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Thread: Relapse! Coping, Symptoms and Tips.

  1. #1201
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    Re: Relapse! Coping, Symptoms and Tips.

    I'm finding difficulty with eye contact lately.
    For some reason I'm presuming I look ill and so afraid that someone is going to comment on it.
    I even have excuses lined up incase someone says anything to me....
    "I have hay fever", "I've not been sleeping well", "I've been stressed and exhausted with moving".
    But in my head I think there is something more and I am obsessing that people are looking at me in a weird way, even talking behind my back.
    I've asked my partner several times and I know deep down he won't give me an honest answer because he is aware of my anxiety and how it can affect me. Besides my arm could be hanging out of its socket and he'd still ask me "what's for dinner tonight?"
    I keep taking selfies of myself to see if I look ok and glancing in the mirror to see if I look pale or flushed, bloated or drawn and weighing myself chronically to see if there is any change.
    I've been like this more so since the move and its as though after all the hard work and task in hand is worrying me that I won't be able to reap the benefits because of some deadly illness or something.
    I know about paranoia and yes, I probably am, but knowing that doesn't calm the mind.
    Even if I keep busy, I find myself stopping in my tracks to check my appearance and if I'm out, I try to avoid human contact incase someone I know comments and asks if I am ok?
    I've been like this since having anxiety, but lately it's been more so and this constant checking and comparing photos from one day to the next is stressing.
    Even if I stop doing that and have done for a while, I'm still faced with the bathroom mirror, shop mirrors, reflections from windows and the dreaded face on with a human being.
    I do have a fear of death and it's process and being a carer for the last ten years has not helped with those thoughts and I find it has affected me being able to enjoy life to its fullest.
    But the way I see it for me, unless I have someone comment on how well I look or a GP gives me a clear bill of health, I'm presuming there is something wrong.
    The silent stares, the frowning, the 'how are you's", the side glances and sympathetic tilted head, all makes me more paranoid.

  2. #1202
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    May 2013
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    Re: Relapse! Coping, Symptoms and Tips.

    You're such a good writer and so capable of sharing your thoughts and feelings in a way that we can relate to, or at least I can. I can completely relate with what you're saying - that was my life while I was working, on top of all the other stress, exhaustion and anxiety I was dealing with on a daily basis. The first stressor of each day was to make sure I looked as "well" and attractive as I possibly could, even if I were only going out to the mailbox on a Sunday. If, when I got to the office, someone would say "You look so beautiful today" or "Wow, you look so alive and happy" my mission will have been accomplished and THEN I could go about the rest of my day with confidence, knowing that, at least for that day, no one else could see what was really going on inside of my head and my body. But, God forbid, if someone would say "You OK?" or "You look tired, didn't sleep well?" my day would be consumed with trying to find a way to improve my looks or maybe find out what was causing me to look bad so I could go back to fooling the world that I am fine, and normal, and just like everyone else.

    I'm finding that now that I don't go to the office every day where I am on display to hundreds of people, that stressor of "looking good" is gone, and I'm working on relaxing how much prep I put into going out to run errands. A year ago, I literally would not go out to my mailbox unless I was properly dressed, made up, and hair styled. Now? I've actually run to the corner store in shorts, hair pulled into a ponytail, and no make up. Granted, it's scary and I always fear running into someone I know, but that fear is slowly diminishing. I'm working towards running into people I know and saying "This is the new me - au natural!" Hopefully, the inner peace and reduction in anxiety will overpower the lack of makeup and people will think I look great and healthy for the RIGHT reason.

    I don't know if any of that can help you, but if you can start to adopt the theory that our exterior appearance doesn't reflect what's going on inside, maybe you can start to let go a little?
    Sue

  3. #1203
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    Re: Relapse! Coping, Symptoms and Tips.

    Thanks for that Sue, no really, thanks, it was just what I needed to hear and just hearing there is someone else that feels the way I do makes me feel just that little bit like I'm normal and not losing my mind.
    I remember those day of not going out in public until I had my face on, (that's what my mum use to call it). Taking it further than that, I couldn't even take a phone call until primed and presentable because I thought the other person could sense my natural look of being unpretty.
    I am a self conscious person and lack confidence and the only way I could cover that was in the way of make-up, hair style and power clothes. It's a bit like being an actress, a character you invent for yourself.
    These days I too have my slouchy days and not afraid to show myself without the trimmings. I think because I am older, but I still feel better when dressed up and make up on. I love my sunglasses because they hide a multitude of flaws and hats when you have a bad hair day.
    I have to say that when anyone has had the unfortunate experience of seeing me without any glamour, they have never commented on how terrible I look. So I think the feelings lie within our head.
    I'm lucky to have a partner that pays me compliments and will often say when watching tv, "you look better than them", which is lovely to hear, but deep down don't believe him.
    I'm afraid I will always continue to have these thoughts and it's something I struggle with, but I am beginning to think it's more a problem of my mind instead of a physical thing.

  4. #1204
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    Re: Relapse! Coping, Symptoms and Tips.

    Glad my post helped. I hesitated sending it because I was afraid it might just enforce the very thing you're struggling with, but glad there was a sense of relief, and yes, I think you are VERY normal. Of course, consider the source of that comment and take from it what you will.

