Recognising my triggers
A few weeks ago my eldest son asked if he could have a little party for his friends in our garden on the last day of school. After the summer holidays he will be moving to a new school so I agreed to having the party. We invited all his classmates and their mums to the party. To my surprise quite a few agreed to attend. I’m not very active in the school. With my anxiety and depression I have shied away from participating in mum chats and outings. I felt much safer at home.
The week leading up to the party was an emotional week for us all. Telling the school he will be moving on to another school was fast approaching and when the day came both my son and I were emotional wrecks. We both cried knowing he will be leaving behind some great friends and teachers and he grew into such a confident little boy thanks to the encouragement of the teachers and his friends. He’s been given an amazing opportunity to attend a private school which we are so excited about, but also so sad that he is leaving his school.
The day of his party my anxiety kicked in big time. For the first time in a number of weeks I found myself slipping into darkness again. I felt the the earth rocking and for the first time in months it felt as if I was about to have a panic attack. I forced myself out the house and to the shops. This wasn’t the brightest of ideas as I ended purchasing items I did not need. Shopping was a desperate attempt to stop my panic attack and it worked. Whilst the kids were playing and the mums socialising, I stood back and watched them all having a great time. After seeing this I felt a lot calmer. The party was three days before I started a job after being off for a few weeks. I took a step away from work earlier this year, then returned to work only to find that I was not emotionally ready to be back in that environment again.
Upon returning to work I felt ready and confident enough to take on the world again. I wasn’t without the new job, new people nerves, but I felt excited and calm. My second day however I was not as confident or calm. My world started to tremble and I knew I had to do something or risk having a panic attack again in the presence of my new colleagues and employer. I sat in my car taking deep breaths until I felt calm. I had to regain control again and I did. After a few days of training I felt my confidence slipping and self doubt rearing it’s ugly head again. The fear of failing became so strong and as the day progressed I felt I had to do something. I excused myself and made my way to the bathroom. Luckily it was empty and I stood in front of the mirror reminding myself that fear is normal, but I cannot allow it to rob me of this opportunity. I stood there talking to myself and I realised I have just recognised one of my triggers, in fact I have recognised two triggers.
One trigger is change. Change is inevitable and part of life. I realised that I’ve had two big changes happen in the space of a few days and I was not prepared for the emotional impact. People change, I change, the world change, and I need to identify ways of handling it better. Recognising what triggers my anxiety is already a positive step, and now managing my reaction to those triggers has become a priority. For months my focus has been so much on just feeling better and more confident, but I never stopped to look at what my triggers are. Being back at work may have been a blessing in disguise as it has played a huge part in identifying some of my triggers. Another trigger is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of loosing control. Fear is a normal emotion human beings experience daily whether we are aware of it or not. My first week back in full time work has been a great learning experience for me. Although it started a bit shaky, I was able to control how I feel and react so much better than what I have previously and I left work at the end of the week feeling amazing. I’m confident in my ability to do the job well, my colleagues are lovely and I have learnt to identify some of my triggers. Leaving work with a smile of my face and in the knowledge that I am capable of doing this job well has lifted my mood and confidence. A huge part of that is the fact that I am able to identify some of my triggers and I know I will be able to identify more triggers as I progress in my recovery.
Not only has work helped me, but also hosting a party. Although I see the mothers who attended the party at school, I don’t know them. What I have come to learn is that I am able to hold it together when I need too and in the process I learn more about myself and I’ve gotten to know a few more ladies whom I probably never would’ve interacted with due to my anxiety and depression. The party was a great success and I feel like a whole new person. I am excited about being back at work and the lessons I am learning throughout my journey. It may not always be easy and taking a look at myself isn’t always an easy pill to swallow, but I know I am getting better each day even with a setback or two. I am able to bounce back faster and come out more positive in the end.