Struggling to attend appointments.

Jemima37

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Hi all

I've put off posting this as my anxiety is quite high about this subject and I was worried posting may make me more anxious if I get an answer that makes me worry more.

Anyway, 6 years ago my brother attacked me. I lost my mum and sisters as a result. I'd refused to let him back in my life due to the damage he caused me and my family. I have young children and he had attacked other members of family, enough was enough. Yet my mum and sisters refused to accept it and hurled abuse at me for 2 years after and I had to walk away for my sanity. Anyway it led to me suffering PTSD, anxiety and agoraphobia. It took me about 2 years to get back out living a bit, I was back attending appointments, socialising a little, trips to shops with hubby... then a few years ago I started with chronic fatigue and last year due to staying strong for so long for my children's sakes I broke. Last year I'm not ashamed to admit, I had a complete nervous breakdown. I was struggling with panic attacks all day long, bed ridden with crippling anxiety, unable to function at all and as a mum it destroyed me, u felt guilt on top of all I was already suffering. It was so hard and as a result my CFS became severe. I had a year of hell. My GP was fully in the loop via telephone and my husband went to see her twice on my behalf as I couldn't attend appointments and my anxiety was so high I couldn't have a gp to see me at home. I did seek therapy again for support and that helped a lot.

It's taken me a year to be back downstairs doing a bit of cooking, a bit of housework and I can now spend more time with my family and home life now feels more normal. Its hard for me to admit how bad things got for me last year. I just broke. I still haven't been out and about since last February and it's going to take some time. I feel I'm rebuilding myself. My hubby has told my gp I'm now making progress and shes really pleased, but since my breakdown and severe cfs my agoraphobia has become bad again. My gp said its understandable why this happened. I'd stayed strong for 5 years for my children, hiding I was attacked, pushing myself on holidays, days out etc to keep things normal for them. Then as my health deteriorated I struggled more and more and have crashed mentally and physically as I've been through so much. She just gets me and that's reassuring.

Sorry I've rambled. I'm 39, I've always attended my smear tests every 3 years without fail. I was due in August last year so I'm 8 months overdue. Hubby addressed this when he went to see her with an update a couple of months ago. He explained I was anxious I was overdue but as I've not even left my home in a year due to what happened that last year, the last thing I can do is walk into an huge clinic full of people and do a test. She completely understood and said it'll have to be put on hold for now and told me not to worry as I've had no issues before. My fear is I am putting myself at risk, worried I'm letting my kids down if I don't push myself etc.. it's on my mind often and it doesn't help when everyone on Instagram insists you go, it's mentioned alot on accounts I follow.

I know it's important to go but my agoraphobia has returned severely since this severe cfs and anxiety returned. I'm overdue my eye test and dentist. I hate what this last 12 months has done to me because I'd finally got my life back after the attack and losing my grandmother 3 months prior to that, I was grief stricken as she was more like my mum. It took 2 years to get over it all and enjoy life again. I hate I've lost it all again. I am improving with the cfs and anxiety is so much better but it isn't something I can rush, I'm a work in progress and have to go so gentle incase I crash severe again. I'm still exhausted doing chores and cant stay upright for more than 10 minutes then I need rest but that is improvement on last year. I'm raising my anxiety again worrying about this, and that's the last thing as stress leads to sensitisation and flares anxiety again. Vicious circle and the way I've made progress is by living very zen and reducing stress in my life and it's done wonders.

Can anyone relate or reassure me?

Jem
 
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andyguitar

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Having read your post @Jemima37 I can see lots to be positive about. I'd say that in the circumstances you have made a lot of progress in a fairly short time. I would'nt worry to much about not having an eye test/dental check up recently. When it comes to the smear test how about trying to arrange to have the last appointment the clinic has at the end of the day?
 

Lisa108

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I'm sorry you had to go through all of this. Is there any chance that your GP / a Gyn could do a home visit for the smear test? Same with dentist? I don't know where you live but something like this.

Maybe a self-help group could suggest docs that are a.) trained in dealing with anxiety and phobia and b.) do home visits?

If not, maybe you could get some sort of medication which would reduce your symptoms and than have your husband accompany you to an "end of the day"-appointment, like andyguitar suggested?

No idea how an eye exam would work out, though.
 

i-lava-u

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It sounds like you are doing your best each and every day, and that is all each of us can do, and that is o.k. :)

Something that helps me is making a list of the things I need to accomplish. I find that physically writing it down and crossing each item off as it is completed very rewarding. It sounds silly but it really does help.

