Progress

I have been fairly quiet lately on my blog so I thought it was time for a long-overdue update. I’ve been super busy with starting up my YouTube channel, trying to learn new coping mechanisms and pushing myself to get better.

For those of you that frequently read my blog, you will know that the last month has been particularly difficult for me. I’ve had agoraphobia for over a year now, but this last month has left me virtually housebound; doing anything or going anywhere has been pretty much impossible.

This has also left me incredibly emotional. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this sad all of the time. The smallest thing can happen or be said and I burst into tears. It’s like I’m walking around (clearly not far!) with frustration, anger and sadness in me at all times, waiting to burst out.

I wake up feeling dread every morning and I cry myself to sleep every night. I snap, I get mad and I cry; all day every day, just wondering around my small first floor flat.

So on Saturday, I lay there in my bed crying at four in the afternoon. I lay there feeling as I always do right now – disappointed and annoyed that my life has come to this. It had just occurred to me that my upcoming trip to my hometown next month to see my friends and family was in jeopardy. If I can’t make it to the end of the street how can I survive a four-hour car journey home?

And then, something just snapped. Or clicked. Or a combination of both. I quickly downloaded a meditation app on my phone, put in my headphones, and went out; in the middle of a thunder-storm.

I felt nervous and there were points where I felt beyond uncomfortable, but not once in the forty minutes I walked did I have a panic attack. Not once did it all become too much that I had to go home.

Instead, for the first time in around a month, I walked without feeling like I was going to pass out, without feeling like I couldn’t breathe or my heart was going to burst through my chest. I just walked, like a normal person.

And again today I did the same thing. The only time I nervously rushed was in Sainsburys, and by doing that it just made me drop my purse and all my coins across the shop floor making me stay in there even longer. But ultimately I was fine.

These things may not seem like massive deals to most people. Walking down the street isn’t an achievement to the majority of us. And I still have a LONG way to go, but regardless of all that, I feel like I’m turning a corner, so that’s something to be proud of.

I feel a little bit of hope for the first time in ages. I feel like maybe getting over this is possible after all. As for the sadness, that’s still there. My brain’s just had enough I guess. But I do also think that’s what’s driving and pushing me forward, and I do have a little help from some extra serotonin around my neck to cheer me up.

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84 thoughts on “Progress

  1. Leslie says:

    YAY LAUREN!!!! This is wonderful news and it made my heart happy to read it. I hope that you are giving yourself plenty of pats on the back as you absolutely have earned them. Watching your efforts a couple weeks ago and now reading this…I’m so happy for you. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. StartsWithMe_ says:

    Good work Lauren! Keep doing your best to improve your coping skills and supports. The fact that you downloaded the app and actually used it is a great step. Slowly but surely we can change our behaviours and conditioned patterns. It’s awesome and inspiring to read about this moment for you. Good stuff 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Everyday Voices says:

    Good for you! It’s all about baby steps. And I am a huge fan of meditation, I recently discovered it this year and it’s helped me tremendously, even if I am just having a stressful moment, I nip away to do a 5 minute breathing exercise. You WILL make it home to visit your friends and family. Just keep thinking that and working towards that, bit by bit everyday and before you know it, it will happen. Much love to you x. And I love your mom (or mum) 🙂 Her blog is amazing too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Josh Wrenn says:

    Have you tried the 54321 thing before? I just learned it and have been practicing it for just a few days and already I can’t believe how well it is helping. Doesn’t fix everything, but seems to help me a bit. Congrats on getting through each day. Glad things clicked.

    Like

      • Josh Wrenn says:

        It is called Grounding. Basically, every time your anxiety is flaring…before it is a full-on panic attack, but if you can get yourself to do it during then all the better…you look around wherever you are and say (I do it outloud, but you can say it to yourself depending on the situation), for 5 things you see. Then say 5 things you see without judgement. So like, I see beige carpet. I see trees out of the window. I see a car, (not a good car or bad car, just a car), etc… Next you touch 4 things. I feel the sofa below me. I feel the keys of the keyboard, etc… Next you hear 3 things. I hear my refrigerator running, I hear the click-clack of the keys, etc… Next you try to smell two things. (This is my hardest, because I am so congested.) So I smell my own stuffy nose. I smell my fabric softener. Next you taste one thing. I taste the water I just sipped.
        It really seems to help me either stave off panic attacks completely, or at least shorten the duration. Forces me into the present. It is portable, and I try to do it every day, or anytime I’m really anxious or getting ready to flashback. Hope that helps.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. shaunk84 says:

    Congrats on your progress, both with the being able to get out and feel better, and with the new YouTube channel! That’s awesome!

