Taken from my blog (this that distorts me has saved me) – 23 February 2008
I began to feel angry, I had so much rage inside me but it wasn't anger – I wasn't angry at anything, it just felt like I was boiling over and ready to explode with mixed emotions. I began to feel really claustrophobic. I felt I was in a messy or dirty place. I became dizzy and weak, out of breath, sweaty –panicky. I was surprised at how long this attack was lasting and at the fact that I couldn't think of an obvious reason other than feeling claustrophobic (which happens often) as to why it was happening. This was lasting much longer than any other pervious attacks I'd had. I made myself a chamomile tea, lit some candles and dimmed the lights to relax in the bedroom, however it didn't seem to help; my breathing began to race and tears started flowing. I just didn't know why this was happening, maybe it was the thought of having a busy weekend which can make me anxious sometimes. I tried using the Now technique which is a famous technique of coping with and easing the stresses of life. This is most famously used by
Eckhart Tolle (author of "The Power Of Now") and in Buddhism. Being in the now is to me as it sounds. To take notice of the world around us; pay more attention to our surroundings, smells, light conditions, the furniture in the room, noticing each limb of your body relaxing. – just as you would when entering a hypnagogic state. Not to think, but to just simply be aware of the things we're so used to. Notice the birds singing, the smell of something cooking, sunlight beaming through the window – it's warmth. I agree that this is a great method of meditation – to clear any thoughts running through your head and become at peace, or one with the world around you – awakening from the dream and opening your eyes. Yet, as soon as I start to think again I've fallen back to sleep, the world outside isn't my reality anymore – I'm in my own again. I'm sure that if I practiced and studied this method a little more it might work, but in a moment of anxiety, knowing little about it, and thinking almost frantically of all possible ways to over come it, it wont work for me. It seems like a natural reflex to assess the environment around me and as soon as I have done so I know it's safe to keep gibbering on to myself in my head…
Toby (my partner) decided to help out by changing his hamster (at gone 12) which was nice of him but this seemed to make it worse.
I have always been a "clean freak" I have to clean a bit more than necessary to feel comfortable, often having to resist the temptation to clean or tidy (only in my own home). When things are "messy" or "dirty" I feel claustrophobic or trapped – it's hard to explain. To avoid this I give myself a little routine to do in the mornings and write lists of things too.
I usually help out with cleaning the hamster and generally don't mind the smell, this time I felt paralyzed and could only just stand there feeling uncomfortable. The smell made me even more panicky and tears began falling again. Once Toby had finished and gone to bed I felt an extreme need to clean all the bathroom, the floors and anything else that "needed" it. I couldn't rest until things where restored back to a "safe" state. I even had to shower which I rarely feel the need to do after cleaning. I felt so much better after, I had dealt with the anxiety and everything was ok. A great wieght had been lifted off of my solar plexus. But it's not ok to deal with anxiety in this way. I never had acted like this before, and to feel myself like this was scary, I can't imagine how Toby felt. I'm a bit better today, no anxiety but the need to clean and tidy is still here – the claustrophobic or messy/dirty feeling, I have resisted so far but I'm not sure how long I can keep on resisting. I feel extremely messed up, everything seems to have changed in the space of a few hours, my emotions are everywhere – I'm being taken over by something else…
I know that I have had obsessive compulsive symptoms in the past which have been growing worse over the years, and more so in the last year, but now I really do believe it. I'm scared and worried about it growing worse (ha I'm going in an anxious circle). I have never thought that my OCD would actually be causing me to become anxious I thought that the two were separate (in myself, I know its common in a lot of people to have anxiety and OCD as "partners"). OCD is such a big thing to me – it's a bad thing. For some reason I see it as something that makes me so un-normal, so different, an outsider, someone that is mocked for it – yet I do not see others this way. It's one of the most known psychological disorders and it varies so much, but to actually be accepting that I have it feels like I have done a dirty deed….
* After writing this back in Febuary, I can happily say that I've accepted my OCD syptoms and no longer see it as a "bad thing" but I do suffer OCD related panic attacks more frequently.