What is holding me back?

I’m lacking faith in myself. That’s the issue. I don’t believe I can live without doing those safety seeking behaviours. I don’t believe I can cope with the anxiety and uncomfortable feelings. I don’t believe I can lose weight and get fit. I don’t believe I will ever have a baby as I don’t believe I will fall pregnant. I don’t believe I know what I’m doing at work. This is not thriving like I should be. I don’t know why I can’t get over this last bit. I guess it’s because every time I try to stop the safety seeking behaviours I feel so uncomfortable that I quite straight away or I don’t even get as far as not washing my hands etc. What is holding me back? Laziness?

Imagine – a poem about Emetophobia

Imagine

Imagine being afraid to eat, afraid it will make you sick.
Imagine feeling trapped, trapped in your own mind.
Trapped in a body that scares you to death.
Imagine being afraid of every little feeling,
Be it hunger or pain, they scare you the same.
There is no escape.

Imagine being afraid when you burp, afraid to use the loo.
Imagine losing lots of weight through lack of appetite.
But you’re told your aren’t anorexic, you’re too fat for that.
Imagine being afraid of digestion, afraid of what food might do.
Every meal brings a panic attack, you feel shakey and weak.
But still you don’t eat, you can’t relax.
There is no escape.

Imagine just wanting to sleep, to sleep to escape.
But you can’t sleep anymore, you’re too wide awake.
Imagine spending every day in pure fear.
Nowhere is safe, you can’t calm down.
Imagine being afraid to poo, afraid it will make you sick.
Indigestion scares you, acid reflux and IBS too.
There is no escape.

Imagine feeling sick from nerves, when that’s the thing you fear.
Each day is a struggle, your eyes being to tear.
Imagine you’re afraid of life, but no one understands.
‘I hate being sick too’, you hear them say.
If only that’s all it was.
Imagine being agoraphobic, social phobic with low self-esteem.
That is Emetophobia, no word of a lie.
There is no escape.

Thought diary…

I actually went back to work on Monday and did a whole day! Currently on my lunch break of my second whole day and still struggling a bit. I found it helpful on Monday just to write down how I was feeling and this was the result (sorry if it is a bit of a ramble!):

I basically just can’t tolerate uncomfortable feelings. That is what this is about really isn’t it. The most uncomfortable feeling is being sick as well as feeling sick so that is why I am scared of it so much. I feel uncomfortable at work for one reason or another and so I just want to go home. But then I feel uncomfortable at home as well as I know I should be at work. It’s catch 22 really. I do find that journaling helps though. Just writing down what is in my head seems to really help me.

I think I am uncomfortable at work as I kind of feel like I am not important or not needed. Really the company could continue without me. In fact it has when I was off sick. There is no satisfaction in my work, no reward. I don’t have any targets to meet and don’t have a team to work with. I know that is not the only problem going on (I don’t really have anything to strive for at home either) but it is a big part of it I think. How can I thrive when I feel so repressed at work? But I can’t move to another job until this stupid anxiety has done one really.

I keep asking myself whether or not I feel sick which is ridiculous. Obviously if I have to ask myself that it means I don’t! The feeling in my throat and head is anxiety and my stomach is IBS and acid reflux. All I want is for them to go. But I just have to accept that they won’t go. I have to learn to tolerate the uncomfortable feelings. People get on with their lives when they have chemo or much worse things. People continue to go to work with depression, eating disorders etc. Some even continue to work with flu or even stomach bugs! Yet I can’t even tolerate the uncomfortable feelings of my period! I don’t even seem to be able to stand the feeling of being tired which is ridiculous! I think everyone feels rubbish at some point in the day. Whether it is when they first wake up or when they are ready to go to bed etc. I know that before all this I used to feel off at least once in the day but it didn’t scare me like it does now. I’m not even sure why it scares me. Even if I tell myself it won’t make me sick I still get scared. I think it’s my perfectionist thinking that does it. I think my mind tells me I have to feel perfect every day but I don’t think anybody feels perfect every day. I wish there was some way I could do a survey of people to find out how often they felt something wrong with them and then how often they just got on with things. There is no point me doing it on the emet forum as they are all people who think the same way as me.

