Monday 18 March 2013

Only as much as I dream can I be.

Sometimes anxiety gets the better of me. I try and fight it. Sometimes well, and sometimes I'm down for the count in the first round. My personality, which worked well in my career, can trip me up if left unchecked in my life as it is now. You see, I've always been someone who likes to be in control  Even now the sicker I am, often the more stubborn I become, as I deludedly try to assert my dominance on the situation. Which of course always works out so well. And I really don't do well with uncertainty. I have on occasion, even been known to catastrophise things. For example, this was my response to having to leave work thanks to my deteriorating health:

 "The world had ended.  The stars were falling from the sky.  My failure was responsible for the hole in the ozone layer, global warming and Justin Beiber.  Even the demise of the Pollywoffle was directly related to my failure (RIP little marshmallow bar of goodness).  My life was over.  I had failed me.  I had failed Mr Grumpy.  I had failed the rug rats.  I had failed my family.  I had failed my friends.  I had even failed the slightly creepy guy who delivered our junk mail. (And I wonder where my youngest gets his drama queen genes from)." (Zen and the Art of Tupperware

I like to think this is just another in a long list of less than helpful skills my Type A personality chose to perfect. Up there with deciding to get one of the crappier versions of a crappy illness. None of this half-arsed business here. My anally retentive tendencies would never allow that. Even if the outcome will be undoubtedly shitty, I'll have the best worst outcome, damn it!

Having an unpredictable disorder has not helped. Feel well one minute, out cold on the floor the next. Some days you get lulled into feeling a little less symptomatic and try to do a little more than usual. Like today, I showered, got dressed AND accessorised which of course left me clutching my chest and seeing spots on the bed. Luckily I didn't get all crazy and try to put on lip gloss or I may have been out for the count. So simple yet so unexpectedly difficult. Events like today tend to make me worry. How can they not? 

Some days I can get away with vacuuming a couple of rooms or pottering in the garden. Those days I felt like I did earlier today. But for some unknown reason apart from feeling the white noise of being generally unwell I was okay. As to why today a wee bit of personal hygiene ended poorly, I have no idea. It's not like I get a heads up or can work out why today was worse than those other days. Some days I can have everything in my favour and still end up bradycardic and vague out on the floor. I can tick every single box on my list to give me the best chance of a good day and two seconds later it all ends in tears.

It's been a hard truth to come to terms with for someone as anal retentive as myself. If I'm honest it's one I'm still working on. My tips so far: swearing, sobbing and pouting whilst not exactly getting at the root of the problem do make you feel better. 

It has meant that heading out of the house does make me anxious. I hate admitting that, but it is the truth. If I am going to have a full-body meltdown I prefer to do that in the privacy of my home. Having it in front of others, particularly strangers, still bothers me, even though logically I know it shouldn't. 

The reality is that something as simple as going to the supermarket is a big deal. Not just the physical side of the things like fatigue and weakness, a blood pressure that can drop with little notice, or the realisation that I'll likely have to use the disgusting public rest rooms, no doubt more than once. But the chance that I will fall, have my legs give out, start slurring, throw up in my cart, not be able to sign for my credit card, end up on a bench sucking down water and salt sachets whilst people walk by staring and muttering about the weird pasty faced woman lying on the bench whilst her "poor kids" stand at the checkout (No, I am not drunk or on drugs, judgemental people. Sheesh). I could go in feeling fine and dandy and 10 minutes in be a sobbing blancmange on the foul floor of the public toilet clutching a puke bag. That can make a gal a little anxious.

It's hard. Taking that first step mentally and physically seems an impossibility some days. But the reality is that I can either become a hermit and half live my life in fear of what may be, or I can say "screw it" take a deep breath and hold on tight to hope. Self-imposed exile from the world was never on my To Do list, yet I can easily see myself slowly sinking into it if I don't take myself in hand and down a big can of Harden up, Princess.

I hate the bad days, days like yesterday where I was stuck non-functioning in bed, or days like today that started a little better and went downhill fast. If I could avoid them I would. But I have to acknowledge that sometimes they are simply unavoidable. I do get through them. Every time. It doesn't feel like it in the moment, but I do. At times it's embarrassing or seriously unpleasant, but I'm still here kicking on seven years down the track. I can chose to limit myself in fear of what my body will serve up for the next day or next hour. Or I can suck up my anxiety and let myself reach, seek, look and dream. 