    Like

  6. Chloe says:

    Wow, I kind of trip out because I feel like this could be me writing (in a non creepy way). I went out for a walk today for the first time in a long time. The way you describe how you’ve been feeling parallels what I’ve felt in such a big way. I’m sorry you’re going through it, but I’m also so grateful to you for sharing, because it really helps to feel like you’re not alone, and like you’re not the only one in the world who sees walking down the street as a huge fear of strength and a big accomplishment. I’m proud of you. Keep going. You are amazing.

    Like

  7. Rachel Vos says:

    Lauren, you’re truly amazing! Glad to hear about the improvements!! I’m sorry to hear that your phobia has taken out a lot of joy in your life, but even in our afflictions and fears, Jesus is ever standing on top of the calm waters, holding his hand out to us—Just like he did to Peter. We just have to remember in our fears to ask the same question Peter asked on the boat, I quote from Matthew 14:28-31,
    “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
    (29) “Come” [Jesus] said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
    (30) But when [Peter] saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
    (31) Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?”
    Just like Peter on the water, Jesus will always be there to encourage us to follow him. We step over our fears and go to Him and when the journey gets shaky, Jesus will immediately reach out and catch us when he sees us in our fear.
    Wherever you walk, Lauren, Jesus walks too. You are loved and He is watching your progress and is smiling along with each one of us as you recover your joy from the fear that has crippled you. Keep holding onto Him. I believe in you. So do many others!
    Much Love!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jennymarie4 says:

    I was so happy to read this, Lauren! What you did/are doing is a big deal! It’s great progress. I’m glad you posted, I actually was wondering how you’re doing 🙂 I love the necklace! Perfect. Hope you have another nice walk tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Salvageable says:

    Your success is great encouragement for the rest of us. Thank you for hanging in there and for sharing your good news. I’m hoping that the freedom to be you and to go where you want to go will continue to grow. J.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. La Sabrosona says:

    Excellent news! I could feel your determination and strength as you were describing downloading the app and heading out in a thunderstorm. Very brave!
    Btw I have a hypothesis (albeit imperfect) and this is the first time I’ve done this but I was inspired by some articles I read and created a memory test. Only 4 people have participated so far and if you have time and/or the desire please stop by and take the test.

    https://myspanglishfamilia.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/attention-all-readers-fun-test-join-in/

    Like

  11. azileea says:

    Love the serotonin necklace! Saw it on your channel. 🙂
    Also great to read about your progress! I remember the time when it was hard for me to take the trash outside. I have gotten way better since but there’s still work to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Nancy J says:

    I’m so happy for you Lauren. I used to suffer from extreme panic attacks due to years of trauma and locked myself away too. Such a difficult way to live. You are a beautiful girl with an amazing heart. I could sense this as I watched your Youtube video.

    The most important thing you can do is be patient with yourself. Also, knowing you are not alone doesn’t alleviate your suffering, but it helps for you to know that many understand and identify with you.

    Your candidness is not only inspirational, but you are helping so many others. Bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. lifeofmiblog says:

    Good to hear Lauren.
    Don’t get disheartened by the down periods, they are just another day in the life of you, they are not necessarily regression. Always look forward to the next day being better 🌻
    I’m full of wisdom when feeling like death warmed up!
    Take care and keep smiling

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Lucy says:

    I’ve only recently come across your blog; it’s great, and you’re doing really well by the sound of it. These sort of steps sound small to people who don’t understand such big issues, but they’re huge steps..keep going! 🙂

    Like

  15. Life With Anxiety ♥ says:

    You are such a beautiful inspiration to many people in this world. Don’t be ashamed to have bad days, they are what makes the good days more memorable ❤ I hope one day i can find the courage to take that step from my front door alone but i know in time i will! xx

    Like

  16. Lulu says:

    Way to go!!! I hope you realize how strong and brave you are for facing down your fears and “acting opposite to your emotions!” Your courage is inspiring! Some days, it feels like I am afraid of everything, but I think I’m really just afraid of the “what ifs.” It’s hard to accept that I just have to live with all those “what ifs” and do the things that scare me anyway. It’s good to know I’m not alone. Thank you for blogging!

    Like

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