This is why it doesn’t really matter if I am at work or at home as I feel anxious in the morning everywhere. I get anxious about whether or not I will feel ill and anxious that day and then that creates the anxiety.

All I think about at the moment is how I feel. I try and concentrate on other things but all I can think about is how I feel. Do I feel sick? Does my stomach feel off? Am I hungry? Do I have acid reflux? I get like this after a stomach bug all the time. This time I haven’t had a stomach bug but I felt very ill for a long time due to my hormones and it has left me this anxious mess.

Ok so it is definitely acid reflux that gives me that weird throat feeling and then the anxiety makes it worse. That is why I panic when it comes to eating which is just stupid really! Now my throat feels off and my stomach a little bit churning and I hesitate to eat. But eating will help me. Why am I so afraid to eat? It is stupid! I just need to accept that it is acid reflux and IBS and that it isn’t going to make me sick. I need to accept that I will feel like this most mornings and that eating will help it. I have lived with it for years so why does it suddenly scare me so much? I think it might be because it got so bad when I was off the pill and my hormones were free to wreak havoc on my body! If I could just realise that eating will actually make the acid reflux die down and the wind die down then I will feel better, Also need to sort out my black and white thinking regarding my acid reflux and IBS as well. I need to tell myself that it isn’t here to stay and that it does get better. For some reason in my mind I have decided that I am going to have it every day for the rest of my life. When in actual fact it is just worse around my period. I also need to remind myself that the burning feeling I get along with the desire to burp (which happened just this minute) does not mean that I am going to be sick. If I could somehow disassociate acid reflux and IBS with being sick then it would help. But I also need to accept that it won’t be there all the time. Besides I’m not sure the burning feeling I get is due to acid reflux anyway. If it was then surely the medication would sort it and it doesn’t. I think really I should be referred back to a gastro doc for a review but I know they won’t do that as they think of me as a hypochondriac. You know what? I have had the burning feeling and burping for some time now. I think I have always had it and managed to get on with life. It is obviously just part of my IBS. It’s not behind my breast bone which is where indigestion is, it is on the right hand side and in my bowels. Yet I do still get that feeling in my throat of what emet people call throat nausea. It is like a gaggy feeling. Or like something is trying to push its way up (which I believe is wind or a burp). If I could just stop concentrating on it and realise that it won’t do me any harm. It is definitely a burp trying to force its way up and getting stuck (think I read another emet describe it as that and how it makes her panic). I get this burning in my chest and then I have to burp or fart. That then relieves the burning temporarily. I think it is anxiety induced acid reflux. I have felt it hundreds of times before but why is it sometimes I just can’t handle it? Is it because it gets worse and makes me feel more sick? Or is it because it is combined with other things going on (such as the nausea from my hormones) that makes me eat less and makes my acid reflux worse? Why can’t I just accept that I have acid reflux and that nothing can change that and it won’t make me sick? Guess it is my desire for control going crazy like normal. My period makes me very gassy and I think that is what makes me burp more, not necessarily acid reflux. Surely if it was that I would feel the burning behind my breast bone? Plus I get the burning feeling in my bottom as well! Wow I really am going round in circles here. This is what goes round and round my brain all the bloody time. It never settles in the morning. I can’t seem to find anything to settle my stomach. I was ok after my breakfast but now I have had a cuppa and some biscuits my stomach feels off. It’s all churning and burning

I guess it is acid reflux and the more I think about it the worse it gets. I always burp after having a cup of tea and I am sure that is due to acid reflux. I just feel like there is so much air in my stomach is won’t come out and it just burns and pulls on my throat. But why don’t the PPI’s work if that is the case? Why is it that someone with emet has to suffer these digestive issues? But you know it won’t actually make you sick Jen. You know it won’t. It is just an uncomfortable feeling that you need to put up with and get on with your life. The medical world obviously can’t do anything about it otherwise they would have done already. Lots of people have said the cause of it is stress and your hormones so you know that is what is causing it. It might make you burp a lot and make you throat and chest feel funny and off but it won’t make you sick and you can cope with the feeling. Nothing is going to happen to you at all. It is just IBS and acid reflux. Why is it that even though I have written that several times I still don’t believe it? At the same time I get the burning I also get the desire to go for a poo so maybe it is related to that as well? It just makes my stomach feel off and makes my back and ribs hurt. The doctor told me that was just IBS not acid reflux and that IBS can make you feel that way. Oh for goodness sake, time to stop thinking about it now. At the beginning of this diary you were fairly positive now all you are talking about is how off your stomach feels and that is probably because you are worrying about having lunch!

