So one day last week I hardly slept a wink, was up all night worrying about anything and everything and found myself developing a very strong migraine from it. This is not uncommon for me and usually I would make sure that during that day I had a nap so I didn't feel so crappy and that I rested and took it easy. However, on this occasion this was not possible as I was due on a 13 hour shift. With a splitting headache and around two hours broken sleep throughout the night, at 6.15am, I got ready for work and started walking to the bus. A few yards up the road my anxiety built up and my headache was getting worse. I made the decision to call my mentor and tell her that I would not be able to make the shift. She was lovely about it and it relaxed me knowing she just wanted me well. I went back to bed and managed to nap for around two hours. As the day went on my migraine stayed but my anxiety levels dropped. I was determined that I would make it in for my shift the next day no matter how bad I felt. I made sure that I got to sleep early and dosed myself up with enough painkillers so that my headache wouldn't wake me up.
At 6 AM my alarm went off and to my complete horror, I felt exactly the same as I had the morning before. I felt scared, anxious, mentally drained, and didn't want to get out of bed for the fear of what the day would hold. The first thing I did was text one of my close friends the words "I can't do it". I My heart was racing, I started shaking and I felt instantly sick. My headache still lingered. I soon got a reply back from my friend with the words "yes you can". She talked me through how to do everything just one step at a time and it worked. She asked me what I was scared about and I replied things such as "the bus". She simply replied "but you can get off at any time". And she was right. I wasn't thinking rationally and my mind was too overwhelmed by the fear that my anxiety was beating me again. With her help and constant support that morning, I got up, got dressed, walked to the bus and went to work. I did cry all the way to the bus stop and felt like an idiot the whole way, but I needed to go to work and fight the bad thoughts. At one point I walked past a blue car exactly like my dad's and burst into tears that it wasn't his ready to take me home. I really was struggling to think rationally with everything and even having my friend on the end of the phone my mind started to wonder onto things such as "what is the bus crashes?" and "what if I have a panic attack at work?". I really wasn't helping myself but I didn't know it at the time, at the time I was trying to protect myself. Sometimes I think the fear of having a panic attack is worse than actually having one. I personally work myself up to the point where it's inevitable that a panic attack will happen and that morning I could've bet money on me having one. I had all the signs, all the symptoms, and really wasn't helping myself preventing it from happening. Luckily, I didn't. Everyone I saw that morning on my way into work was a threat, and I felt so bad for looking so scared when a lady sat next to me on the bus. It's hard when your mind is fighting against what's going on around you and only you can hear what your mind is saying and telling you to do. "Get off the bus". "Dont make eye contact with anyone". "You'll regret all this". "People will think bad of you if you go into work crying". "Just go home".
I got off the bus and walked into work. Walking down the hospital corridor with my placement ward right at the bottom end, I took a deep breath and told myself I can do it. I put my coat and bag in the staffroom, looked at myself in the mirror, washed my face, and walk down the corridor to the nurses station. The minute I entered the ward, my panic stopped. As if somebody had switched a button off in my head. I said good morning to my patients on my way to the nurses station and then said good morning to my colleagues I'd be working with that day. I was shocked to say the least, it was like nothing has happened that morning. As if anxiety wasn't even a thing. My mentor asked me how I was and if I was feeling better and I told her I'd had a rough morning but I feel fine now. As the day went on, it seemed that the mornings occurrences had simply been a dream and never really happened. My heart started beating normally, I stopped shaking and my sickness disappeared within the blink of an eye. It really was odd. Good, but odd.
I started to think about why this had happened and how my mood changed as soon as I got to work. Nothing has ever been able to snap me out of anxiety and panic like that, and I was very confused. The more I thought about it the more I realised that the ward, my patients, and the idea of me looking after them for the day over ruled my anxiety and panic. It was where I needed to be. I spoke to a friend about it and my mum and I soon realised that once I have to put somebody else first, and work hard to make them feel better, I feel better. I feel useful, happy and proud of myself for what I am doing. Yes, I had a crap morning, probably one of the crappiest mornings I've ever had, but after seeing the smiles on my patients faces as I said good morning to them and asked how they'd slept, I realised there was nothing to worry about and if something but did happen, I would handle it the best I could.
I really am doing the best job in the world for the type of person that I am. I need to feel useful, wanted, and needed or I begin to feel low, anxious and irrational. When it is your job to care for those who are unwell, you have to leave your worries at the door. It is your job to make people smile, to relieve anxiety from them and to make sure that they have nothing to worry about. This is why my anxiety and my panic stopped as soon as I was needed to ease theirs. Of course I realised I had been irrational that morning, but that's all part of my illness. I always understand and realise that my thoughts and actions are often irrational and are a product of my mental illness afterwards, but at the time, everything seems so frightening and you are almost certain that everything will go wrong. If I hadn't of text my friend that morning and has she not replied with what she did, I wouldn't of had the confidence to get up and go to work. I wouldn't of been able to realise that I can do it, that my mental illness cannot always beat me, and that I am strong enough to push through anything if I take things one step at a time. Now this is happened to me, I know that if I ever wake up feeling like that again, I just need to take things one step at a time, push through it, and know that what ever happens, I can only try my absolute best. I am so proud of myself for getting through the day, not just getting out of bed, and I really do have the most amazing friend for texting me from 6am and throughout the day. You know who you are and I love you.
No matter how dark your day may seem, there is always something to light up your path.
Love Luce xo