This blog pretty much follows on directly from the last one I wrote. If you missed it you can read it here.
After the high of Saturday night’s great gig and accomplishments it was inevitable really that there would be an emotional crash afterwards. It’s the yin and yang of having anxiety. You complete something only to be reminded of how it can easily be taken away from you. Sometimes you get, sometimes you get got.
I woke up relatively early in my hotel room in Derby and started killing time before check out. My backpack had been packed with the meager odds and ends I’d brought with me and I also had a shoulder bag containing my CPAP machine (I suffer with extreme sleep apnoea). I’d not had much sleep for the past couple of nights but where as Friday night’s sleep centred around my anxiety, the Saturday night had been a mix of post-gig buzz and being in the hotel with all of it’s associated bangs and clattering.
I walked the short journey into the centre of Derby and say myself down in the nearest coffee shop that wasn’t Starbucks. With a large black coffee and croissant on the table, I rang Sarah back at home. We chatted about the previous night and how we both were.After about ten minutes I let her carry on with her day whilst I caught up with the internet and Facebook in general. I started work my blog piece about the gig for a bit too.
After the coffee was finished I decided to take a bit of a walk around Derby town centre. It seemed like a relatively quiet town with people gathering to take part in that morning’s Remembrance Day service. I found myself down by the river. I was fascinated by a large flock of pigeons. They would land in one place then suddenly take off, circling around a couple of times at a low level before settling down again then repeating after a few minutes. It was like being in Hitchcock’s The Birds.
By the time I got back to Durham I was pretty damn tired. I had enough time to shower, change and grab some food before Sarah’s auntie and uncle came and we headed to Gateshead. The second gig in as many days was an early Christmas gift to see Beth Hart at the Sage. Another great vocalist with an incredibly powerful, soulful voice, Beth held everyone captivated with backing from a tight jazz and blues fused band.
Wandering back to the car afterwards we got chance to soak in the Newcastle night. The Tyne was perfectly still and mirrored the reflection of the Sage and the Tyne Bridge in it. There’s something about walking around cities at night that I find really appealing and relaxing.
Another late night before getting in to bed. I was pleased I’d booked the Monday off work. But my body and anxiety weren’t ready to let me rest.
I woke up suddenly around three in the morning. The right hand side of my body felt frozen and I couldn’t move my arm. I could feel my throat closing up even with the CPAP machine pumping my throat full of air. My face felt wierd, the right side of my face felt twisted and contorted. I panicked and tried to sit up. My right arm was still useless but I managed to roll myself up into a sitting position. The feeling in my arm started coming back as I started to focus on myself to calm to hell down. My breathing started to come back to normal and my face felt better. Was I still asleep? Was I fully awake? I really don’t know. Waking up the next morning I still felt tired. It felt like my body and brain just didn’t want to rest.
I took it easy on the Monday, trying to rest as much as possible. Tuesday rolled around with it’s usual inevitably and I was back at work. The day wore on and so did my body. By the time I’d got home I was ready for bed again. Tuesday night morphed on into Wednesday morning, and my body was starting to succumb to the anxiety that was trying to take over. It felt like I was starting to relapse to the way I was last year. I woke up with the same lightness in my head, the same panicked feeling, the same need to burrow myself away from everything. But I was going to fight through it, I was going to make it through.
Wrong. Well, kind of. I could feel myself getting worse at work. I didn’t feel right, I couldn’t concentrate properly, I was jittery and withdrawn. I tried to focus on my job at hand but I couldn’t. By mid afternoon I’d had a word with my manager about using up some holiday and getting away early. My goal was to get away by three. By four I had finished off what I had to do. I could have gone earlier but I don’t like leaving a job unfinished, so I hung back that little bit more to make sure the job was done.
I got home with the sole intention on relaxing. I made food for Sarah and I then we watched a film.
The next day was an improvement. I was still in the throes of my anxiety but it was certainly at a lower level. I just kept focusing on things I could control. I immersed myself in my work, using the precise and exact nature of what I needed to do to take my mind off things. By the afternoon the anxiety had subsided enough to be under control. I’d managed to keep myself relatively together and had got through it. Yes, it had been a struggle at times, but I made it.
What caused the sudden anxiety spike? I think it was a combination of pushing myself a lot and being overly tired. I know not sleeping well can cause a spike in my anxiety which is why I booked myself a little bit extra time off, so I could try to rest and recuperate. It clearly didn’t work as well as I’d hoped but I know better for next time. This won’t hold me back.
Now, it’s Saturday evening. I’m sitting at home, watching films and drinking diet coke. Sarah and I both have the next week off work. We’ll be doing a bit of decorating, visiting people and just trying to enjoy things. I want to get some more writing done as well a starting to explore some online courses about mental health support a friend has told me about.
I’m focused and I have drive, I’ve got time with my partner and I plan on doing some things I enjoy. It’s time to take stock and rejuvenate.