Damn acid reflux

My acid reflux has flared up and I can’t stop obsessing about it. I know that obsessing about it and not eating is making it worse but I can’t stop myself.

I’m told that obsessing about it makes the acid reflux worse. But can it really? Some people say it can be the sole cause of it and that the tummy meds didn’t work and it only went away when they took an antidepressant. But I take an antidepressant and it doesn’t help.

I’m so fed up of feeling like this all the time. How can I break the cycle? If the stress is causing the acid reflux but the acid reflux is causing the stress. It’s all my damn desire for control!!

Dr Google will see you now

Sound familiar to anyone? I have been consulting Dr Google a lot recently! I know I have IBS and have been told that by GP’s several times but I just can’t stop checking things up to see if there is something else wrong with me. I am looking up things to do with my hormones as I honestly think they have a strong part to play in my anxiety flare ups. Every time I switch birth control methods or come off it (as I recently did to try for a baby) I get bad pmt which causes ibs, anxiety, nausea and bad skin. I convinced myself there was something seriously wrong with me but it is probably just normal. A couple of months after coming off the pill I had a terrible period where the pain was so bad my DH took me to A&E and they told me I might have Endometriosis. Although I went to my real GP who told me I probably just had a painful period, Dr Google convinced me that I had it. I had already decided to go back on the pill at that time as my anxiety was a mess and I clearly wasn’t ready for a baby. Need to get rid of the emet first!

I then started visiting Dr Google to find out about the side effects of starting the pill. It calmed me down at the time but the next time I felt any I would need to visit again.

Next were the dizzy spells. I have been getting these for a few months now (actually coincides with me coming off the bcp) and have seen my real GP two or three times for it. They checked my ears and told me that there was nothing wrong so I shouldn’t worry about it (that’s like telling the pope not to be catholic!). But Dr Google told me there were lots of causes of dizziness and I could have any of them. I had previously had low iron so was convinced I was anaemic. I wasn’t of course. I had a blood test and although my iron levels are still low, I’m not anaemic so that wasn’t the problem. So then I got frustrated with my real GP because they were basically telling me that I had to live with it! But Dr Google gave me lots of diagnoses!

My most recent visit to Dr Google was only yesterday. For the last few days I have had a tight stomach and nausea. I was convinced I had a stomach bug or food poisoning so I was looking up the symptoms of those (even thought I know full well what they are!). I even had yesterday off sick because I was so ill after diarrhoea (sorry tmi!) and spent most of the day either asleep so I couldn’t think about what was going on or visiting Dr Google! About 10 minutes before my dh came home from work I went to the loo and noticed that I had started my period. So once again it was just my period that was making me feel so ill. I then felt like a fool as I should have known. Now I am going to have to explain to my boss that the reason I have been ill so much recently is because I changed my birth control pill. That’s going to be an awkward conversation!

But that didn’t satisfy me. I then proceeded to visit Dr Google to find out about hormones and anxiety/nausea and stomach problems. There are lots of things on the internet about that. It all says it is normal but I am looking for something to be wrong with me. I never realised quite how much I have health anxiety. I always thought it was just emetophobia – that I was convinced everything would make me sick. Ok, so I guess most of them are related to that. I mean I don’t worry that I am going to have cancer and die, I am worried that I will get cancer and get sick from the treatment!

Oh I just remembered that I did one thing that is even better than visiting Dr Google. Two years ago I obtained a copy of my medical records for a certain period in my life. It cost me £20 but I felt it was worth it at the time as I wanted to work out what was going on. So I was looking at them late last night studying everything that has happened. Off course it seems obvious to me that my high anxiety levels and stomach issue flare ups are all related to my period but the GP never seems to have noticed that. There is even a record on there of me asking for a gyno referral but it was refused and I was told to keep a diary of what happens to see if there was a link.