And who knows. I might go arse-up at the check out, but at least I'll have managed to get out of the house, or have some new pots in my garden to admire from my comfy spot at ground level, or wear some fabulous accessories even whilst I am feeling a little like death warmed up on my couch. 

Who knows, tomorrow I may even risk the lip gloss.

Michelle :)

Time to shake the crap out of my head. 


  1. You have made my day. I read this out loud to my husband. It was emotional, but touching in so many ways.

    Last year, my husband picked up 3 new pots for me at one of our local stores...of course, my wish list that I sent him with was preferred size, shape, depth of color, etc. Yes...control freak! I remember so clearly laying on the bed a couple of days later, looking out the slider at the pots I had actually managed to fill with some flowers and thinking...those are some damn nice pots!

    You hit home in SO many ways. Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Sondra, it seems weird to say glad you could relate but I am. I totally relate to your pot situation too as I never send my husband out to buy anything without first listing all the specific details I want. Yay to nice pots!

  2. Your posts make me feel so much better! I've been a POTSie my entire life and I often need a little humor and inspiration in my life! What else do we have? Thank you for giving me a little hope today (although I'm terribly sorry you suffer with this damned condition)!

  3. i needed this post today michelle thanks. i first started to get symptoms of the good old pots at 9. try explaining to the drs how you feel. after many years they put the symptoms down to anxiety. while i can understand that maybe a by product of the illness, it certainly delayed my dx by 20+ years.

    when you say that one minute your feeling fine, then next, well you just dont know how you will feel has been with me for all those years and i didnt know quite why pre-dx. i received an apology from the anxiety treating drs, in writing. however the gp was/is less forthcoming. the typical response is 'its a rare condition', mmmm i think its rarely diagnosed thats my rant over with. thanks for posting as always helpful, insightful posts. x

    1. Em, I totally agree, rarely diagnosed not necessarily rare. Given the amount of people now getting diagnosed as opposed to when we first bumped into each other on the blogosphere, it is not as rare as they make out. You do begin to think you're crazy pre-diagnosis as there is no rhyme or reason to the way symptoms present and few doctors can put the pieces together.

      I hope alls as well as it can be in your neck of the woods xx

  4. I swear you are my doppleganger!! I surely hope you can attempt the lip gloss tomorrow :)

    1. No lipgloss, but I did wash my hair! Living on the edge!!!

  5. I am so glad I came across your blog.

    You have no idea how much it means to me that you are sharing everything and putting it so eloquently. I always knew there were people out there with the same symptoms but I got to a point where I thought am I just being a hypochondriac, surely all these things can't happen at once? Not to a 28 year old.

    I get funny looks because I get to a point where I just have to sit down, wherever I am, the street, on a train, in the supermarket, which of course leads to more anxiety about leaving the house!

    I can sometimes realise that I've done too much and that's why I can't get up, but others, I have no clue. Somedays I feel like I can tackle the world and think I should make the most of my energy, do too much, then need a week in bed.

    I have other anxiety issues but I'm determined that my POTS won't hold me back thanks to you, so what if they think I'm drunk, etc, I'm going to use your example and have a can of Harden up, Princess.

    I also get funny looks for my handbag being so huge and containing emergency salt sachets, BP & heart rate monitor, water, electrolyte drinks, plastic bag and the rest!

    Thanks again Michelle, you are fabulous.

  6. Dear, dear Michelle, this was the post I needed to read at the moment, and confirms my belief that things happen for a reason, as it is from so much earlier in the year, and I had not seen it when first posted. It has been a particularly carp time for me over the past few weeks, now including some really hard to deal with family problems, and to cap it all I had to dial 999 for the first time for myself on friday, and for an 'arsey' self-sufficent gal That was very scary, and a defeat hard to take. Life feels really bleak for me at the moment, and to be honest I'm now fighting the 'what's the f point' demon. But please be assured that what You take the time and a huge truckload of effort to write Does help, just being reminded that there are others feeling exactly the same feelings gives me hope that I can keep grinding on, and I should kick myself in the 'female nuts' to remind me that even if it is just for myself, Keep Bloody Keeping On, things can change for the better, but once the 'desperate deed' is done they can't :,>\ May your God bless you, thank you from the bottom of my heart xx


All who are lovely enough to comment should be showered with cup cakes, glitter and macarons. I promise to use my spoon bending mind powers to try and get that happening for all who are lovely enough to share their words. Those who go the extra step to share posts should really get a free unicorn. Or at least the gift of finding the shortest and quickest line at the supermarket on a regular basis. xx

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