bumps in the road

Would you believe me if I told you the two photos below were taken less than 24 hours apart? Ok, yes the right was also filtered too but I just want to get a point across. Just because someone posts happy, nice photos it doesn't always reflect their life. I can't quite believe it myself, the difference I felt inside was so bizarre. That's anxiety for you though I guess. 

I've decided to finally write this post, I've wanted to write it for a week now to share with you what happened last week and prove that bad days still happen for me but so do good. It's all part of living with anxiety I guess.

For the past couple of weeks now I've been struggling, more physically than mentally this time. It's been up and down, what feels like blip after blip, bad day after good day kind of time. But that's life right? It doesn't make it any less frustrating though.

I think the main thing playing it's part in this situation is that for over 4 years now (maybe even more actually) I've been drinking Coca Cola (full sugar kind and diet version too) an awful lot, probably more than I would like to admit some days. It just doesn't seem to stop me from feeling thirsty though, I could drink can after can (some days I would). I dread to think the affect it's had on my insides. Plus apparently it has been known to heighten anxiety, I think it's now having the opposite affect on me since I've stopped drinking it. I seemed better off drinking it for the most part. Weird I know. I've been into a health shop in town and the lady told me never to drink it again, I'm taking her word for it because it is clearly no good.

So just under two weeks ago I decided to stop drinking it, it was great when I was drinking it, but afterwards the slump that followed wasn't nice. I'd feel so sluggish and bloated too. What has followed since stopping drinking it is what I'm assuming are side effects, I'm still not 100% sure. Maybe it's something completely different and not related, but that's the only change I've made recently that could be affecting my body physically. Ahhh, or maybe it's mother nature she loves to mess with me.

Anxiety can make you need the loo or feel like you need the loo an awful lot, we call this nervous wees and poos (don't we Lauren?). But recently this toilet business has upped its game. I don't even think it's anxiety related what's happening (I've no idea, it's just so random and sudden but doesn't seem to stick around for long). I think it's more to the point of side effects from the high amounts of caffeine and sugar in my body, that are slowly leaving my body plus my mum keeps repeatedly telling me it's probably stress too. Ahh, stress you joyful emotion you. That and I'm not eating enough, typical mum concern?

Just before the two weeks of giving up drinking fizzy pop. Every time I drank a fizzy drink I'd be on the loo within minutes, it clearly doesn't want to stay in my body any longer than it needs to. TMI? Am I actually writing this post now? Yes, yes I am because it's affecting me, it could be playing a part in my anxiety levels and it could affect you one day too, or maybe it has before. If this has affected you before or is affecting you now please let me know, it's good to know I'm not alone and going loopy.

The fizzy pop having this affect on me has made me a little bit more (who am I kidding? a lot more) aware of my body. I'm starting to become a little frightened of my bodily functions which are completely normal, the bodily functions that is...not the way I'm reacting to them! It frustrates me because I want to know why I can't just act and think like the majority of people around me.

The second I begin to feel a little uneasy and unwell I can feel my heart racing, my breathing getting faster and I start to feel sick. The sick you feel when you're anxious, not the sick when you are actually going to throw up, thankfully I've learnt the difference between these two. This panic seems to last a heck of a lot longer if I'm away from home. Take last Wednesday for example...

I decided to bike to town instead of driving, the weather was pleasant so I thought it would make a nice change...what was to follow was not a nice change. The night before I'd decided to talk to myself and rationalize with my anxiety and the thoughts that were floating around, part of this talk was to not listen to every body sensation I felt, I don't always need to go to the loo. (I'd really put this into place at football on Tuesday night when I went to watch my local team, I didn't go to the loo once whilst I was there. My body and mind link together and tell each other that I need to go a lot, I really don't).

After the previous night being such a huge success in my eyes, I thought I'd be able to manage this the next day too. Boy was I wrong, whilst I was shopping my body definitely felt like it needed to go to the loo, like really needed to go. Luckily my parents have their own shop so I made my way back there as quick as I could. I don't exactly need to explain what happened next but it lead me into a horrible state of panic. I don't remember the last time I've panicked that bad. I had to ring a friend to come and see if he'd pick me up, luckily he did. All I did was cry and cry and cry some more, even in the car. I have absolutely no idea what caused this but it happened. I got home and just cried and panicked some more. Within a few hours it had all passed and I felt normal and human (as human as can be) again. I cried tears of frustration at how well I was doing, how I didn't understand, how fast things can change, how can they possible be so ok one minute and really not the next? I guess that's mental illness for you. I've now learnt even more it's ok to take each day one day at a time. Plus don't be so hard on yourself.

One of the (many) things that my friend said who picked me up was something along the lines of 'Anna, you are doing amazing, I don't like crowds so I avoid concerts. You face this every day'. You know what, he is so right! I'm facing this every day, I need to give myself more credit. Plus he also said it's ok to have bad days. I feel like there is so much pressure to be forever having good days but that's just not reality. I'm bubbly on the outside because that's just me but the inside is sometimes a completely different story.

What happened the next day after the awful panic attacks? I went to work and managed the whole day absolutely fine. I didn't even mention once at work what had happened the previous day and I don't think any of them knew a single thing. The only thing that is different with me at work at the minute is that I'm occasionally sat at my desk really focusing on my breathing.

Every now and then I think to myself why can't I just be like everyone else? Why can't my brain just not over analyze everything? Why can't my brain just switch off for a day or two? But then I stop and think, everything that has happened or is happening to me now is making me into a stronger person. Plus, it's a little quirky too.

After all my waffle I'm debating whether this post is even worth sharing but I've made the effort and wrote it to prove that living with anxiety isn't plain sailing and it's ok to hit walls (not literally) but bumps in the road are normal and proof that you are trying. Keep going!

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