I am still convinced that I have female issues because I do get so sick when I am off the birth control pill (I remember my stomach issues continuing for ages a few years ago when I was off the pill for several months and they didn’t settle until I had been back on it for a few months) and it will need addressing as I want to have a baby. But I know I should stop visiting Dr Google and perhaps even give my real GP a bit of a break as they are probably sick of seeing me! I doubt I will as I have an appointment with me GP in a few weeks time and I will probably bring the subject up. I just want to know if it is normal to have all these issues with the female cycle (sometimes I think it would be easier to be a man!).

I notice I have turned this blog into a bit of a case study for Dr Google which is not what I intended! You see how easy it is to get into that trap! I need to start living my life by finding something else to worry about and stop visiting the Dr Google and the GP!

Not having a good time at the moment

The shakes keep getting me. I’m not sure if I am cold of just depressed but I keep shaking. Is it where I tried coming off the citalopram? I just keep getting a shaking feeling in my chest and it makes my whole body shiver like I am freezing cold but I’m not. Well maybe a little bit cold but not freezing.

So last week I thought it was because I was pregnant but then it became very obvious on Friday morning that I wasn’t. I woke up at 3am to the worst stomach pains I have ever had so my husband took me down A&E. They said it could be endometrioses and to go to the GP. But the GP said he thinks it is just because my periods are returning to normal after coming off the pill in June. Anyway that was a very traumatizing experience and has left me feeling really off.

Saturday I stayed in bed all morning. Both me and my husband were extremely tired after the previous day (driving your loved one to the hospital at 4am will do that. He has told me since he thought I was dying) so we actually both slept in. But I felt extremely sorry for myself. He was due to go to town with his friend but said he wouldn’t go if I wanted him to stay. Part of me wanted him to stay but the other part was quite happy to lay at home in self-pity. So I told him to go and see his friend. My mum and sister were coming round to see me anyway. Turns out they didn’t come round till an hour before he came home so had a could few hours to sit at home and wallow in it. All I did was sleep. If you are asleep you can escape the horrible reality. Sleeping makes you forget how terrible you feel. So I slept. I did feel better after seeing my Mum and sister and I even managed to go to the supermarket to buy some dinner and even ate something! This was an achievement for me. Since I saw the little girl be sick on holiday back in July I haven’t really been myself. I didn’t realise I had got bad till this weekend. I had started getting nervous about eating in front of people again and even found myself eating a sandwich in the car by the side of the road just so no one would see me. This only began about two weeks ago when I got really bad nausea and I was convinced I was pregnant. I think convinced myself that I would get morning sickness from everything that other people got it from and banned food. I should not have been looking on the internet to read other people’s stories with it, that was my downfall.

The same thing happened with travel sickness. After the little girl was sick on the us I looked up what causes travel sickness and read that it is when your ear disagrees with your eyes. So you ears are aware that you are moving but if you are looking at something other than the moving horizon, your eyes don’t think you are moving. This tells your brain that you have been poisoned and makes you sick. I also read that the legs need to agree as well so it is best to keep your legs moving when on transport etc. This caused me to need to do this whenever I was on a train etc. Suddenly I get travel sick even though I never had before. The first incident was on the train back from a hot and stuffy London. I had been looking at my phone playing a game on the way home which I have done loads of times before. I felt strange (probably because it was hot and stuffy) and suddenly decided that I was going to be sick. I had to get out of that train as soon I could but there was still 45 minutes to go. I could get off at the next train station (East Croydon) and wait for a bit but it would only prolong the agony. Fortunately my hubby works near Gatwick (which was the next stop after that) so I convinced him to pick me up there meaning I only had to cope with only 25 minutes.

Next it happened when I was travelling in my sister’s car back from Brighton. I was in the front seat of the car and needed to look up something on my phone to see what I was going to have for dinner on the slimming world diet. I struggled to find what I wanted so was using my phone for longer than I would of liked. I don’t know if this actually made me feel queasy, whether it was her driving or whether I convinced myself I did. I didn’t feel ok until I got home. In fact, that’s not true. I felt rough the next day and two days later came down with a nausea bug so maybe it was that. Or stress?

