Where do you feel happiest? Where do you feel secure?
I feel happiest at home, I feel at my most secure at home. When my vestibular migraines were at their worst and I was out and about, say at a party, wedding, supermarket etc and all I could think about was going home, how can I get back home quickly I used to say to myself! Ridiculous! I should be out enjoying myself rather then worrying about when I can get home! But when you feel anxious that you are dizzy and then dizzy because you are anxious its only natural to want to feel secure.
I know that when I am at home, no eyes are on me, I can do what I want, I can sink into a comfy chair and not have to move for a while, I can go lie down on my bed and relax. Because of this I used to be a hermit, I suppose you could call it a form of agoraphobia. Having four walls around you makes you feel more secure, you have made your home your own, you have put your stamp on it, it is YOU.
I knew that I could not hide away forever, I had to get out and about, I had to push myself to go out. Thank god for my supportive parents and husband who helped me get out and about, I remember my parents making special trips over to my house and saying – RIGHT YOU ARE COMING WITH US! They forced me to go out, even if it was just down to the coffee shop, or popping into Guildford for a quick shop. I remember refusing to go out, anxious that I might fall over or have a panic attack. I remember their support was not just a mental thing back in those days, it was physical support too, I had to hold onto my mums arm all the time I was walking as I was so unstable on my feet. Should it not be the other way around, you supporting your parents? You expect your parents to use a walking stick at some stage, not the other way around. I still have my walking stick, suppose its just a security thing, just in case, or is it a memory of what used to be? I now know how hard that must have been for them and my husband, to see their daughter in such a state, not nice to witness. I remember my girls used to be able to tell if I was not having a good day, they would appear at my side holding my walking stick, they were so young at the time!
Since my hermit days, I have got so much better, although I still have my jittery days where I want to stay at home and some days I do. I can easily slip back into my old habits and come up with lots of excuses as to why I cannot go out! What I have tried to do is make myself feel safer, and more secure when I am out and about. So in order to do this, I take a few things with me when I go out! I call it my anxiety kit! Just in case I feel anxious. In my little anxiety kit is a lavender essential oil, if I start feeling a bit anxious I give that a sniff or massage it on my temples if I feel a headache coming on! I have a herbal tea bag with me at all times, normally some Kombucha with green tea which I love and calms me. A small packet of tissues to wipe my brow in the even I might have panic attack! I also have my elastic band which I can ping to help centre me! In fact it is used to keep my kit together! Quite handy! I also have my music and my Headspace App on my phone so I always carry my little earphones just in case I need to listen to a happy song. I will also look at photos of my children which helps.
The other things you could put in an anxiety kit could be a stress ball, heat or cool pad which is great for centring you, worry stone, healing jewellery like a bracelet or ring. If you have a kit that you keep in your bag, I would love to hear what you have in it that helps you in anxious situations.
When I am at home, I listen to a lot of music, I find music very soothing, it relaxes me, especially some songs that signify a happy time in my life. Music can be very powerful in changing your mood. I have certain music for cleaning the house. Then I have my Pilates music, work music and music for when I am feeling anxious. And no I do not put on the song – I am dizzy my head is spinning!
I also find art very relaxing at home eg art therapy or just a bit of pencil shading, so I tend to take my pencils and paper out with me if I am going on long trips away as I know it relaxes me at home so it does when I am out and about. There are other activities I do at home that I find relaxing which I also do when I stay away, doing my nails, mindful Pilates, I also used to knit and crochet a lot at home, which is a brilliant relaxing activity to take out with you, I must get back into it! I also find cooking at home very therapeutic, I love coming up with new recipe ideas.
I think it is so important to try and take things out with you that make you feel at ease and more secure. If for some reason I forget my anxiety kit, I find I feel more insecure and vulnerable. It definitely helps me and I have ventured out a lot more thanks to all these relaxing activities.
I would love to hear from anyone out there that uses certain things to help them relax if they are feeling anxious, please feel free to comment below.