Hello and welcome to my first ever blog! I hope that if you suffer from anxiety, fibromyalgia, depression or other illness which impacts on your life you may find some comfort in my blog. Please feel free to post your comments x
Today I am grateful for
My Family and friends
For the ability to send forgiveness to myself and others
For the ability to grow and change every day be it up down or sideways because every direction matters on our souls journey by showing us all aspects and angles of life.
For my Faith in God, the Angels and the powers of the universe
And for the rain because it means i feel justified in staying home and relaxing today. Daft to need an excuse I know but I feel shocking and I've had such a busy weekend. I have loved it but as usual I have used too many 'spoons' and crashed last night at swimming club. Seeing the humor in the situation though which is always good and thrilled to say I have made huge progress forwards!
So what happened exactly this week to create such an event as a massive crash? Well it kind of goes like this...I'll start on Thursday...
Thursday morning I spent a wonderful 4 hours with a much loved old friend. The lady who I actually started my Reiki journey with some ten years ago now. I have been trying my hand (irregularly) at psychic surgery, with a fairly good degree of success I may add, and I wanted to devise a treatment which incorporated Reiki healing, visual hypnosis techniques and psychic surgery. The treatment was lovely and we both felt really relaxed and centered afterwards. Then of course we chatted as girls do about anything and everything for hours and had such a lovely morning/afternoon. My Hubby came home at 1.30pm and I impromptually decide to take him out for lunch (as I have been recovering from acrophobia for several months and have had a food phobia on and off since I was 10 years old this was quite a step forward for me) but I have been doing daily healing meditation's and found after a few day's I was indeed feeling more relaxed, more positive and ready to make some important steps forward. So we went out for lunch...then I went with him to coach our son's football team and really enjoyed joining in with activities especially as all three of our children were involved. It was a real family event! Then i went home, made tea and had a Massage client over at 6.30. In hind sight I now see this was way too much to fit into one day seeing as the last 10 months have been very difficult for me because of health issues and I had just had a whole 9 days of a rotten sickness bug, but being one to always live life to the full I crammed it all in and felt fine! Yeayy
Friday mornings I teach swimming voluntarily for school (which I LOVE) but I also had a poorly boy at home to care for and had promised to take the year 6 kids to a local residential home for a Harvest festival at 2pm. At 7.24 I was in asda doing my shopping...no other time to do it...followed by the school run, walking the dog, teaching school swimming, lunch for me and my boy and by this time I am understandably shattered! I really should have had a lie down because my head was ready to explode but not being one to let others down unless I have no choice...and wanting to participate with both the kids and the old folks at the home (my old work place) I pushed on. By 4 pm I was exhausted. My head pounding, I went to bed but of course I had the boys tea's to sort the house to prepare for a girls night I had planned several weeks ago etc etc so no real rest was had, although I did switch my Reiki on for a few precious moments and tried very hard to relax. I had a lovely hot bath and set about decorating my home with candles and incense to hide the fact I hadn't cleaned that day, and flashed some bleach at my bathrooms. (This is me thinking I'm taking it easy), At 6.30 I slapped a little eye shadow and lippy on, slipped into an old but still slightly sexy frock and painted a smile on my face. The evening was lovely. 7 of my closest and most gorgeous friends came and we ordered Chinese food (the girls way of saving me efforts and stress of cooking...yes they really are amazing friends and I love them all dearly.)
