I didn’t think Poland was too bad until I got cream in my juice and anchovies instead of artichoke

As you might guess, I’m in Poland.

Right now I’m not ecstatic to be here.

Upon arrival everything seemed fine. Flight, train and taxi stuff was fine, hotel is nice, I met up with some people. Then I lost my cardigan somewhere and we went to a dinner with host lab members that I was expecting to be tomorrow, but nevermind. I thought it would be fine as I’d breezed through the whole traveling bit without any panic or even strong anxiety, I was a-ok.

At the restarant (feeling a bit chilly from my absentee cardigan) I decided to tell people that I don’t drink alcohol so I wouldn’t get pressured to drink, and picked a ‘fruit cocktail’ which from the name,I understood would be fruit blended together….but what arrived was about 50% cream. I can’t digest lactose, so after a couple of tastes I decided I’d have to get another drink but as I wasn’t paying I felt guilty, so just had water….

Time to order food then, so i picked a pizza and listed off my four chosen toppings: spinach, black olives, pines nuts and artichoke.

Fab.

Then the food arrives but this wasn’t any kind of artichoke ive ever seen…I mean, it looked fishy…so I enquired and yes it was anchovies…..so I politely said that I has asked for artichoke not anchovy (I’d even pointed to the word on the menu) ane the waitress just looked at me and and said ‘is that a problem?’ so I had to say, yes dear, yes it is…I am vegetarian, I don’t eat fish!

So grumpy faced off she went to fetch me a replacement…it turned up quite quickly and I had a quick scan and no, they hadn’t just taken off the fish and added artichoke because this one didn’t have pine nuts…OK close enough. It tasted fine even though it probably had someone’s spit in it. The problem was then that I’d got hungry waiting and was shivering, and making terrible conversation through my pained expressions of embarrassment and anxiety.

The afternoon started off so peacefully and degenerated into something monsterous thats going to give me a belly ache.

Wish me luck. I have to navigate breakfast without any surprise lactose or meat products and then give a presentation to an unknown sized crowd tomorrow (n>10) without meltdown. Maybe forgoing valium was a bad idea.

Sigh. Challenging anxieties isn’t always triumphant is it? :S

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Posting and trotting

I’ve been having quite a run of creative and at least partially edited stuffage on the other side, but as I only ever intended to post there every two weeks or so I think I need to cool it, lest I start to post even poorer quality efforts due to the growing addiction to the satisfaction of being able to press ‘publish immediately’.

I like to think I am making some progress regarding attempts to add a sense of movement and progression into my short story-esque scenes, but there is always this overwhelming sense of stagnation and treading water, like my characters are trapped in a moment. It’s a terrible bind to have so many strong emotions and thoughts to set down, but no storytelling skill at all.

Just ask my colleagues. I can’t tell them about anything withour their eyes wandering and yawns setting in. My pub banter is atrocious. Even if I’ve done something awesome, my ridiculous on-the-spot loss of verbal command leaves me and everyone else wondering why I was trying so hard when I am clearly just not novelist material. 

