quarantine anxiety

Its been so long! But I’m back. I’m very very happy to be writing my blog posts again.

Since I last wrote a blog post my life has changed quite a bit, I’ve moved out of my family home, I have a new therapist, I have a new job, I’m in a new relationship. I have developed greatly as person and I’m extremely proud of the woman who I am today.

In this post I want to talk about anxiety. In my early teens I used to suffer with it quite badly, but no where near as severely as what I’m experiencing now. Its been effecting my breathing, my sleep, and my mental wellbeing. I have been so anxious about the future. I am anxious that when I go back to work my clients may not want me anymore, they will have found better carers and I will no longer be able to do what I love. I’m anxious about my asthma - I’m highly vulnerable to COVID - 19 and I am riddled with anxiety worrying about myself and my family. Because I have been so paranoid and worried about my asthma, my anxiety has taken over and I’ve been having panic attacks a few times a week. When I get into bed anxiety takes over and I feel like I can’t breathe. I end up in tears and can’t sleep. It got to the point where I thought, “if this is what life is going to be like from now on, I don’t even want to be here”. I have not had suicidal thoughts since I was about 19, but have felt so hopeless. After speaking to my friends, family and therapist, I am finding ways to handle this better. Even during the day, I could be doing anything at all, but the second I feel calm, the anxiety comes back. It’s almost as if my brain will not let me have a break. As soon as my mind is settling down, I automatically then have to think about my breathing and anxiety. Unless I am super busy and occupied, I am so anxious and stressed. My mum has really helped me with some breathing exercises, breathing in for 4, then breathing out for 8. I was sceptical, but this does actually work. I have also been listening to an audiobook which you can get on Amazon or iBooks, it’s called Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts. I’ve been listening to this every night and it has helped calm me down.

The one thing I cannot stress enough, is please don’t bottle this up. Talk to someone, you don’t have to go through this alone. If you don’t feel like you have anyone in your family or friendships that you can talk to, please drop me a message and I will do my best to comfort you. Sharing this with my family, friends and my boyfriend has been super helpful. My mum always says to me, a problem shared is a problem halved.

As I’m sure a lot of you will have experienced, quarantine has got me over thinking, a lot. I’d fallen into the trap of comparing myself to other people - what I’m doing in isolation vs what they are doing. Over the past few days, I’ve come to the realisation that its absolutely okay to not be super productive and its absolutely okay to be worried or stressed. It’s okay to feel uneasy and lost. For anyone who’s read my past blog posts, will know that a couple of years ago I suffered badly with an eating disorder. I’ve found when I’m sad and anxious, its really hard for me not to fall back into my old patterns. I am stronger now, and I am a lot kinder to myself. But I can’t say that it never crosses my mind to religiously count calories, skip meals, over exercise. I can’t say that there haven’t been times where I’ve felt some sort of guilt and regret for eating something. But I can tell you that I am doing everything I can to not let it take over my life this time. I recently spoke to my psychiatrist and explained my worries of falling back into my old eating ways. I wanted to nip it in the bud straight away, before I get sucked back into the dark and depressing hole I was stuck in for years. I’ve been able to identify that I am struggling in quarantine, and I am not scared to admit that. I am not ashamed to say, I need some extra help right now, because that is okay.

Being out of a routine has been very difficult for me. Before all of this happened, I was the happiest and healthiest I had ever been. Yes, I still had things to work on. I was and still am, on my medication for a mood disorder, and in weekly therapy. However, I was definitely the best version of myself. I feel as if thats all crumbled since being in quarantine. It’s like everything I’ve worked so hard on in the past year just feels like its all gone out the window. I’m trying to steer away from this thought process, as it’s not only interfering with my growth, but it’s making it harder for me to take care of myself, and reflect and be proud of my personal progress.

I’m not embarrassed or ashamed of the struggles I’m experiencing right now. I know I will grow from them, and in the end it will make me stronger. I am a work in process. I still have a lot to learn and a lot more shit to sort out. But I’m learning to cut myself a bit of slack at the moment. I am doing the best I can with the tools I have, and that is enough. I’m still having good days and bad days. There are some days where I wake up and feel positive and productive and there are some nights where I can’t sleep until 5am because I’m so anxious, but every day I am doing everything I can to better myself. I am also working on not being harsh on myself. These are strange and challenging times, so if laying in bed all day and going through a whole bag of pic n mix (speaking from experience) is helping you get through the day, then bloody good for you! And if spending the day cleaning, cooking, excising, reading is helping you, then thats amazing. Whatever works for you. This is a difficult time for everyone and I believe that the most important thing that we can do is be gentle with ourselves.

I hope you and your loved ones are all safe & well.

Emma x