My issues are three fold – panic attacks, General Anxiety Disorder and an extreme fear of being sick (emetophobia).
Any link – real or imagined by my over sensitive, hyper vigilant brain – to puke, affects me hugely. 'No one likes being sick' I am told BUT when the fear takes over every part of your life, you know it's more than that. I won't touch anything that I think may have been contaminated, I open doors with my sleeve, can eat crisps with a fork and can flush a toilet with my foot. Hand sanitiser gels aren't good enough for me, no – I spend more money than I should on buying surgical grade stuff off the internet!
I always turn down an offer of a cuppa made by anyone outside of my house as I can't 'trust' that something may have touched my cup that could make me ill.
I don't drink alcohol or smoke (had one drag on a cigarette when I was 13, it made me feel queasy so never touched them again.) I can't go on the travel provided to our company Christmas party, for fear of a sick drunk.
If I see bedding drying on a washing line my first thought is that someone has been sick on it.
I could go on ad nauseam (pardon the pun.)
The constant background anxiety I feel – shaking, rapid heartbeat, nausea, the worry/catastrophising and impending sense of doom is exhausting to live with.
Any link – real or imagined by my over sensitive, hyper vigilant brain – to puke, affects me hugely. 'No one likes being sick' I am told BUT when the fear takes over every part of your life, you know it's more than that.
Ah, then there are the panic attacks that hit me for no reason and come out of nowhere and are often extremely inconvenient. These make me feel very, very sick – which makes me panic more, etc., etc. I need to be on my own until it passes, which could be hours later.
I have been on many different medications and have tried various therapies – none of which have actually stopped the distressing symptoms. It is exhausting being so unnecessarily vigilant constantly, I have however, started using adult colouring books (nothing dodgy, honest!) I find doing this helps to focus my mind on what I'm doing , rather than worrying about *insert anything at all here*
Twice I have tried coming off the medication (Citalopram) and have become a raging, crying, swearing nutcase – and really not nice to be around. I have had to start taking them to enable me to function (and work). I am currently taking Citalopram, Mirtazapine (renowned for making you pile on weight – great!) and Pregabalin.
I have been assessed by the Primary Mental Health Care Team (whilst sitting in the waiting room, I had the song 'Bonkers' playing in my head – very apt I thought) and referred to a psychologist. My first appointment was cancelled as she rang in sick. First thought in my mind? 'I hope she's over it by the time I see her or I may catch it'. THIS is one of the reasons I need a psychologist.........
I hope I have given you a small insight into my mental illness and for you to see I am still able to function (mostly).