Whilst being on a camping holiday alone, to try and work out a routine/pattern of living in a tent for walks next year, I faced some of my ‘daemons’.
This years camp was more flexible than before and it was to create coping mechanisms whilst camping, allowing Spot and myself to do multi-day walks next year as part of my healing, not far to start, but the aim is to increase over the year.
However one knew that there could be challenges with my anxiety and depression, so after a visit to my new psychologist, one went with a new drug to have with me as backup. But this in itself created a new problem.
Spot was with me, and my ‘deal’ with myself was to not to do a lot of running around to different places, but rather work around the tent and the sea side at camp. A chance, one hoped, to get to a mindful place and quieten my internal voices. My voices apparently did not like this idea, and my insistence of taking all my equipment that I may use, again this was to hone my ‘main kit’ for the multi-day waking trips next year, became known as clutter. Car camping allows one to take far, far too much stuff. Coupled with not knowing how kit like the sleep system would work, with the expected low temperatures, multiples of ‘just in case’ items were taken along.
Anxiety or panic attacks, depends on who you talk to, are common, also, are the feelings that are associated with them. One has been on the back of an unbroken horse as the horse does everything that it can to get you off it, and yes, the ground hurts when it succeeds. And an anxiety attack is just like being on that horses back, out of control, trying to stay on, and trying to avoid the shuddering jolt of hitting the ground.
The main difference between them is – the horse is on the inside for anxiety.
So yeah, they were fun.
But this holiday one had something new – not an anxiety attack but more of a depression attack. Frustratingly I do not know what to call it for when I next see the psychologist, if I do not give it the correct name, they do not listen and dismiss it. Parts of what I say are cherry picked…Paranoid?
Here is something that I have said…
I go to weekly NON CLINICAL group workshops, that is workshops not connected to or regulated by my mental health psychologist, something they cannot measure, that help to examine negative perceptions one might have to life, these have been created by a lady that is a qualified counsellor.
Gets turned to…
Attends weeks counselling sessions.
Never have they asked what qualifications she has, or what method she uses. For all they know she uses lumps of coal to suck the depression out. They heard counsellor and figured that they are off the hook for non drug treatment, even if they did not think this, it is what it feels like.
Now the attack, and how it differs from the anxiety attacks.
Think back if you can to when you first learnt to swim. Think back to feeling of drowning, the swallowing of water as you tried to breathe, the pressure on your body from the water trying to pull you under (this I know is the panic thoughts and in reality when relaxed you would float) and the hopelessness of the situation when sinking below the waters surface.
Now sit and watch the clouds drift over the distant mountains, no thoughts in your head, relaxed.
And your drowning, calmly drowning. Swamped by the hopelessness, the utter despair, and the need to cry. It snuck upon you like a mugger in a dark alley, it chose you with no apparent reason other than you were there at that time.
As you sit in the near paralysed state, trying to work out the cause so as to reason it out, with nothing coming to mind as the catalyst, crying uncontrollably, confused, dazed and lost. You realise that it is most defiantly not an anxiety attack. There is no wild ride of a bucking horse, it’s more a calm sinking of a small boat on a still pond. There is no erratic heartbeat or breathing to get under control, no shaking or sweating, the only physical response is the crying, the uncontrollable crying. Even Spot was caught unawares of the changing mood, she is my depression barometer, usually noticing a dip before I do, changing her reactions and thus alerting myself to the approaching change.
Half an hour later and its gone; for a couple of days, but it returns twice more.
Now I did mention that I had new drugs with me for if I struggled. However the last drug I had to ‘take the edge off’ left me not giving a s@!t about anything, so I was too afraid to take them with no support network around to help me if I had a less than favourable reaction. With wind chill the temperature went sub Zero (deg celsius) not giving a damn could lead to hypothermia. And thus a battle of fear began…
Fear of not taking them and having the depression and anxiety attacks or taking them and placing Spot and myself in danger. So long as the depression did not go down the road of suicide not taking them seemed to be the safest option and was the one I took.
Now it is just a waiting game…
Are these new attacks isolated, or are they a new symptom?
I hate this game.