So, here I am, the 'expert' on stress, anxiety and moderate depression.
I may come across as a positive person, however, I wasn't always that way. The main reason for specialising in anxiety, stress and depression is because I've been there, done that and got many a t-shirt. Cycle after cycle, wave after wave...history would just repeat itself.
I chose to put the past and my bad times behind me...I developed coping strategies (some good, some bad). Eventually I forgot how bad things were (that was until last week). The panic attacks were not common for me but when I got one, it were awful. My chest pounding, sweating, couldn't think or function. What made me remember them???
I had a routine smear test in November, it had always been ok in the past so didn't think much of it. As usual...the nurse said I'd hear back within 2 weeks if there were any issues.
Well, as expected...4 weeks on, I heard nothing...over 6 weeks later (in January) I get a letter to say I had abnormal cells and that I would be booked for an URGENT colposcopy within 2 weeks. I read the booklet, I had never heard of a colposcopy before but due to Covid-19 assumed that I wouldn't get seen in 2 weeks so would forget about it for now.
The next day I got the letter with the hospital appointment...in just 3 days time...well...mixed emotions...happy that I would just get it out of the way but not wanting to go to hospital in the middle of a pandemic. Big girl (new) pants on - off I go thinking it would just be like another smear...but during the consultation I was told I had high risk abnormal cells with the abnormality on the inside of my cervix. Don't worry - I don't talk about anything uncomfortable.
I thought they were just going to get a second opinion or a closer look but I was actually told that they want to do a LLETZ procedure today! Not what I was expecting and my first shock. The nurses at DRI were lovely and I am thankful for their chat...helping put me at ease before the procedure...then the next shock happened.
'I'm going to give you some adrenaline'. WTF! It brought back all the memories of having a panic attack...my beat rapidly beating, feeling shaky, sweaty, struggling to breathe especially as I was wearing my face mask (Covid, remember).
Procedure done, still feeling shaky from both the adrenaline and initial shock of needing a procedure before they even did the colposcopy. I started my recovery. It was only the day before that Boris announced we were on lockdown #3 and I knew I wasn't able to see my clients that were booked in that weekend. It was an overwhelming week. Bad things come in 3's right...
The week before, I cut my foot to the point I could see my fatty tissue under my layers of skin and a leak in my upstairs sink had made its way down the walls and ceiling of my front room (and my plumber had to delay fixing it due to Boris shutting schools and him not being able to get childcare). Suddenly the 'little' things didn't matter. I knew I couldn't allow myself to get stressed as stress probably caused my abnormal cells.
2020 started off so well. It was going to be mine and my friend Nikki's 'year'. I will always remember January 1st 2020. Covid-19 was something happening on the other side of the world and not an issue to us at the time. Fast forward 3 months we were in lockdown #1. My business was doing well and I loved seeing my clients but that all stopped. The stress from cancelling appointments, not having any financial help from Doncaster Council or the government - yes I was #excluded. Business was open, closed, open, closed...how can anyone live like that?
I cried, grieved life as I knew it, and retreated. The lady that looks superhuman to the outside world was in bits. I knew everyone was struggling in their own way so didn't want to burden anyone with my own issues (my family have been amazing as they knew something wasn't right). But I felt I had no purpose anymore.
Helping people is what I did and what I loved. So I created a book club as a community where talk of Covid/Coronavirus was banned - this kept me occupied for a few months. I made self help videos for anyone that might benefit from them. I asked for no donations...many were struggling too. I did my best. Was it enough?
My visit to the hospital reminded me to be kind to myself. If no one watched the videos, that was ok...hopefully it meant they didn't need to and were coping in their own way. The experience also taught me I ought to be honest to my clients following messages saying 'You're so positive...I wish I was like you'.
Well new year...new start. So the start of 2021 for me is going to be be spent resting and allowing my body to heal. Am I selfish for focusing on my health? Absolutely not. Are there others worse off than me? Absolutely. That doesn't mean my feelings don't matter. Allow yourself to have off days, allow yourself to have a little cry but don't live in that state. Practice mindfulness. How does that help?
It's about choice. It's about living in the moment. It's about gratitude. I have so much to be grateful for...my home, my family, my friends, my clients. Hopefully I'll get good results following the procedure and be grateful for my health. Stress is the cause of a large % of GP visits so please look after yourself.
Watch my videos on YouTube and Facebook and if any of this resonates with you, you are welcome to reach out...especially if you've had a LLETZ...I have enough to write a blog on that alone!
I am offering online services....reflexology, reiki, hypnotherapy, coaching, EFT, mindfulness so at least I can continue to help others during the lockdown whilst I'm healing physically.
So, I know you're probably wondering what is worst? Well I would have to say a panic attack as it can come on at any time. At least the shot of adrenaline was planned, in a room with 3 other ladies and controlled. In terms of experience to the body...they were the same. With a panic attack, the adrenal glands have released adrenaline naturally (it is a stress hormone - think 'fight or flight').
Chronic stress is not good for us! Turn off the news, surround yourself with radiators and ditch the 'drains' (anything zapping your energy).
Here's to good health, cheers!