Anyway, enough about that here’s an example for you. My four legged ride was determined to test me this weekend….having still not quite recovered from broken-nose-gate, whenever his royal highness is feeling a bit fresh it sets my anxiety off big time. Last weekend’s ride waw lovely and reassuraning with controlled, sedate canters down the bridleways and good communication. This week was quite another story. I bravely opted for a route that when last week took it, the horses took off at high speed (with me almost being taken out by a low branch that I hadn’t noticed coming up) and wracked my nerves but I figured I have to challenge that. Unfortunately It was not the right day. If you’ve ever ridden before you may he familiar with the turn for home causing a massive increase in speed and enthusiasm, so when we did just that and had a nice open stretch in front of us the horses were dead set on having a big old race. Now. I wasn’t up for that, so we tried to make them walk, but actually ended up more jogging along and having to turn them into the hedge and stand there a bit a few times to chill them out. Nevertheless the temptation was just too much for them at one point and sparked off each other they bombed into a fast canter that took quite some strides to pull them up from. Most of the rest of the journey I felt like I had a horse with no head, he was behind the bit and not in contact with me, so no communication there, and I kept having odd flushes of worry that he’d bolt and dump me on the floor. Of course being spring with the grass shooting up both horses were in fine spring-loaded form, but aside from that one burst of unwarranted cantering, they just about coped with just walking and trotting the rest of the way home, even though they were visibly frustrated about it. I was half tempted to just jump out of the saddle and run away at one point but I stayed put and rode it out (ha!). My point is that despite being a little suboptimal on the communication and control side of things, I could handle Buster well enough to prevent a bolting situation, and by the time we got home we had both calmed back down to normal levels and I handed over the requisite number of polo mints for a ride well survived. Obviously I was kind of scared for a chunk if the ride, but I’m clearly not as wretched as a rider as I think as we actually did just fine overall. Next time I just have to remember that I can cope, and that my steed is in fact a (slightly hyperactive) superstar and not a monsterous bucking/bolting machine.

Today I spent however many hours there are in the second half of season five of Haven, watching TV. It’s OK,  I got up regularly to make cups of tea so I didn’t get DVT so I call that a bank holiday Monday well spent.

Panic as a failed balancing act

Here is a discussion I had with my anxious inner squid while sat in a meeting.

Me: hmm our ear is ringing a bit
Squid: that’s bad.
Me: it’ll probably go away
Squid: it hasn’t gone away, I think we are going deaf
Me: yeah I guess we do feel a bit dizzy
Squid: a bit? Did we even eat breakfast?
Me: yes, we did
Squid: well it wasn’t enough, our blood sugar is plummeting
Me: but we can’t very well walk out of this meeting to get a snack can we?
Squid: standing up might make us pass out
Me: shit, why is this meeting still going on?
Squid: I don’t like this,I think I might just shut down the consciousness centre to make it go away
Me: what the FUCK? No! That’s not an option
Squid: why are you doing weird things,like constantly squirming,taking our glasses on and off and rubbing bits of our body
Me: because I’m not letting you make me faint
Squid: but people have noticed..
Me: shit
Boss: are you OK?
Me: nope
Boss: haha
Squid: you should just let me win
Boss: why dont you just go
Me: erm. Because I think I’m going to pass out if I stand up
Boss: what do you want us to do?
Me: can someone get me some water and something to eat
(some kind person goes to get water and I’m passed some sugar sachets)
(worried looks all around the table)
Squid: I knew it! You are such a drama Queen!
Me: oh just fuck off, I’m going to have to tell them
Squid: that the anxious squid in your head is freaking you out?
Me: it’s probably just a panic attack
Colleague: has it happened before?
Squid: idiot
Me: yup
Colleague: have you eaten something?
Me: breakfast
Squid: skipped the juice though didn’t we…
Colleague: did you eat something that might have poisoned you?
(luckily neither I nor squid heard that one)
(hurray, water has arrived)
Boss: the meeting is over anyway, shall we leave you alone?
Me: I don’t really need an audience…
Squid: I haven’t gone away you know, I’m still hovering over that switch
Me: except colleague 2, can I borrow you a min.

Two hours later, unaided by medication, I ran out of adrenalin.

So there we have it. The most public anxiety fail so far. I’m getting my ear checked out at the Dr.

Blah mental ouch blah

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Now I wait.
I wait to discover whether the miasmic pain and fatigue of late are from a source physical or psychological. Bets are still being taken. My money is split between anxiety-provoked organ dysfunction and wholesale pancreatitus.  Thanks Dr Google. You always know just what to say at times like this. GPs money is on gastritis (again?Oh come on that’s just not fair!)

I wonder how the psychological asessment process designed for grossly normal people who are stressed or depressed, will cope with all of this (gestures to ludicrous potentially staph infected face). It doesn’t bode particularly well that they didn’t want to see me initially because of my eating disorder history, but I’m certainly not going to go knocking on ED services’ door for health anxiety help!
To be honest I’m a bit nervous about this whole thing. Nervous in an uncharacteristically rational way.
I haven’t had a psychiatric or psychological assessment like this for quite a few years and the last one didn’t go so well. I fell into the gap between two services that wouldn’t help me and so wound up going private. The contradictory stories were that I was too complicated for one department buy not sick enough for the other. Sigh. I’ll have to get the balance right this time.