We had fab night but for some reason I think we all had a few issues to bring to the table so separated off into groups to chat. Inevitably we almost all ended up in tears, not our usual nights together where we laugh and joke and generally have a wonderful time but as I said I think we all had some stresses we needed to expel. A particularly dear friend was playing about with my Angel cards and made some comments to me which hit several nerves, when I tried to answer her she got all defensive and was actually quite unpleasant. The thing was I was actually agreeing with most of what she said but there were a few comments I really did not agree with. Although I see some of her points very clearly a few were really not necessary or needed and I wasn't able to defend myself because even trying to discuss these points was deemed as me being defensive. I was so upset. How dare she. Now the old me would have slapped her and thrown her out but the 'evolving' me tried to take her comments on board and use them for self improvement. knowing of course that she was coming from a place of love and good intent but some of her comments were tactless, tasteless and down right rude. I know in her heart most of what she said was meant with the intention of helping me deal with my illnesses and current issues but actually I have been doing a hell of a lot of work on said issues for months now and am just starting to feel I am getting somewhere. I felt it was unjust that I was tared with the universal brush of the past! There were also some really lovely comments she made which really touched my heart and for some reason that opened flood gates. It has been just 6 weeks since we lost my precious Grandad and anyone who suffers with any form of anxiety or depression knows like huge events like this can be just the trigger to send you spiraling downwards! I had been pushing my grief away, trying to deal with it one tiny bit at a time because the whole thing on it's own was crushing...I think I need to find a new way to deal with my feelings but the fact is I couldn't cry. I had no tears in me and I was so busy focusing on being grateful to have had such an amazing Grandad and to have had him for a whole 38 years I didn't really feel negative about it at all. Just pride and gratitude. Plus I was grateful he had passed suddenly and quietly in his hospital bed because had he been home alone, or driving the car, or riding his bike (which he did almost daily even at 89) then matters could have been so much worse and we may have been left with an unimaginable aftermath. But we had none of that. It was calm and peaceful. I had had some messages from spirit for a few weeks to warn me and I had spent a glorious 2 hours chatting and laughing with him the day before he died which will always be so precious to me.
I had tried so hard to deal with my grief silently and internally because I felt that was the only way I could get through it but on Friday night, with some of my closest friends, once those emotional gates were open it all came flooding out and there was no stopping it! My friend had deeply hurt me with some of her comments, she made me look at myself differently and constructively yes and for that I am grateful, she picked me up with some lovely kind comments and told me I would live to be an old lady..something that a person with auto immune disease doesn't even dare think about, but somehow she also managed puncture a hole in my wall of defense. However she did it I owe her a lot because I needed that release. I maybe didn't need it so publicly and there were probably other and better ways but never the less I needed someone to open that valve because I just didn't have the equipment myself! I think it was around 2pm on Saturday afternoon when I eventually stopped crying, feeling emotionally rung out and physically exhausted. I had had no sleep, no food and I had nothing left in me. This was supposed to be my chill out day bare in mind! The constant week long headache returned with a vengeance but on the plus side.... I didn't feel anxious in any way! Infact I had had no anxiety since Thursday morning because I was so consumed with my activities I was living every second 'in the moment' and had no time for negative or intrusive thoughts, which for anyone suffering from GAD is an amazing step forward. Swimming gala started at 5pm and so off I went with my middle boy to help organise heats and kids and join in the fun. I loved it. My son got 2 PB's (9 and 7 seconds respectively) and we were elated for him. He certainly is our little sports man. We stopped at the chippy on the way home because I had been too upset to eat anything all day and went to bed for an earlier night at 10.30pm (I'd had 3 hours sleep from Friday morning) I did sleep well on Saturday night but my dreams were weird.
Sunday we were up and at it at 8..a lie in really for a Sunday but I was soo tired! I dragged myself out of bed and went for my usual Sunday morning swim with my husband whilst my youngest had his swimming lesson. My lovely hubby did mention I may benefit from a lie in but as I had done hardly any exercise all week..and exercise does help to keep me fit mentally and physically, I really wanted to go and de-stress. I did (you'll be pleased to read) only swim 400m in 25 minutes and most of this was swam with floats or fins and paddles so it wasn't too much hard work but i felt energised and relaxed and I enjoyed it. We then slipped off to Nottingham to my friends house for lunch and to perform 2 Hopi ear candling treatments (as relaxing for me as they are for the client) Then home for a lovely Harvest festival at Church before coaching swimming in the evening. Now I know that written down this looks a lot for a Sunday but I think if you wrote down your daily activities they suddenly look much more than they are to carry out...but indeed this was all way too much for me to do in just a few days...(this is nothing compared to what I would have done a few years ago and actually was the busiest I had been in weeks). I had done very little earlier on in the week except a few treatments and usual Mam stuff (a full time job in itself) and I love doing fun things with friends and family and keeping busy.
