, feeling more like me at the moment. I am not 100% and i doubt i ever will be, but I am feeling better (mentally at least) and excited for the next few months. I used to hate the cold weather I HATED it! I hated having to wear massive jumpers under massive coats and I hated the dark mornings and dark tea times. I detested the rain and the fact that I had to have the heating on. Now though, I am ready for it. I am ready to be snuggled under a quilt with my babies with a massive hot chocolate and squirty cream as we listen to the rain hammering the windows. I am excited for my house to smell like apples and cinnamon from all the “winter baking” we plan on doing. I can’t wait for the dark cosy nights and the thousands of fairy lights that will inevitably make their way into our living room come December. After possibly one of the worst years I have ever known i think i am ready to love the things i once hated with a passion. I get to have cosy nights in with my other half and my kids, watching silly festive films while we eat stodgy winter food and drink hot chocolate out of mugs that are big enough to be cereal bowls. Halloween will consist of ALL the sweets and the best Halloween films around before we get back to our official Christmas countdown! Despite the last couple of months and the crippling anxiety I am ready for the fun and games of the next several weeks! I think my amazing kids have earned it,
Happy October. Loves V xxxx
P>S: If you are struggling please don’t hesitate to tell me. Leave your email address in the comments if you need to and i promise i will get back to you asap.