The final incident happened a week ago on Saturday after I had the nausea bug at work the Tuesday before. I was going to see my Nan and Grandad and was in the front seat of my Mum’s car. I had a pesto pasta salad in the car (as I had been afraid to eat) and then had a mint. Suddenly I felt something pushing up my throat. Obviously I thought it was sick but it was most likely a burp (the reason they give you mints after a dinner is because they make you burp!). Especially as I hadn’t been eating properly for days which gives me wind. But then it turned into a full blown panic attack. Had both my sisters joking that it must mean I was pregnant so I was more convinced I was. This led to me not eating hardly anything for the next week at work and just getting worse and worse. I was getting stressed that my period wasn’t starting and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be pregnant or not. I want a baby but not sure I could cope with the nausea. So it was stressing me out even more not knowing! That is why it scared me so much when I was in pain on Friday morning as I still hadn’t come on and was convinced something was very wrong. Turns out it was just period pain for one reason or another but it still scared me.

So yesterday (Sunday) was a disaster. I couldn’t snap out of the depressive mood and was just crying and crying. My husband didn’t know what to do with me and I didn’t know what to do either. Eventually he managed to get me to get showered and dressed and we went to see his mum and dad then my family. I did start to feel better but still delicate. We went for a walk after dinner and I got wind cramps in my tummy. Nothing new for me but suddenly I was afraid of them. That is what had been making me feel sick at work, wind, not anything else. I feel it pushing up my throat and I worry that it is something else. But I am normally used to it so why is it suddenly making me panic and shake.

I feel it today but I am telling myself that is all it is. I even feel a burning in my nose which I often get with it but not letting it panic me. I know it’s just indigestion. Maybe it is because I have started taking the citalopram again. I slowly came off it and got down to taking only 5mg twice a week. But I went from 5mg every day to 5mg twice a week too quickly and I am sure that is what caused this episode. I do feel better now I can feel it getting into my blood stream. I did have the shakes when I began writing this but somehow writing it has made me feel better. I can feel this knot in the pit of my stomach and my chest feels tight. I know I am carrying around loads of emotion and I was quite surprised I wasn’t crying my eyes out at work earlier. But I know I need to go through the motions and eventually it won’t feel like going through the motions anymore.

I do really need to think about what I want though. Although everyone is nice in this job I am not sure it is for me really. There isn’t enough to do (it’s not just me saying that) and the whole reason I left the receptionist job was because there wasn’t enough to do. Yes I get paid more to have nothing to do here but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. I would prefer to be really busy so I don’t have time to think about things. Oh I have also finished my degree along the way so don’t have that to think about either. So now the question is, do I look for another job in admin that is likely to be busier, do I stay here and sit and wait for the projects to come about before I change (both could mean holding off having a baby), or do I just accept this job and be grateful that I will want a quiet job when I am pregnant/have a baby. Or would I? The more I type this the more I realise that no, I don’t want a quiet job whilst I do that. Especially one that means I have to go to London once a fortnight to sit and do nothing there. No, I thing I do need to change jobs before having a baby, it is just a question of whether I wait here a bit longer and then move or move now so we can start trying sooner.

Poem for my Dad

Today I found out that my dad has a tumour on his pituitary gland. It’s benign but he is going to have to have an operation to remove it or it could cause him to go blind. I’m scared for him but also feel very sad as they now can’t go on their holiday in 6 weeks as he might not have had the surgery by then. When he told me and my sisters I just sat there quietly. Didn’t cry or anything whilst my sisters asked questions. I wanted to show emotions but I just shut down when these sorts of things happen. I just want to be left in my own world. I hugged him and text him after apologising for being quiet etc and he said he knows how I react to things and knows I love him. But I wish I could show my emotions. That is what has caused my OCD in the first place. I used OCD as a way of showing them. So as soon as I got home this poem came into my head. I thought I’d share it. It’s my first draft so needs work!!

I don’t know how to show emotions
But I really do care
It might look like I’m hard as hell
But they really are there

I show them in a different way, see
I hide them from your view
They cause me to do strange things
I’d rather not do

Contaminated is how I feel
Covered from head to toe
To scrub away the world for me
It’s harder than you know

I’m not one to kiss and cuddle
It’s what I cannot do
You will never see me crying
At least not in front of you

Instead, my hands, I scrub and scrub
Until they’re red and raw
My eyes, they flick, from side to side
A tick, hope no one saw

But trust me when I tell you this
You’re my dad, I love you so
I’ll be more open, I’ll try my best
My love for you, I’ll try to show