The main reason I like lists though, is that when I have a bunch of stressful thoughts of things I need to/should do, I just think of them over and over again. By writing them down, it clears out the valuable retail space in my head for more pleasant thoughts!

Then, I look at the list and prioritize what should be done first and plan accordingly...I spread things out based on what is most realistic for me and my current health state.

So sorry you are having such a rough time :hug:
 

Jemima37

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Having read your post @Jemima37 I can see lots to be positive about. I'd say that in the circumstances you have made a lot of progress in a fairly short time. I would'nt worry to much about not having an eye test/dental check up recently. When it comes to the smear test how about trying to arrange to have the last appointment the clinic has at the end of the day?
Thank you. I am definitely making some progress even if small.

I just would find it too hard after not going out for a year to suddenly walk into something like that I think I'd panic as I'm just not ready.
 

Jemima37

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I'm sorry you had to go through all of this. Is there any chance that your GP / a Gyn could do a home visit for the smear test? Same with dentist? I don't know where you live but something like this.

Maybe a self-help group could suggest docs that are a.) trained in dealing with anxiety and phobia and b.) do home visits?

If not, maybe you could get some sort of medication which would reduce your symptoms and than have your husband accompany you to an "end of the day"-appointment, like andyguitar suggested?

No idea how an eye exam would work out, though.
Thank you for replying.

I'd just find it too hard going to a place like that and of that size after a year not leaving my home. I had a major panic attack on the table at an appointment the last time I went there so it is a huge thing for me to do even going back there.
 

Jemima37

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It sounds like you are doing your best each and every day, and that is all each of us can do, and that is o.k. :)

Something that helps me is making a list of the things I need to accomplish. I find that physically writing it down and crossing each item off as it is completed very rewarding. It sounds silly but it really does help.

The main reason I like lists though, is that when I have a bunch of stressful thoughts of things I need to/should do, I just think of them over and over again. By writing them down, it clears out the valuable retail space in my head for more pleasant thoughts!

Then, I look at the list and prioritize what should be done first and plan accordingly...I spread things out based on what is most realistic for me and my current health state.

So sorry you are having such a rough time :hug:
Thank you.

Lists definitely help, as does journaling.

Just right now it's too big a jump to go to a huge building like that after not even leaving my home for a year and I'm not sure my energy would be up to it yet either. The GP has said smears cant be done even at home so that's not an option, sadly.
 

i-lava-u

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I do like the suggestion that @andyguitar gave about starting small, maybe having a goal of doing something you enjoy out of the home first would be a good place to start? Like, taking the family to get an ice cream....

I have had panic attacks before and I do understand how scary even the anticipation of them are. Also, they are very draining.

I also have had some bad life experiences to where certain settings and people are a trigger for me. Especially unexpected loud sounds or sudden movements. I am hyper aware of my surroundings anytime I leave my home and that is very tiring as well. It does take much time and persistence to work through

Is it possible for someone to go with you to the appointment that has a safe, calming presence? Maybe they can help by noticing when you start to tense up and help you to stay grounded so as to not get a full blow attack.

Do you know what are triggers for you and can you plan your outing with that in mind? Maybe have time built into the day to take breaks before and after your appointment to recharge? Maybe part of the day could be some good before and after self care, things that help calm and comfort you...:hug:
 

Wolfcub

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Oh dear @Jemima37 You have, and still are, doing the best you can, and you can only do this at your own pace. You are the one on the inside, so to speak. You know what you can comfortably cope with.

Please try not to be afraid about the smear test. It is not a horrific danger if the test is postponed. You will do it one day, when you are ready, and you feel that time is not right this moment. That is okay. Postponing it a while will not be a grave danger to you.

Appointments are very stressful, and I can imagine someone who has all these challenges and old wounds as you have, would find them 100 times more stressful than many already do.

Go easy on yourself, and I hope that you will find some gentle healing and some peace will come to you.
Blessings and a warm hug :hug:
 

Shoshana

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It sounds like you are doing your best each and every day, and that is all each of us can do, and that is o.k.
Those are many challenges and difficulties you have had to deal with, @Jemima37
I send my caring to you.
It would be difficult for anyone, and together, all of the difficulties and griefs, they make each other one harder,

yet you have managed to cope, and you are obviously courageous, and have succeeded in many ways, to be doing as well as you are.

Congratulations on all of the small things, that are truly huge and difficult, that you have done and are doing!

I totally hear that there are many things just too difficult to do right now, and I have been through long periods of time, exactly like that. I had to start with acceptance of myself, and self-caring , and then I had to start with even smaller steps than suggested above, even though I do agree with so much of what
@andyguitar and @i-lava-u and @Wolfcub wrote.