The form I had to pre-complete scores me as moderately severely depressed and moderately severely blighted with general anxiety disorder.
How weird. I don’t feel that depressed. I haven’t thought about killing myself or anything equally dire for ages, I can still get out of bed of a morning and haven’t gone into the weird slow motion utter braindead phase, so I figure I’m just fine on that front. Adequately functional thank you. Hopefully they won’t try to focus on that shit because this level of depressed or non- is actually perfectly tolerable. What is not tolerable is freaking out at stupid illnesses that I will never get, and about going somewhere where I will have to interact with actual people in a social setting. I really want to be able to do that…to be able to go to a party and not spend the whole time nauseously shaking and clenching my every muscle for fear of falling apart, and double thinking every damned word and movement for fear of rejection or inadvertently falling dreadfully ill. I’m such a shit person to go to the pub with. Seriously. That 1 in 100 times I actually go and don’t make some lame excuse, it’s really not worth it for everyone else’s comfort and conversation! It would be easier if I could have a few drinks and be less of a corner-hugging wide-eyed weirdo but sadly my current internal organ rebellion refuses to allow even than concession. If anxiety is to blame I’ll be pissed off. Bastard self-preserving anxiety stopping me from tolerating cns depressants.

Checking my grades for the phobias and social adjustment mcq it says I have severe social functional impairment (no shit) and who knows what the phobia questions say.

Yuck. All those categories. I know how the game works though. I’m supposed to have lower scores at the end of whatever course they give me. If they even so much as suggest I also still have an eating disorder, I’m likely to punch them in the face. Ok maybe not but at the very least I won’t be impressed.

Creativity has taken a hiatus while I try to figure this mess out. The prize for most unremarkable post of the day goes to me and my tireless fear of life and death.

Slepan

I spent all night drifting in that wasteland between conscious and unconsciousness. Feeling for every swathe of grey, every vicious muscular twinge, trying to figure out how the brain and body knew to switch off. Wondering when and if that point would come to me, then circling back to the start of the process. Grey on grey and no sign of the subconscious anywhere,just an empty room. It wasn’t until after the furious burst of someone else’s early morning obnoxion retreated that I finally regressed into sleep. Some 20. Mins of cruel and twisted reminders of why I couldn’t drift off before, and I awoke startled, drenched in sweat and wondering if the shine had finally worn off that favourite escape of mine.

I know what you said, but that doesn’t mean that I understand which hat to wear

You sit me down to watch a TV show about health anxiety that makes me uncomfortable (due to being comparably mildly inflicted, and finding their behaviors grotesquely inspiring) and tell me in less than eloquent ways, that this stomach-churning anxiety I allegedly feel coursing through me on a daily and irrational basis is simply a fictitious product of what would, if it were real, be munchausen syndrome. That I’m not happy unless there is something wrong with me, and implying that I haven’t really achieved anything in overcoming a 15-year eating disorder because I’ve just replaced it with something else to fixate on. You seem to think that you understand exactly what is going on, that I’m copying someone else, and that I don’t need comforting or therapy or medication because there is nothing wrong with me and I just need to grow up and get on with things. At times like this, I just want to cry.

(Before I continue, I put on the hat of honesty with baubles of self-doubt)
I am in the referral process for CBT for anxiety. I recognised that this issue is infringing too much on my life and needs to be tackled (preferably without meds). I’ve had anxiety (mostly health and social-related) since I was about 5. I had my first panic attack at that age not long after I cut my hand on a broken mirror and realised that I was actually mortal, and not magical after all. It’s been downhill from there. It didn’t occur to me before now, before those suggestions of fake illness, that I might not be deemed ‘sick enough’ to be helped, but now I wonder. Do I really have anxiety? (puts in analytical hat) Well I have the physical symptoms, racing heart, chest pains, tension headaches, ibs, nausea, sweating, shaking, numb extremities, dizziness, the familiar racing thoughts, sleep disturbance, exhaustion, and terrible waves of nauseating fear, and I’ve been diagnosed and medicated for it before, but (puts on elaborate self-doubt hat) what if I’m making myself feel all that now so I can basically get attention? That would be so messed up. If that were true then surely THAT would need some psychological straightening out?