At 7 (after much debate of shall I coach shan't i coach, I am stood on pool side feeling surprisingly OK and dishing out warm ups and drills to my little group of swimmers when all of a sudden I get a pressure in my face like my heads going to explode and the world begins to spin! Luckily for me a young coach and amazing swimmer had wandered over to help me and took over my group while i went to take a moment. However within about 2 minutes i'm in full swing of major migraine and panic is starting to rise. The room was spinning, I couldn't focus on anything more than 5 inches from my eyes, I'm shaking like I've just swam in the North Atlantic, naked, and my whole body starts to spasm. Hummm maybe I'm not going to work through this one or drive home for that matter! The staff at the pool were amazing and really helped me by keeping me calm,cooling me down with ice packs and water letting me be in control as far as possible. They sent for husband to collect me and I was mortified to say the least when they wheeled me out of the building in what I can only describe as a white commode on wheels!!! If nothing else it gave us all a good laugh. Can you imagine? Here I am shaking, sweating occasionally sobbing, head spinning, eyes dancing and I can honestly say I was feeling pretty dreadful generally and someone brings up a white commode on wheels with handle bars on the front and tells you to get in it but when you sit in it your bottom drops through the hole in the middle and it's all very unattractive! Yep even I gigged at that. I also sent Dave out to check the reception was clear before we ventured out. The thought of parents and swimmers standing around watching was just too much, even for a poorly person lol
The best thing was I didn't majorly panic. I panicked, yes I am honest enough to admit that and I think most people would, especially sitting in a mobile commode, but I kept it together as much as I possibly could. Partly because I am getting used to these 'episodes' and partly because now, I have mental and physical strategies to help me deal with the attacks but mainly because of the amazing actions of my friends and the fact they made me feel safe. Safe is a very important key word that anyone who suffer's from an illness or anxiety know's only too well. With anxiety and depression Safe is not something you feel very often and you need to feel in control of the situation too!
The whole thing lasted about 1 hour in total...fantastic progress..these attacks usually last anything from 5 hours to 3 days so that was amazing progress but even now 22 hours later the after affects are knackering! I am tried, sore, slightly anxious on and off and have felt as weak as a kitten during arts of the day but compared to the days after other similar attacks I am strong, calm and positive and accepting! Another Key word. Acceptance of any illness is the first step towards a better future and if possible recovery. If you accept you will have bad days and can allow yourself to rest and heal then it does make life, and recovery, easier but I would be lying if I said I was completely comfortable with the situation. It frustrates me because it stops me doing what I want to do one more occasions than I would like to think about, but I keep my frustration in check because it is counter productive in recovery and the last thing I need is to be self destructive!
So whats different now to a few weeks, months or years ago? What made me cope better this time and how come instead of lying in bed all day today I have been able to get up and write my blog, do my washing, finish a crochet blanket I was making? Well a few things I think. I have learnt that anxiety is there to help me. Although I find it debilitating at times I have learned that actually It happens to stop me doing things which my sub-conscious deems to be dangerous. Unfortunately some of these things my sub-conscious protects me from are just normal every day daily life things, but if I have had serious anxiety or become very poorly doing these seemingly normal things,or if it is a common occurrence then that's enough for my sub-conscious to step in and say "Woah hang on girl, lets not go there, remember last time?" and so it places anxiety in my way to prevent me from repeating that scary event. I'm now learning that that in itself is like having a very caring but slightly over baring friend and the only way to deal with it is to gently explain that actually I am fine, that past situation was not 'the norm' and I can only get over these phobia's and anxiety attacks by facing my fears head on. I.E I know your trying to protect me and I appreciate it. However your'e over protective and controlling methods are preventing me from living a normal and happy life, so let me try this my own way and regain control myself! This is easier said than done I assure you but once done it is such an amazing feeling of accomplishment and that's why it is so important for friends and family of anxiety suffer's to support them and know that they will do everything in their own time given the right support. Pressure or negative comments actually make the whole thing far worse than it needs to be an can escalate symptoms because an anxiety sufferer has the power and amazing ability to blow eve the smallest thing out of proportion though absolutely no fault of their own!
