A Thrive Update.....
I started writing this blog in March 2017 but managed a paragraph and then have been so busy setting up my new businesses that I haven't had much time to get back to complete it. I've decided to publish it as it is so have divided it into the months I have written it.
March 2017In Sunday's YOU magazine on 26th March, Dawn O'Porter wrote an article on depression and mental health problems. She described her low point as 'sitting on the sofa eating crisps'. I'll be honest, at my lowest point (July 2016) I was sitting on the sofa playing Candy Crush! I'd have had to be close to death to take a day off sick from work, although work was almost all I could manage at that point, I just couldn't see it. I told myself I deserved the sit-down, I worked full time and I should relax. Often this was at 3pm in the afternoon. I don't doubt that relaxation is a good thing but the truth is I wasn't really relaxing, I was worrying and brooding and thinking of all the things I should probably be doing but just couldn't be bothered!
May 2017It's been nearly eight months now since I completed the Thrive Programme and I write this paragraph sat in a rooftop garden in Bergerac overlooking the Dordogne. Yesterday I took my first flight since completing Thrive and although it was short (an hour and a half) it proved to me, once again, how far I have come. My husband reserved seats on the flight, I let him with no desire to take control to make sure I was comfortable with where we sat, or to ensure I was fully prepared in my head for what may come (which I now realise is anticipatory anxiety and not at all useful!).
I can't believe how much life I was missing out on, I was most definitely surviving and not thriving! I lived and worked for the lovely holidays, telling myself that once I got through the crap I would have something fabulous to look forward to. In just a short period of time I have a life that I don't feel in need of a holiday from (although I am enjoying the break!).
July 2017Upon my return from France in May, I found out that my Aunt was in hospital. Without hesitation, I contacted her and arranged to visit. This was actually challenging the final 'safety behaviour' that I used to do as an emetophobe although I didn't think about that until afterwards. On the day of my visit, I was dropped off at the entrance, I had to walk through many corridors of the hospital and use a lift, all of which would have left me terrified, that's if I'd actually managed to step foot inside the hospital in the first place!
23rd July 2017
Today I reflect on the past year and the difference it has made to me and my life. While most of my family and close friends knew about my fear, none of them realised what I went through every day to try to live a normal life. Even I never considered that it was anything I would ever be able to change, I thought it was part of who I was and I just had to live with it.
Throughout my blogs, I have briefly mentioned the emetophobic thoughts I had but I have mainly focussed on overcoming the anxiety and how other areas of my life have changed because I just don't think in the same way anymore.
I now pick up my niece from school once a week and am excited about our time together, rather than worrying that I'm on my own with her.
I went into my niece's classroom for the afternoon to do craft with her and about 30 other five and six-year-old children without worry about germs.
I don't get a stomach tightening or become on edge if someone coughs.
My niece and nephew have stayed overnight and I wasn't worrying about what they were eating before bed, nor hardly sleeping because I thought I could hear them tossing and turning, I enjoyed my time with them before bedtime and I slept solidly.
I jumped at the chance of a day out on the bus and train as it meant both myself and my husband could enjoy the day and have a drink.
I went to a nightclub event at a golf club and while waiting for the toilet, two girls ran past and started throwing up in the shower cubicle, I stayed and waited for the toilet like everyone else.
There are so many other moments I could mention that probably seem so insignificant to anyone who isn't or hasn't been emetophobic but to me, they are huge milestones. These are just the sickness related things, there are so many other anxiety related
My final challenge5 April 2018
As much as I knew how well I was doing, my ultimate fear was myself being sick. It’s been almost nine years since this happened to me until just over a week ago! Yes, the inevitable happened, I have no idea why and I don’t really care. What I know is it happened, I didn’t panic, I didn’t stress out, I didn’t think I might die. I thought ‘I’m going to be sick’ and then I was and I can only say it was quite unpleasant! That’s it, unpleasant, for a few minutes of my life. So I can once and for all confirm that I’m over it. I no longer have emetophobia. Thrive really works.
Thanks for reading my story.