Anxiety and the White Knuckle Roller Coaster Ride.

I’m not sure I always feel like I’m in the seat. Sometimes I’m only holding on by one hand and flying out behind the roller coaster. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t feel that way. – David Morse

Everybody experiences stress in their lives, and life is always full of ups and downs; how you deal with these challenges is important to your health, both physically and mentally.

In the past I would have said that I was pretty good at riding the rollercoaster of life, but since I have been struggling with anxiety and depression the ride has become terrifying, and I often feel that I am just going to fly off the rails and crash into the abyss.

When you suffer with anxiety and depression you forget that life has its struggles and that anxiety is a natural reaction to some situations.  It is very difficult to gauge what is a normal level of stress and how much is attributed to your condition.

Magnifying - Photo by mari lezhava on Unsplash

The problem is that anxiety and depression act as a magnifying glass on your emotions, making it really hard to cope with the simplest of challenges.  It is like the G-forces you experience when on a roller coaster (not that I have ever been on one), you’re pushed back into your seat and you are powerless to do anything but scream and hold on for dear life.

But each time I seemed to be climbing into a roller coaster and finding myself coming through the downhill run with that sort of dazed feeling that we all know – Enzo Ferrari

My ability to deal with stressful situations has changed so much that I almost don’t recognise the person I once was.

Kim and I are moving house; now this is challenging at the best of times but I am finding it really hard to cope.  We are moving to an area that we don’t know so we have had to make a couple of trips to check out the areas we like and don’t like.  Normally I am fine driving, and with the sat-nav it should have been no sweat.  On one journey I struggled so bad that I almost went through a red light and I misjudged a couple of roundabouts.

We finally found a place that we loved but the referencing was a problem (all sorted now thank God) because it was all based on Kim’s earnings.

The baseball bat of self blame came out and I gave myself a huge going over; “I’m the unemployed mental head case” I thought “If I was working there wouldn’t be a problem….” I felt useless and powerless; there was nothing I could do to sort things out.

Baseball Bat - Photo by Jordan Andrews on Unsplash.jpg

A couple of weeks ago I went to see my therapist, Donna, and the session was not good.  I kept zoning out; I could hear Donna trying to talk to me but I couldn’t respond, she said it was like I had left the room.  I felt really disorientated and couldn’t speak, I just cried and faded in and out of being in the room; at one point I started focusing on the joins in the carpet tiles and that they did not seem to match up.

I have also struggled dealing with money but I thought that I was starting to get it under control; this came crashing down when I kept getting text messages from Barclays telling me there was not enough funds in my account to cover the outgoings, so I had to ask Kim to top up my account until my benefits came in.

The roller coaster seemed to be slowing down on the day we knew the house was ours, and I wanted to take the time to enjoy the good feeling, however, that same day I got a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions saying they were stopping my ESA benefits because in their opinion I was able to return to work…..

Needless to say this floored me and I got really upset, this was now another thing I had to sort out, another fight to take on.  I am getting very tired of fighting all the time.

Everything has taken its toll the last couple of weeks, and I struggled to do anything except lie on the sofa and watch TV, whilst the world seemingly fell apart around me.

Good things have happened, some have been great, but I feel these have happened to Kim and not me; I’m the one letting down the side (says he with a whack of the baseball bat).

I know I need to trust and believe that things will get better and I need to accept where I am.  I have to give myself time and space to heal (even though it feels a long enough time already) and try and implement what I am learning.

Kids ride - Photo by sept commercial on Unsplash

I need to trust that the roller coaster will slow down, something the pace of a children’s ride would be perfect….

Thank you, Thank you Thank you.

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