I was feeling positive about the prospect of new therapy and another bright shiny door towards freedom opening, but voices all too real and present, seem determined to tell me what I am and what I am not.(dons wizard’s hat) Few things upset and piss me off more than being told what I am, who I am, what I represent. I detest being defined as a portrait of a person that I don’t identify with. You think I haven’t changed? Well I’ve got news for you buddy…

So why, if I’m so worried about my health, can I let a dog lick my face, and cuddle a muddy horse? Why can I drink from a hosepipe but not take the last cup at the water dispenser or use a fork with any suspect marks on it? Well (balances analytical hat ontop of wizards hat) that, my darling, is a lesson in inconsistent and irrational thoughts.

“If you were my head
I would be heard”~K’s choice, my head

Ego on self-destruct.

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What a damned exhausting and confounding week.
That’s certainly not what I had in mind fate….such a shame we don’t see eye to eye even when I’m sober.

What started off so promisingly at work degenerated quickly into an impressive spiral of clumsiness, forgetfulness, overthinking, overanalysing, and vicious self judgement. Let me illustrate;

I know exactly what I’m doing, I’m just so damned awesome at this shit. Disciples! Let me show you the way.
Oh hang on, is that right?
Oh bollocks I’m doing it wrong, I’m sooooo stupid, good job I realised early on.
Phew! Ok it’s all fixed but, why did I think I was right in the..
Oh fuck…I was right to begin with!!! Bugger bugger bugger!!! I’m such a bloody retard!
Breathe, focus.
Ok NOW it’s fixed.
Tralalalala all OK onboard the good ship pickle.
Now let’s taste the scientific pudding we have baked.
It’s an utter shite-fest! Omg! I’m a failure. This makes no sense. I make no sense, words and numbers are scrambling into a giant panic-ridden storm of figurative fecal matter. I’m so fucking depressed, my boss fucking hates me and my ridiculous mistakes.

Ok then a fresh day, I’ll try to make this a good one.
All good, a few minor blips but let’s keep this show rolling because this time it really is a demonstration. Shame I keep telling the students what a fuckup I made yesterday but ho-hum.
So now you do this and
what the FUCK?! No,no,no that’s no right! Erm, you’d better step away from watching this around about now. Don’t worry this won’t happen when you do this…its all under um control..
Jesus, what a debacle! I can’t even do this thing that I developed. How can I expect someone else to do it? Why am I so useless and pathetic?

Right, time to taste the second albeit horrendously ugly scientific pudding. Let’s put it alongside yesterday’s carcass for fun.
Um….really? They are both fine. Actually, they are both delicious and almost record breaking.
So.
Why. The fuck. Do I keep telling myself that I’m a damned moron???? How about because it’s handy when I have go explain go the boss lady that actually after having a giant sulk about everything being shit and stupid and wrong, although I did do some silly stuff, it was all OK in the end.

It’s exhausting work all this emotional roller-coastering. Anyone would have though I’d forgotten my meds.

Oh. I did.

How helpful.

I hope you can tell how hard it is for me to not just write down what an idiot that makes me.

Oh look I did it anyway.

Is this what med-free life is like? Damn! How do people cope?

Well other stuff happened, like beer throwing, fake blood, asthma, hersheys vomit flavoured kisses, actual vomit (not mine), and further blah but I can’t be bothered to elaborate. It’s all bullshit anyway.

I need a nice long sleep.

“I’m not afraid of happy endings,
I’m just afraid my life won’t work that way”~jack off jill, fear of dying