Well it has been ages since I posted here. Life took a different twist earlier in the year when I came down with a virus. Appearing out of nowhere it took my feet out from under me and I was confined to home for two weeks. What was even more debilitating was that I developed an anxiety disorder very early on in the piece. It started off as being a night-time thing to 24 hours a day constantly in a state of high anxiety. Being an art therapist you would think that I would be able to get myself out of this but unfortunately I couldn't even pick up a pencil or paintbrush as my motivation completely disappeared and I was unable to function. I couldn't read, listen to music, watch TV, sit at the computer - all I could do was pace like a wild animal. Being inside made things worse and I just wanted to be outside in the open air AND it was winter - not a good combination.
I tried going the 'natural' route with homeopathic remedies and these provided some relief. I also worked through some stuff with a friend of Jan's who is a spiritual therapist and this was really helpful, but in the end I had to go back to my GP and get medication to fix the chemical imbalance in my brain. Ending up in hospital with a suspected heart attack was not where I wanted to be - my heart muscles were on the verge of serious damage and I could no longer fight it.
The first medication I was put on was addictive and I quickly became dependent on it. I tried to wean off it and start a long-term medication but had a violent reaction to the second medication and the anxiety got totally out of control. I was desperate and ended up seeing one of the other GP's in the practice as my own GP was away. He immediately doubled the dose of my 'addictive' medication and changed the second one. It took a few days of some slightly unpleasant side-effects from this drug but slowly things started to change. I finally also gave in and allowed myself to be referred to the local Adult Mental Health Service. I saw a Psychiatrist who sorted out my medication for me and reassured me that this was only a short-term thing and likely came about as a result of the virus. There was also a Psychologist there and I am currently still seeing him - he has been re-establishing techniques I had forgotten about with the onset of the illness. Things like relaxation breathing, meditation, exercise, and grounding. He also worked with me to establish what things occurred around the time of my illness which may have been triggers for the the anxiety. Identifying possible triggers was the turning point - now I knew what I was dealing with and the healing could begin in earnest. I have one more session with him next week.
In the meantime I have been slowly weaning off my 'addictive' medication and hopefully will be off completely in a week or so. At that point I should be able to drive again - I haven't driven in just on 4 months (when I first got sick). The last few weeks have been an incredible journey. I have been able to start drawing again and I feel so much better. It is thanks to this amazing team that have got me through this and especially to my lovely Jan who has been through this with me every step of the way, my rock - i could not have done it without you.