A Step Back or a Step Forward?

This is just a short update on the anxiety/panic front. As you’ll be aware from my recent blogs, I’m starting work soon (4th November).  I usually deal with high anxiety on a daily basis – feeling sick, feeling of dread, racing heart etc – but this high level of anxiety has morphed into panic level. I’m being sick on a daily basis, I’m finding that I’m on the cusp of a panic attack a number of times a day, it’s making me breakdown in tears and the feeling of dread has increased to the extent that I really do just want to hide from the world and give in. Thankfully, my mindfulness practice and general self-awareness developed through therapy means that I notice the oncoming panic/breathing difficulties, the catastrophic thinking and the urges to hide very early on when they appear and since the Sunday before the job interview I haven’t actually had a full-blown panic attack. Although I’ve had the very occasional thought of suicide, I’ve not had the urges (or thoughts or urges to self harm) since that Sunday evening.

I’ve accepted my regular high level of anxiety and manage it very well most of the time and I am absolutely adamant that for me, medication for anxiety is not something I want nor need. I prefer to deal with it by way of acceptance, mindfulness and using various skills learned in DBT (that I now use automatically). However, this new level of panic is exhausting me both emotionally and physically; it’s making it difficult for me to function in daily life let alone in a new work situation. So I’ve made a decision, one which doesn’t sit very well with me at all. Last week, upon seeing how much I was struggling my social worker asked me to consider medication to help with the panic on a short-term basis, for example for the next month. Yesterday I made that call to her and today she’s going to speak to my consultant and ask him for a recommendation to my GP for a prescription for prn for the next month to help me in the run up to and the transition into work. I’ve actually given suggestions as to what medication options I would prefer and that I will not take benzodiazepines.

I’ve had to accept that me being run into the ground with exhaustion prior to even starting work and the impact the panic is having on me is something more than I can manage with my usual methods. I suppose having taken a small amount of diazepam yesterday afternoon to ease the panic and being able to experience a lesser level of anxiety, which enabled me to feel the excitement of my impending new job was the clincher for me. It is more important for me to be able to be successful in this next stage of recovery (paid employment and in a role and organisation that interests and excites me) than to rigidly stick to my views of no medication for anxiety for me. It also means that I am once again trying to practise self-validation of the awfulness of my recent panic and self-compassion for needing a little extra help through this time. It sticks in my throat to have to do this but it’s the effective thing to do and is only for the very short-term.


About Carrie Quinn

I'm a former solicitor whose life was turned upside down due to problems with my mental health. I'm now aiming towards recovery, which to me means rebuilding a meaningful life - not necessarily disorder free.
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