With the end of the 30 day blogging challenge in sight, I wanted to know what you wanted to read. The options were:
- Do the A to Z April Blogging Challenge
- Do the A to Z Blogging Challenge, along with picking up my HELLP syndrome story again
- Go back to my old style blogging (3 times a week)
It was a draw between the first two options. So I promptly signed Double the Monkey Business up for the A to Z Blogging challenge and… managed to spell Monkey wrong – whoops, good start!
For those that have not come across this challenge before, here is the deal. For every day in April I will do one post, except for Sundays, which is my day off. Each post has to start with a letter from the alphabet, 1 April = A, 2 April = B etc.
Some people go for a theme, but as this is my first time completing this challenge, I am going to stick with the random option.
There are 1,844 people signed up for this challenge so far. The idea is that bloggers comment on as many posts as they can manage. Spreading the commentary love and all that!
If you are a blogger and this challenge interests you, it is not to late. You can sign up until Monday 4th April.
I plan to approach this in the same way as my 30 day blogging challenge. Write posts in advance for the week ahead and schedule them for each day. With work commitments and the two monkeys to look after, this is the easiest way for me to manage my time. I can then work on commenting and engaging with other bloggers over the rest of the week once the monkeys are in bed.
I am currently working my way through the alphabet, looking for inspiration. If you have any ideas, or something specific you want me to write about or want to know about me, then please comment below.
So on with the letter of the day:
A = Anxiety
In my adult years, I have had to manage anxiety attacks.
They first crept up on me in my early twenties. I remember the first time I had an attack, it was incredibly frightening. I thought I was having a heart attack. The symptoms were that real.
I remember having to pace up and down my bedroom, trying my hardest to control them. I would open the window, breathing in the cold winter air, hoping it would open my airways.
I want to point out, that anxiety attacks are not just feeling ‘a little uneasy’. I was sometimes told by well-meaning people that they feel a little worried and anxious at times, so knew how I felt. Yet, what I was experiencing was so much more than this. Many people can’t understand what an anxiety attack is like, simply because they haven’t experienced them. Trust me, if you have had one, you will know. I realise that people were trying to empathise with me. But, in reality, it just wasn’t helpful at all.
So what does an anxiety attack feel like? I presume that they may feel different for different people. For me, anxiety attacks feel like you cannot breathe. It feels like my lungs are 1/10 of the normal size. A deep breath was out of the question. I would feel dizzy and light-headed. I would imagine passing out. Panic would increase as I tried desperately to take a breath. I would then start to get chest pains. My panic would increase. And so it would go on. It is a horrible vicious circle that is very hard to get out of.
At one point, I only had to think about an attack and it would bring one on. The attacks would happen at random times. I could be perfectly happy, watching a film and they would creep up on me from nowhere. I even woke up from sleep once having a panic attack.
I eventually went to the doctor. They prescribe anti-depressants. Nothing else. No counselling. No support. But I was not depressed. And I was wholly unconvinced this was the route that I wanted to go down. I wanted to manage it, not mask it.
I went back at a later date, after never cashing in my prescription. I saw a different doctor who referred me to group therapy. This was the best thing that could have happened.
I attended the six-week course with people who were facing similar challenges and understood. I mean properly understood. There was no frustrating conversation trying to explain or make them understand. They just ‘got it’.
The course gave us a chance to talk, but also armed us with coping techniques. I still use these techniques today.
After months of using these exercises, I started to realise that I could stop these attacks earlier than before. Eventually the attacks happened less frequently. It has been a few years since I have had a panic attack.
I constantly fear their return.
I am so glad I got the help I needed. I am forever grateful to the doctor that didn’t try to push me into taking medication. She helped me understand what was happening. She helped me face my demons. She helped me live a better life.