    One of the reasons I really hesitated retiring was because of my strong need for verbal affirmation. I get NONE, ZERO, ZIP from my husband. He's just not the type and as much as I've tried to explain to him how important it is to me, he's just not comfortable with it nor good at it. So I was lucky to get lots of verbal affirmations during the course of a work day and was terrified that I would wither away without it. So far, I haven't. And if someone tells you that you don't look well, tell them it's the price of being alive another day, and be thankful that we ARE still alive. There are so many factors that affect the way we look on any given day, I give up trying to figure it out. Hope you can, too.
    Sue

  5. #1205
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    Re: Relapse! Coping, Symptoms and Tips.

    It's very common for a partner to be lacking in the compliment department. Although I'm lucky to have someone tell me I look nice, he seems to be blind when when I have an injury or sick.
    When I had my broken toes he would still march up the street when I'd barely taken two steps.
    Still, we can't have it all, can we?

  6. #1206
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    Re: Relapse! Coping, Symptoms and Tips.

    Apparently, if you wake up before your alarm goes off it is much better for you and is an indication that you are getting enough sleep.
    If you are one of these people that shut the alarm off with barely opening your eyes and then go back to sleep, then this is an indication that you are exhausted.
    Which was what I was doing for the last couple of weeks.
    So I turned the alarm for the last few days. I don't have a job or appointments to tend to, so I thought what the heck, if I sleep in most of the morning, then so be it. My exhaustion problem is more important.
    And yes, I did sleep in and for two more hours than my normal wake up time.
    But this morning I woke up my usual time without the aid of a buzzing alarm and feel quite refreshed.
    My point is, if you don't have to get up for anything in particular, why not give yourself a break from the ringing contraption that may be disrupting your much needed sleep. And for people that have jobs, give yourself a break at weekends or your days off.. Go natural.

  7. #1207
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    Re: Relapse! Coping, Symptoms and Tips.

    It's odd, I've never woken to an alarm clock ever. My body clock is a fiend. It will wake me up at 7.30 give a minute or two either way. Even when I have a day off, I will wake at the same time and because most times I sleep ok, I'm not tired enough to go back to sleep. It's a pain. So on days off, instead of getting up, I lie in bed staring out of the window, at the trees and birds. I was doing that when my robin came to visit. I am using the time to try and meditate too but it's hard. I can't keep my mind from wandering for more than a second. Oddly enough I have most success with having a totally blank mind, utterly free from thought. However, I find when I do it I'm holding my breath. As soon as I start breathing, the thoughts come back.
    __________________
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  8. #1208
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    Re: Relapse! Coping, Symptoms and Tips.

    Sounds like you have a perfectly working body clock Darksky.
    I think people sometimes get confused about the main point of meditation and it can become confusing and frustrating. 'Breathing control' seems to be portrayed as the main factor of mediation, but its actually the calm you need to be in and I've always found the breathing techniques difficult and even have an adverse affect on me.
    When someone is highly anxious or panicky, it's almost impossible to do and many people shelve the exercise altogether.
    But did you know meditation can be as simple as lying in bed and looking out of the window, listening to the birds and taking in the moment. Just like you did Darksky.
    Or sitting by a stream watching the ripples in the water.
    Or walking through a park and stopping amongst the trees and feeling the gentle breeze on your face or the sun on your skin.
    Your breathing should always come naturally and not be forced and that should be perfect when you are in a state of calm and pleasant surroundings.
    Don't stress about the breathing, just relax and enjoy what nature had provided us with to enjoy.
    Just to add to that, you can do any of those things and more just by closing your eyes and imagining your idyllic place of serenity. So it's not just about being in a calming place but taking your mind to that place, which is basically what meditation is all about.

  9. #1209
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    Re: Relapse! Coping, Symptoms and Tips.

    My day was a unfortunately a bit scary and I'm still trying to get my head around it.
    I was in town with my other half and chatting to someone we know and I was able to do that because I feel comfortable with this person. So much that they made me laugh and as I did si I felt this excruciating pain under my ribcage on the left hand side just under the breastbone.
    Not to make a scene or draw attention to myself I stepped a side clutching my chest trying to think why I had this stabbing pain almost like a stitch and thankfully it went within seconds. So carried on chatting and thankfully no one noticed and then it happened again!
    I made some excuse to sit in the car to try and compose myself and when my partner eventually joined me I told him of my incident.
    "wind", he said, but my head wouldn't except that and I was sure it was my heart and a possible heart attack.
    I felt ok, but the pain scared me and luckily it hasn't happened again.
    But because I need confirmation of why I find myself thinking of the events of the day. "Did I lift anything heavy?" "Have I been overdoing things?" You know the sort of stuff.
    I know 'wind' can be painful, but because I don't have confirmation it was wind, I find I'm nursing myself like a patient and worrying myself silly. :(

  10. #1210
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    Re: Relapse! Coping, Symptoms and Tips.

    I would say it was a muscle spasm, particularly since you said it happened when you were laughing. Doesnt sound like wind. I would put money on it being muscular, the hard bit is going to be persuading you of that

    in actual fact it's sounds all very similar to the pain that caused my first pa. 40 years on I'm still here with a sound heart.
    __________________
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