3 years ago, roughly around this time, I was diagnosed with an illness that would take me through the toughest time of my life, and test my strength beyond anything I ever bought was possible.
Fast forward 10 months, and I was in a ‘make or break’ position. I either began fighting, or I gave up.
Fast forward to last Friday, staring 3 challenges in the face that 2 and a half years ago would have been impossible, documented in my last post. I had to go to my girlfriends grandmas with all of her family which used to cause me a lot of anxiety. I then had to go to a theme park, a challenge that would have many anxious people to their knees, me included. I was then heading towards my biggest challenge yet. I went to the family event and I was fine. I enjoyed it, got through it, absolutely perfect. Secondly, I went to a theme park, I walked around, unrestricted, I avoiding and strong in my approach. I was ecstatic, I had actually enjoyed a day out like this. I wasn’t able to go on any rides, but in fine with that. One step at a time.
Now for the third. I’ve mentioned in other posts that my anxiety centres around fainting. It happened once and since then I’ve had a fear which has often had me house bound. Anything related to anyone fainting and I basically crumble.
Fast forward to today, I was going to a hospital with my girlfriend who has been unwell, and I’m not ashamed to say I was terrified. It was the biggest challenge I have faced, and all I could do was question whether I was ‘ready yet’.
I had so many thoughts, but I was determined to take everything on. With the help of some Twitter friends, I plucked up the courage and went for it. From getting into the car I was shaking. I was terrified, but I got on with it. In my head, if I made it inside I’d done well and more than if ever done. On the way there my mind was racing, and when we arrived it only got worse. My legs were tense so as we paid for parking I walked around a bit. Ticket sorted, we headed in.
This was where I changed. In my head, I was doing it! I wasn’t going to leave her, I was going in and doing it. We walked to the area we needed, sat down, and that’s where it got the hardest. My legs were shaking, I was hot and m heart was racing. But I was in, and I was doing it.
We got there early to give my anxiety chance to settle – which didn’t happen. So 20 minutes of sitting and shaking and we hear her name. As we walked into the room my heart was pounding, my legs weren’t their own, and I was twitching like crazy. But I was doing it. In my head, I thought ‘I can leave whenever I want’ but overpowering that was ‘you’re going nowhere. We’re doing it’. And that’s exactly what happened. I stayed, she was seen by the doctor, and we came out. I was so proud of myself, I had done it. And what did I learn? I’m NOT going to faint. If I was going to faint, a hospital would be the place it would happen, and it didn’t.
Immediately, my anxiety dropped to almost nothing, I’d faced the worst and now I was out, I was fine, and I hadn’t even noticed I hadn’t left the hospital yet before it had gone – a major achievement.
All in all I can’t say the experience was pleasant. I’m exhausted. It was awful. But I did it, I actually went into a place I’ve avoided for years and stayed longer than I ever thought I could.
For people out there struggling, picture your hardest ever thing you would have to do that anxiety stops you doing, and that’s what I conquered today. So if I can conquer this, you can and will conquer yours one day in the future. Fighting is so very important, because it teaches you that what you think is the worst isn’t half as bad as you expect it to be.
A special thank you to my friend Rach (@rachypink_ on Twitter) who offered me loads of support through the last few days and Bob (@myanxiousheart) for being right!