One of the things that bothers me about panic, agoraphobia and similar anxieties is that they are never far away. Even if you recover to a stage where you’re generally relaxed, feeling comfortable out and about, and you have been okay for a long while, you know it won’t take much to bring the bad feelings back. You are constantly alert, avoiding situations that might bring on a panic attack.
Well, today I had the worst attack for a long time, and still feel ‘off’. I was out with my mother and sister for coffee and shopping. The coffee shop was crowded and noisy, but that was OK. I found myself describing last night’s dream… in a crowded gathering, Boris Johnson approached and said “I noticed you and your mother both like word games!”
After coffee, I felt vaguely ‘unsafe’ as we walked in the streets. Perhaps the people round us were walking too fast? I wasn’t sure what was wrong.
We went into a brightly-lit Boots, and the feeling of unease increased. They had a ‘3 for 2’ offer on vitamins, so I picked up magnesium, Vitamin D and cod liver oil capsules. I recently watched a video saying calcium supplements are not only unnecessary, they’re potentially harmful, so I was irritated that the magnesium in Boots was mixed with calcium. I would have been stuck if my mother hadn’t found a small pot of plain magnesium. If there’s any calcium in it, it’s not in the label; it just says ‘contains sodium’. It was quite a bit cheaper than the other two supplements, so that’s what I got free… sigh.
Stop Taking that Calcium Supplement! (YouTube video)
But I digress…
Having chosen my supplements from the massive range in Boots, I was dismayed to find a long queue at the cashpoint. Other experienced anxiety sufferers will know why this is a problem. They used to have tills dotted all round the shop, but now the individual till points have been amalgamated into a single group of tills. You have to stand in one long queue, and by the time you reach the head of it, there’s a long queue of people standing behind you… which is worse than having a long queue of people in front, because they’re probably all staring restlessly at you and wishing you’d get a move on.
While waiting, I couldn’t even stand neatly in the queue… I stood to one side of it, which was kind of awkward. Why did I do that? It makes me stick out like a sore thumb, but I felt joining the line properly would somehow trap me. I considered putting the supplements back and getting them another time, but suspected I’d just find long queues again when I came back.
I won’t put up with panic any more. I want to do what I’m there to do, and get on with it even if I become visibly upset. That way perhaps I will learn to push through things, and the anxiety will finally go away and leave me alone. At any rate, that’s the idea!
I was shaking when getting my change and putting my shopping away, but I survived… and I don’t think the girl behind the till even noticed, as I was just scooping things up rapidly and bobbing down to my shopping trolley. Later I asked Mum if she realized I was panicking in Boots, and she looked surprised and said ‘no’!
I calmed down when we were walking around town and into other shops like H&M, but I still wasn’t happy. I think town was more crowded than usual and I instinctively sensed the change.
A day or two ago I was talking to Mum about calcium while in the middle of watching the video on the subject. She got hissy and annoyed, and I laughed out loud when Dr Berry said, “your mom is probably still taking it. Women have the habit of getting into the habit of things.” Yes, she is. She’ll probably keep taking calcium because she believes in it, but I’m happy with Vitamin D. I wasn’t taking calcium in the first place, or any supplements at all, but it’s true there isn’t an awful lot of sunshine around here. So Vitamin D it is!
On the subject of anxiety, I’ve been thinking about whether or not it’s affected by diet. If it is, how does the right diet stand between you and anxiety regardless of the personal stresses you undergo? Perhaps the wrong diet weakens you and you are less able to stand up to ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’? Perhaps the wrong diet puts you more on edge so that even small things stretch your nerves? If there’s a correlation, I’ve no idea what it is, but the following two videos made me wonder:
I’ve been feeling pretty blue over the past while, along with an unfortunate tendency to eat things like Maltesers, swede & carrot mash, fruit and chocolate biscuits… Maybe if I cut those things out, the anxiety would disappear! Dare I put these chocolate biscuits in the bin? I hate wasting things, but should I…?