[To listen to an audio version of this blog please click here: http://bit.ly/2tiR2Rp]
"You'll be fine, Mummy," said my eldest. "You can do it. I believe in you."
"Take the "Kalms" and you'll float above it all," said my friend. (Kalms is a herbal remedy for stress and anxiety).
"You can stay behind if you want to," said my husband, in that voice which meant I would lose serious wife points if I chose that option.
And, "Mummy, why does Daddy want us all to go, anyway?" said my youngest. She has the anxiety thing too.
It was half term and we were all going to Madame Tussauds, in London. I was apprehensive; for although the depression is now managed very nicely by the pills, her nasty little sister Anxiety, is still very much around.
So, I did take the Kalms. I did practise mindfulness, I did do the tapping (EFT), and I did manage. I even enjoyed some of it. My youngest struggled, but the joy of seeing Zoella and Alfie on the iconic bed, quite made up for it.
It was a useful exercise however. For the first time, I could analyse just what sets off my anxiety in crowded spaces; that clammy handed, choked throat and panicked flutter in the heart; the feeling that one must get out, get away, find a quiet place in which to just - breathe.
The train is fine. Everyone is calmly sitting down. It gets bad if the train is overcrowded, of course, but I think everyone gets a bit claustrophobic when a perfect stranger is almost sitting on your lap, or checking your armpit for BO. The train station is fine; everyone is walking with a purpose. Queuing is fine; everyone is in an ordered line, moving towards a destination in an organised fashion. Where it all goes horribly wrong is where those crowds start to mill like a flock of woolly-minded sheep, especially in an enclosed space; especially with a plethora of sensations – lights, music, smells… Even though the ceiling is high and the crowds were not too bad for half term, it felt like the Black Hole of Calcutta. Without the Kalms, the mindfulness, the EFT – I think I would have taken a sharp right at Jonny Depp, walked straight past the Queen without even a curtsey, charged past all the men who were President, dodged the Incredible Hulk and got out – out into the relatively fresh air of central London; heart pounding and longing for a brown paper bag – into which I could either breathe or be sick!
People who do not have anxiety, cannot understand. They are quite happy to join the flock and baa contentedly (and that's not meant to be an insult – I envy them). They cannot understand the feeling of being sucked into a black hole of madness, where you feel as if you will implode.
But, anchoring with mindfulness, tapping on meridian points and yes, the Kalms; they all help. You too, can get through it. I believe in you!
A Moodscope member.