It’s the next day. My plan is to see a doctor. I feel like this will help. I hope for reassurance that I am not going insane, that given high levels of stress this kind of response is “normal” (why the constant desire to conform?) and to check what else I can do to “manage” my mental health.
I avoid coffee and take two Kalms and a mug of herbal tea with breakfast. I listen to music. At 8.30 a.m. I phone the surgery. The line is busy. I expected this. It usually is. Ten minutes later it is still busy and I can feel my heart pounding. Twenty five minutes, and over one hundred calls later, I get through. They have no appointments left. I am tearful and feel hopeless.
It occurs to me that I can’t be the first person in the world to be anxious and to have powerful reactions. These responses are the body’s way of protecting me. Get out of danger! Run away! Hide! While civilisation has come a long way in the past twenty thousand years I don’t believe we have “evolved” biologically that much during that time. I am essentially, as Desmond Morris writes, a naked ape.
How would it be if I decide to manage this condition without conventional medicine. I do not believe I am in danger. I do not have thoughts of harming myself (that would mean I would seek medical intervention). How would it be if I treat myself gently, like a scared creature which needs the help of the rational self…I may add to it as the weeks progress but this is my self-care prescription:
- Get good sleep; a “night time” tea before bed, reducing screen time in the evening and a well ventilated room will help.
- Hydrate, dammit, water and herbal teas in preference to caffeine.
- Get out into nature – walk, do the gardening.
- Move your body – dance in the kitchen, get the hoover out, climb the stairs.
- Listen to music – I love Adrian Von Ziegler for music to daydream with.
- Eat well; avoid comfort eating as much as possible 😉
- Use herbal remedies (as advised on the package) – Kalms and Rescue Remedy to start with.
- Buy (and read) self-help books.
- Take a bath.
- Speak about it.
- If woo woo stuff helps do it: crystals, pendants with totems, divination, whatever helps you find a path.
- And whatever else don’t take yourself too seriously, it is uncomfortable, painful and terrifying but it is not the end of the world…
It’s a start…