Another challenge faced – Don’t give up!

As I said in my last post my anxieties have taken over my life. Only now do I realise how much I have missed out on over the years. Now that I have had to fly to Italy to visit my sick grandfather has it sunk in that I have missed years of time with my loved ones.

Four years ago I flew to Italy for the first time in many years, I was terrified to go. It was six months after being diagnosed with my AS so I had no idea how I would cope with sitting for three hours on a plane and certainly no idea if could cope without having a panic attack. I used to love flying, it was the sea that terrified me. I can’t even tell you how it started to be honest. I suddenly felt suffocated on the tube and on planes, even in certain shops.

So as I was saying four years ago I would say decided it was more pushed to go to Italy. My Doctor gave me Amytriptalyne and Diazepam to help me relaxing the flight. So I reached the airport anxious, IBS flares up as always but then I feel ok. I distract myself looking around the duty free shops, then our gate is announced and we make our way.

All the way to the plane I feel the anxiety, the tightness in my chest, my head spinning from the dizziness and I feel so hot. I remember my mum stepping into the plane first then as I follow her on I gasp for air. My chest goes tighter and all I want to do is turn around and to back home. I grab for my mum and she drags me forward to my seat. I managed the flight there with my usual thoughts. It’s too hot, I can’t breath, I can’t get off the plane!

Things were not much better ones I got to Italy. I probably go into that another time. My flight back was a bit better but I had taken meds so out of it I didn’t understand much 😂🤣

So back to the present day. The difference for one is that I’m on antidepressants to help with my pains, thankfully they also help with fatigue and anxiety, secondly I decided I was going, I wasn’t being pushed or nagged to go which only makes more anxious. Pushing someone to do something they are terrified of doing is the worst thing you could ever do. A person suffering from anxiety is already putting enough pressure on themselves, they don’t need others adding to it because they think they know best! If you haven’t experienced it, you don’t have a clue.

So the day before the flight it hit me that I was going to get on a plane and that I was going to see someone I loved dearly in lots of pain. The morning of the flight we (my mum and I) were up at 2:30am and made our way to the airport. I was actually fine, no trouble breathing, no upset tummy. I had to remind my mum a few times not to fuss as fussing makes me worse. I got on the plane and no gasping for air like last time, was feeling very positive.

My plan was to write this post on the flight or watch a movie to stay calm but I did neither, instead I took photos of the beautiful views as we flew over Europe. I was excited, I couldn’t wait to see my relatives and certainly couldn’t wait to see my lovely grandfather. The other achievement whilst I was away was that I got back my safe place. When I was having CBT I was told to think of a place I felt safe either when I was having an anxious episode or meditating. Due to my experience the last time I went to Italy this beautiful little village in the mountains no longer felt safe. Thankfully after this year’s trip that has all changed for the better again. I felt safe on the plane, in the village, travelling around in general.

I had actually started writing this post weeks ago, but obviously once I got to Italy my grandfather’s health took priority. I cherish that week I had with him. Unfortunately he left us a few days after we flew back home to the UK. His suffering was over and yes I have cried but I am remembering the good times and there were so many, that is what is keeping from spiralling into depression and giving up on all I hAve worked so hard for these past few years.

I have just got back from seeing my Occupational therapist and consultant and they are so pleased with what I have achieved these past few months. I hope this story although it has a sad ending has motivated or inspired someone out there not to give up. It’s a long road but we are Warriors, we are survivors, #WeCanDoThis

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