Going out for a meal: surprisingly traumatic

The first part of this post was written last night, while I was still anxious; the last part was written this morning.

Another example of the fun I have with mental (and, this time, physical) health.

I went out for a lovely meal this evening. I stupidly had dessert as well (though no starter). I’ve spent the last hour feeling strongly nauseous and with an upset stomach. Continue reading

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Signal failure: on train delays and panic attacks

Some of this post might be a little graphic about physical illness. You probably don’t want to be eating whilst you read this.

So, last night, all the signals failed between Waterloo and Clapham, meaning trains were completely fucked; a friend of ours over the road spent an hour to travel the eight-minute journey between the two.

For over 20 years now, I have suffered from panic disorder. If you’ve never experienced a panic attack, you probably can’t understand the crippling nature of them. Continue reading

Owen’s grand journey (part the first)

Just before I left the office (late) on Friday evening, Andy (my boss) suggested it’d be good for me to travel some over the week off. I was planning to travel some anyways, cos doing things I find difficult whilst on the meds is pretty important (as Nix () mentioned privately yesterday as well).

But Andy’s suggestion seemed kinda fun: go to (say) six disparate points on London’s public transport network and Flickr phonecam pics of the station roundels to show I’ve actually been there.

I quite liked the idea so (as the lad who was meant to be visiting wasn’t too well) today I did some traveling.

First, I went from Ilford to Stratford by one, Stratford to Canary Wharf by Jubilee line, Heron Quays to Island Gardens by DLR. Then I walked through the foot-tunnel to Maritime Greenwich and wandered round there for a bit. Took the overground to London Bridge, then back out to East Croydon, whence I took a tram to Wimbledon, where I did a little shopping and bought some lunch before taking the District line to West Brompton.

Wandered round Brompton cemetary for a while, cos I’ve never been there before and lots of the graves are really cool. Got a bit distracted by a little near-sacrilege (I’ve been to saunas that have been much less busy!) and bumped into a really hot French boy as I was leaving, who I so should have taken somewhere discreet, rather than helping him pic blackberries and then leaving without even giving him my number.

Anyways, took the Silverlink to Willesden Junction (cos it was just there and I’d just missed a District line train to Earl’s Court) and Bakerloo‘d (eventually — do they never run trains on that damn line?!) to Trafalgar Square, thence to Retro.

Had a coupla drinks with Jen (), Rob (), Martin, Ryan (still überphwoarsome), Gareth (), Ste (Jen’s other husband) and Jo (Jen’s sister). Then wandered up to Leicester Square station to take the Pic with Rob and Jen, changed at Holborn for the Central line to Liverpool St and overgrounded home. Via tsips ;o)

Very impressed with myself. Now to see if I can (a) get out of bed and actually move tomorrow after all this bloody exercise and (b) meet up with Jen and people to go shopping in Wood Green the morrow.

Anyways, Sex and the City just finished, so I’m off to bed.

I’ll be editing I’ve edited this post (not least to link to the phonecam pics once they’re on Flickr) in the morning. Ciao for now!

Flickr sets:

Quick update

New meds are much better when I take them in the evening with food. Took them a little late last night, and haven’t had as much sleep as I’d like (had a bit of a drama last night that I sha’n’t go into in public), so I’m a bit shaky this morning, both physically and emotionally, but so far so good.

No idea what the fuck I can wear today that’ll be cool enough for the heat, but good enough to deal with thunderstorms later. Can’t wear canvas shoes if they might get wet, after all.

Work is being so-so. A rant to my boss on Wednesday (about one of my colleagues who hadn’t done what I thought he’d said he had) turned into him railing about my punctuality, which pissed me off muchly, as he knows that it’s not as simple as me getting up too late (and public transport in this city collapses completely when it gets too warm!) and making reasonable adjustments for my disabilities is something my employers are mandated to do under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Though, for me, the key issue is that my hours are broadly predictable, I let people know when I’m running late (with an ETA) and I always work more than my 37,5 hours a week!

Also, I’ve been booked, for the last two days, to scope, design and build a content-managed extranet for one of our larger clients, though I spent all of Wednesday on the client–server app thing and all of yesterday on NS&I, having swapped today’s and yesterday’s time around in the schedule.

Anyways, must dash, otherwise I’ll be late again, which would be bad.

Bloody drugs

So, after BUPA said no, I went to see my GP yesterday. He’s insistent I should see the counseling service I saw a few years ago, even if only to get them to refer me to psychotherapy. I’m not quite sure I understood why, but I got the impression that he doesn’t really like the PCT‘s mental health partnership are all that good at “things that aren’t depression”.

He’s put me on some SSRIs, which should help with the panic attacks, apparently. But a side effect is that they might make things worse for the first week or two.

So I got on a train at Ilford today, feeling a bit jittery anyways, as I’m wearing summer clothes which, for some reason, always make me feel less comfortable. And the trains are screwed, as ever, which really doesn’t help. So we move 100 yards or so and it just stops. Now I was already counting my breathing, so I’m sat there, unable to get off until it reaches Stratford, with no idea when that would be, with cold sweat dripping off me. I have no idea how I made it to Stratford; curiously, I got the first Central line train to Gant’s Hill and headed home.

Work went relatively well, and Rob () was really helpful telling me some stuff he knows about SSRIs, so I should be able to make it into work for the rest of the week. Apparently, if I take them with food, they’ll make me feel less nauseous and taking them in the evening should mean I don’t spend half the day still shaking and anxious.

Here’s hoping tomorrow goes better and that these side-effects fuck off shortly…

Regaining my sanity, Part the first

Well, I had a productive meeting with my line manager and our HR manager yesterday. Scott came round on Thursday evening and, after cooked for us and we watched a couple of episodes from the new Angel DVDs, we talked about what I need to do to move on from here. He helped me get to work in the morning, making me talk about how I was feeling, which helped abstract me from the fear, each time I was panickey.

Once I was in the office, I had a meeting, as I’ve mentioned. Scott and I had worked out the things I need to do over the next few days, weeks and months:

  • I need to talk with my doctor, about all three problems (head, stomach and immune system) and get referred to specialists who can help (work’s BUPA scheme will pay to expedite that), people such as a dietician and a cognitive behavioral therapist;
  • I need to get myself back into counseling and get my head shrunk properly again. There’s loads of excellent stuff to read on MIND’s website and panic-attacks.co.uk looks like a rather amateurish site, but contains very good content, so I need to read all that too;
  • I need to see the hypnotherapist up the road — today was my first appointment and left me feeling on top of the world, just as it did with SJ;
  • I need to cut down on the amount of not-work I do. I’m already shunting most of my FaxYourMP.com / WriteToThem.com work to other people; I need to ensure I delegate most of my NO2ID work away, as well, to reduce the amount of stress;
  • I need to spend more time practicing the things I find difficult — traveling, unfamiliar places and difficult situations;
  • I need to detox some: no fags (not doing so well there), no dope, no booze, cut down on self-medicating with Imodium, concentrate on eating sensibly (and on keeping my food diary), concentrate on sleeping properly and so on.

We didn’t really discuss the stuff from work that’s stressing me out, which I’m not really gonna go into in detail here, but I also undertook to get into the office earlier, so that I can let them know sooner, if getting in is a problem. And I’ve to aim to see the doctor by Thursday (so I’m gonna be spending a lot of Monday on the phone, trying to get through to them; guess I’ll be writing to them again).

Anyways, all my friends are being really supportive, which is good. Generally just trying to chill out at home this weekend. Watched some more Angel earlier; watching Hero at the moment, which makes beautiful use of color; I’ve really enjoyed it