I have also learned very recently that anxiety, especially GAD, in it's extreme or long term form, becomes an automatic response. Like digesting food or blinking because your body gets so used to having it it doesn't know how to live without it. The excess adrenaline becomes a drug that your body is addicted too and so even at times of rest and calm it will suddenly produce excess amounts in order to receive a self administered 'hit'. It is almost like your body doesn't know how to get through a day without producing excess adrenaline and cortisol steroids and so if there is no 'stressor' to create such a hit, anxiety begins to integrate itself as part of your every day bodily function's. Where a drug addict or alcoholic has a choice, to some extent, of whether or not to administer their particular chosen stimulant an anxiety sufferer receives huge adrenaline dumps unconsciously and then is left to deal with the fall out of the effects plus the with drawl afterwards, which as with any drug can last for hours or days!
Anxiety is not something to be feared they say, it is a natural fight or flight response, designed by nature to help us in situations of danger. But when your brain perceives a normal everyday activity as a terrifying or dangerous situation and reacts with such a physical intensity it literally takes your breath away and knocks you off your feet, it is horrifically terrifying and no wonder a sufferer then becomes frightened of the panic itself hence beginning that vicious cycle of fear, disruptive thought patterns and avoidance which in turn leads to more anxiety, depression and eventually physical illness. So much so that even during the night your body is ALWAYS on high alert. Fatigue sets in, your body produces more adrenaline to combat the symptoms of fatigue and here we go again, round and round and round......
The symptoms of anxiety in themselves are horrendous in extreme form and can make any sufferer feel dreadful mentally, emotionally and physically. In my experience you just get used to one set of symptoms and start to deal with them and another set jump into play to throw you off guard. Here are some of the symptoms I have experienced. They all come in varying degree's of intensity from one panic attack to another and in the case of anxiety (not panic) they can hub away in the back ground for days on end making you feel constantly poorly.
Spacey - which can range from feeling slightly drunk to feeling like your being sucked backwards out of your own body
Racing heart - again ranges from faster and harder than usual to beating so hard and fast you feel like it's going to explode out of your chest
It is true to say that the energy systems of the body are all linked in with each other, we have a physical body, causal body, emotional body, mental body and astral body. If we view our energetic bodies as force-fields, then we can understand when they are strong they can deflect negativity and dis-ease and keep us safe but an emotional, physical or mental illness or trauma can weaken these defenses and holes appear in our shield. Sometimes we can patch these holes up easily and quickly. Other times the damage is so catastrophic that even with some patching the bombardment of every day life, negative thoughts, stimulants or continuing stressful situations and environmental factors, holes appear and spread quicker than we can identify and repair them.
So the question is this. How do we prevent the holes from appearing in our shield of defense in the first place?
The easy answer is avoid negativity! Avoid people who hurt us, avoid stress, avoid stimulants which affect our physical and mental bodies, hide from emotional attacks, always remain positive in thought and pure in deed, eat healthily all of the time, exercise daily and meditate as often as possible to keep our defenses strong so they can not become damaged in anyway.
Easy right? No? Yeah, that's what I thought too!
