Laid in bed tonight, I was quietly congratulating myself on my latest victory. This week is my fiancé’s week of nightshift at work. Usually it’s a hard week for me. My anxiety comes alive at night and being home alone is a massive thing for me. My health anxiety and emetophobia kick in and I start to worry that I will be ill while I’m home alone.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I think night time is anxiety’s favourite play time. The world seems a little bigger, communication more difficult. For a world where we can communicate at the swipe of a touch screen; night time makes that seem small and feeble. You don’t want to be that person who’s waking a friend at 3am to convince you that you’re safe tucked up in bed. Not only do you feel embarrassed that you can’t cope, you feel like a burden to those you love. And that’s a terrible feeling.
This week was a massive source of anxiety for me. Due to our holiday and Christmas, it’s been a couple of months since Glenn worked nights and I was alone. And it’s been even longer since I’ve done a full week and not caved by staying out. So this week I decided something had to give. I was determined to do it alone. I was determined to spend every night in my own bed and actually sleep instead of laying awake distracting myself with Netflix and games on my phone.
I wasn’t particularly hopeful. Even my own overnight shifts are hard for me. Granted, as a support worker I do sleepovers and am actually expected to get a full 8 hours; anxiety is not friends with an alien bedroom. Maybe if I was awake all night and actually working a 12 hour night instead of a 24 hour sleepover I’d cope better. Maybe I wouldn’t (I’ll find out in a couple of weeks). But so far, I’m kicking the shit out of this week! I’m on night 3 with zero panic attacks. I don’t want to say zero anxiety because I’ve felt it creeping up a few times. And the last 2 nights I’ve used my medication to help me relax.
It’s a wonderful feeling to not be scared of being on my own home. After all, this is my safe place. My place where I can be myself and do what I want to do without judgement. I’m going med free tonight so if I need a little longer with Netflix, guess what, that’s okay. If I need to get up and get my meds in an hour, that’s okay to.
Living with anxiety is a marathon not a sprint. It’s trial and error. It’s sleepless nights. It’s overindulgence and comfort eating. And it’s my life. This can either make me or break me…and I know which option I’m choosing!
Over and out!