Life Update – Turning 40
It’s been a while since I wrote a personal update. As I’ve just renewed the Reclusive Fox domain name and hosting for another 12 months, I figured now would be a perfect time. If you’ve been with me from the start of this journey you’ll know that I was teaching myself to manage my panic disorder. The early days of the blog mention some of the techniques I was trying and some early successes.
As far as panic attacks and anxiety go I can honestly say I’ve never been better. In the past 3 years, I’ve perhaps had two or three anxious moments and zero panic attacks. All without the use of drugs. In case you’re new here, I had almost daily panic attacks and was agorophobic for periods of time over the last 20 years or so. This is what I have done to transform my life:
- Quit caffeine entirely
- I rarely drink but that’s nothing new
- Use positive affirmations when out of the home or in situations that I traditionally struggled with
- Invite panic to come on if I feel anxious. This BY FAR is the most powerful technique I can tell you about. Panic loves it when we feel anxious, worried and fearful of its arrival. It feeds on our internal fearful monologue. If you break that cycle of fear breeding panic you have won. When I feel anxious I simply tell the panic attack to come and hurry up while it’s at it. I tell it I couldn’t care less if it comes as I have stuff to do so let’s just get it out of the way. As soon as I do this (with lots of swear words thrown in for good measure) I feel the tension abate. I feel lighter and more in control. I feel the panic attack die. I feel positive, strong and powerful. Try it, but do remember that this can take practice and persistence. It worked pretty much first time for me but others have had to work a bit harder. Some people I tell this to give up on learning this skill, but I advise you to push and push. It might take months to click, but when it does it is the stuff of magic.
- I used to use lavender oil. A couple of drops on a tissue to sniff when anxiety comes along. I used to take lavender with me each and every time I left the house. Now I only take it when I am doing something that will really test my strength – like a root canal.
- Distraction techniques are useful too. Watch a funny show, sing along to your favourite songs, listen to an audio book, play a game, text someone, do something to take your mind off the negative thoughts that are trying to dominate you.
I’ve been to expos, travelled on trains to new places, been to the pub, go to shops alone, walk for miles, handle school appointments…All these things might seem like nothing to you (if that’s the case, yay for you!), but for me, they were once impossible tasks. Now I can do them without thinking.
While this is all so positive I am highly aware that panic and anxiety could return. Therefore I am constantly working on the skills and techniques and remaining positive as much as possible. I need to be able to call upon these management techniques, just in case.
What else is new?
I have played my favourite game of all time. Zelda Breath of the Wild is hands down the best game ever, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve spent all my free time on it over the past 2 months. I beat Ganon about 2 weeks ago and found all the Shrines in the game last week. It really is true adventure and exhilaration. There’s nothing it’s missing. If you haven’t played it I recommend you do.
My daughter and I both have birthdays coming up. It’s a fun month and it won’t be long before she is on the road! It’s just crazy. I am so incredibly proud of the young woman she is. It gives me strength to know that she has a great head on her shoulders. She’s funny, thoughtful, empathetic, intelligent and a beautiful person, inside and out. She’s also incredibly lazy, but we can’t have everything can we ;). Seriously, she’s amazing, I love her beyond measure and the world is better because she is in it. One thing that upsets me is that she has had panic creep into her life. She reached out to her doctor who told her to go away and Google it. I am able to pass down my experience. I work hard to teach her that this is something she can control. She reads my blog, we talk openly and I am hoping that the little glitches will not put a dampener on her life experiences. If I don’t teach her anything else I want her to know that anxiety is normal and panic can be controlled. Stand up and fight it, don’t hide away like I did. Be determined, head on out there and reach for your dreams.
I’m getting older (duh). Over half my life is probably gone and I admit that it’s a bit frightening to think about how quickly time flies. I hoped to be in the best shape possible by the time I reached 40, but that didn’t happen. Seriously, this year as just flown by and June arrived in the blink of an eye. I did give up smoking and I am super happy with myself for doing so. I do have a vape but I use only 0mg nicotine oil and I rarely use it, perhaps a couple of times a week or fortnight.
As I’ve been so rubbish at getting in shape I am starting now. I’ve asked for a hula hoop (midlife crisis?), I’m getting some fitness gear and working on my body. It doesn’t help that I tore my gastrocnemius last month and couldn’t walk for 2 weeks! It is getting better but I still need a crutch for long walks. I am hoping the hula hoop will give me cardio without straining my calf too much.
That’s a quick round-up of what is happening with me. Streaming has taken a back seat, simply because I love to play games in bed. I do plan on continuing on with Reclusive Fox, both here and on YouTube. The content here will continue to be mixed, making it fall into a lifestyle genre with a strong emphasis on gaming. If you’re not already, please come and follow my YouTube channel. You’ll find vlogs and videos that are more lifestyle based than gaming. We are heading to EGX in September though so watch out for those vlogs if you’re here for gaming banter.
So what’s been going on with you guys?
Photos by me, from the Malvern Hills Well Dressings in May 2017. One of the quirky things I love about this town.