We can't simply 'avoid' stresses. Even with the best of intentions we can't avoid all pollutants or stimulants and we certainly can't hide our emotional selves away from hurt. How would we grow spiritually if we didn't experience love or heartbreak? But we can meditate regularly to strengthen our force fields, reduce stress and gain a healthy perspective on life. As little as ten minutes a day meditation can make a HUGE difference to your life and you don't have to chant or lie down to meditate. Meditation can be done whilst walking, running, washing the dishes (avoid sharp objects), making crafts or day dreaming. It's safe to meditate in most situations but try and avoid doing it whilst driving the car, operating machinery, dealing with hot or dangerous substances that sort of thing.
To meditate we just have to learn how to zone out of our daily lives and turn our attentions inwards so that we can find an inner peace. This does take some practice so start with 5 or 10 minutes a day and build up. Begin by breathing slowly and deeply, right down into your diaphragm.imagine the air you breathe to be a pure white light and send this white light around your body until it runs from the top of your head to the souls of your feet and then push it out into your aura and imagine it clearing and cleansing. Washing away grey or negative energy and replacing it with positivity and vibrancy. When you are well versed in this practice perhaps you could do some Chakra clearing techniques and then progress onto visualisations.
You don't need anything to meditate but many people like to use incense, crystals, gentle music and candles. It's important to remember meditation is personal and so what ever works for you is good enough. In meditation, we can re-assess our lives daily and make plans to be more organised and resourceful. We can identify with our worries and find ways to deal with them effectively so that they are less harmful or let go of them altogether because some worries are simply not necessary. We can apply logic to all aspects of our lives and learn to place everything in our life neatly, like a jigsaw to bring about balance and we can all apply gratitude and positivity to every situation and extend forgiveness to ourselves and others in order to draw in abundance and prosperity not only financially but in every aspect of our lives. You can even call in guides, loved ones who have passed or Angels and ask for their help, support and guidance.
Generally speaking we all could do with being a little kinder to ourselves every day. We would all benefit from thinking before we speak or act and therefore turn heated energy into loving actions and words. We don't have to become sudden Earth Angels but by thinking before we speak we can ensure we speak from the heart and not from fear or anger ensuring we are heard correctly and this in itself is empowering. We are all subjective to thoughts and words so by turning negatives into positives we all benefit. Regular meditation helps us to reset the balance of our lives every day and by doing so we naturally strengthen our immune systems protecting against future dis-ease and restoring good health. By using meditation to assess our day in the evening we can ensure we set realistic daily goals which in turn brings about a sense of achievement which builds our self confidence and helps us to see our worth.
Remember just as our moon is important to the survival of our planet, every star, no matter how tiny, is important to the perfect balance and harmony of our Universe. You don't have to be the moon to have impact on the World. You are perfect as you are and your role in life is just as important as everyone else's so relax and know that your journey through life is not insignificant, as you may think, but actually you are a really important and have a special place in the balance and harmony of life.
So just for today be kind to everyone you see, even your own reflection.
Forgive yourself and others and offer understanding for wrong doings, everyone has their own problems and sometimes we all do things out of character which hurt other people in some way, sometimes even when we have the very best of intentions.
Be grateful for everything you have in life even if it's just one thing a day like the sun rise, the rain, a loved one, something that made you smile or for having food in your tummy.
Know that you are perfect and normal in every way and that even if today has been difficult there is always tomorrow, a new page to begin and we can always learn from the difficult days which is a positive in itself.
And my personal favorite. Send sprinkles of love, healing and happiness out into the universe every morning. You never know when you need to catch some yourself and it's always nice to have a bank to retrieve from but also as they say "It is from Giving so shall we receive!"
Hi my Name is Philippa Woodsford and I am a Holistic therapist, Reiki Master Teacher and Hypnotherapist. I suffer with anxiety and depression due to a condition called fibromyalgia which I believe is linked with an auto immune disease I was diagnosed with at just 17. My blog is written for me as a sort of journal but also in the hope it may bring hope and healing to others suffering with similar issues on a daily basis. Enjoy