With the best of intentions to write on a regular basis I have in reality been sharing other peoples great blogs rather than creating my own. As a single mother of three terrific and time consuming children I find I am so busy juggling the balls of finances, household chores, garden and car maintenance, taxi service, social secretary, volunteer, mature student, loyal friend and dog walker that I rarely get a chance to commit my thoughts to paper (or word processor).
I am a deep thinker and an action taker which makes for a busy brain and an even busier life. Last week it all caught up with me in a way that has left me feeling vulnerable, raw and having to reach out for help and support. This does not come easy to me as I’m fiercely independent and experience others as often being unreliable or unavailable. Rather than risk being let down I ‘just get on with it’ by myself.
Whilst driving home from my first evening of class at University I had what I now realise was a full blown panic attack. It was triggered by an accumulation of fear over the preceding couple of weeks. It began with me allowing myself to “feel the fear and do it anyway” but instead of simply having a few tears and moving through the fear as I usually would it became overwhelming. I lost control of myself which was incredibly frightening for me.
I kept telling myself to breathe yet my body was so tight I couldn’t get my breath into my belly and I began to hyperventilate. I felt pins and needles in my hands and feet, it was terrifying! I couldn’t stop the car because I was too scared that I would then be stranded on a dark country road in the middle of nowhere. My only thought was to get somewhere safe – home.
I kept talking out loud to myself, saying “You’re ok, stay calm, stay in your body, focus on the road, you’re going to be ok, you’re safe, it’s ok” over and over and over again, until I reached my driveway. When I stopped the car I couldn’t move my body. It was like I was pinned to the seat. I phoned a friend and blurted out tearfully “I’m not ok, please come and get me.” They did, the panic subsided and I came back to myself.
The experience has left me physically shaken and emotionally wobbly. Taking daily small steps I am pushing through the desire to give in to the hopelessness and fear by loving myself. I get up each morning and tell myself that each day is a fresh start. I put on clothes that make me feel good about myself and smile into the mirror. I forgive myself for not being perfect and embrace my humanness. I hug and kiss my children, tell them I love them and smile at them. My heart fills with gratitude for their warmth and company. I list today the things that I CAN do. When I have done all that is within my own power, I talk with a friend and share a little of my vulnerability with them.
Each day that I have done this I feel a little better, a small bit stronger and more able to face the world head on. The more compassion I demonstrate towards myself and my own vulnerability the more I am able to offer others the safety to also be fully themselves in my company.
What amazing learning!