I don't think you need to try to rush yourself more than you are able to. I understand your worry and stress about postponing those needs, but they just have to wait for now, from my own experience, and they really are okay. They don't have any exact time frame or date needed.

I suggest prioritizing on small things that you CAN do, and that are valuable, even if not going outdoors. Each one is an accomplishment that you can feel good about and proud of.

And for an outing, to try to do with your husband's help, I would start with just out the door for a few minutes, and back inside. Next time, perhaps having a goal of getting to the car, and sitting in it, and then back inside. Next time, a short ride, and back home.
Give yourself a reward each time, because you truly deserve them!

It is fine to go very slowly. You are truly an example of courage. Thank you for sharing with us. Tons of other people experience what you have, but they don't speak, and share, so you don't know you are not alone or strnge. I am glad your GP lets you know she comprehends.
 
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Jemima37

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I do like the suggestion that @andyguitar gave about starting small, maybe having a goal of doing something you enjoy out of the home first would be a good place to start? Like, taking the family to get an ice cream....

I have had panic attacks before and I do understand how scary even the anticipation of them are. Also, they are very draining.

I also have had some bad life experiences to where certain settings and people are a trigger for me. Especially unexpected loud sounds or sudden movements. I am hyper aware of my surroundings anytime I leave my home and that is very tiring as well. It does take much time and persistence to work through

Is it possible for someone to go with you to the appointment that has a safe, calming presence? Maybe they can help by noticing when you start to tense up and help you to stay grounded so as to not get a full blow attack.

Do you know what are triggers for you and can you plan your outing with that in mind? Maybe have time built into the day to take breaks before and after your appointment to recharge? Maybe part of the day could be some good before and after self care, things that help calm and comfort you...:hug:
Thank you.

I think its going to be a slow build up to appointments again as I've become very agoraphobia again this last year all even a calming person wouldn't really help. It's the social phobia too as I guess I've been very isolated this last year. Plus medical places do hold alot of fear as it was there on a bed having an appointment I had a severe panic attack in front of the nurse a few years ago, I found it so hard to go back after that and its stuck in my head so theres that too.

My cfs isn't even at a level yet I could so much outside of the home as I'm still building stamina after a tough year. I'm managing to a little around the house again, shower etc. Which is great but going out it will be slow and steady I think.

Thank you for replying. Xxx
 

Jemima37

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Those are many challenges and difficulties you have had to deal with, @Jemima37
I send my caring to you.
It would be difficult for anyone, and together, all of the difficulties and griefs, they make each other one harder,

yet you have managed to cope, and you are obviously courageous, and have succeeded in many ways, to be doing as well as you are.

Congratulations on all of the small things, that are truly huge and difficult, that you have done and are doing!

I totally hear that there are many things just too difficult to do right now, and I have been through long periods of time, exactly like that. I had to start with acceptance of myself, and self-caring , and then I had to start with even smaller steps than suggested above, even though I do agree with so much of what
@andyguitar and @i-lava-u and @Wolfcub wrote.

I don't think you need to try to rush yourself more than you are able to. I understand your worry and stress about postponing those needs, but they just have to wait for now, from my own experience, and they really are okay. They don't have any exact time frame or date needed.

I suggest prioritizing on small things that you CAN do, and that are valuable, even if not going outdoors. Each one is an accomplishment that you can feel good about and proud of.

And for an outing, to try to do with your husband's help, I would start with just out the door for a few minutes, and back inside. Next time, perhaps having a goal of getting to the car, and sitting in it, and then back inside. Next time, a short ride, and back home.
Give yourself a reward each time, because you truly deserve them!

It is fine to go very slowly. You are truly an example of courage. Thank you for sharing with us. Tons of other people experience what you have, but they don't speak, and share, so you don't know you are not alone or strnge. I am glad your GP lets you know she comprehends.
Aww, your reply has made me emotional. It truly helps when others understand and appreciate the traumas I've been through. I feel less ashamed and less stupid for my struggles I have now.

I had therapy and during it I was diagnosed with PTSD that stemmed from an abusive childhood, my brothers mentsl health issues and violence as a child and as an adult. My childhood was very hard being the eldest helping my mum bring up 3 siblings and 1 with his own issues. My dad was an abusive alcoholic. Losing my nan in 2012, 3 months before my brother attacked me was horrific and I'm still not over losing her or had time to grieve. Then 2 years of horrific abuse from my sister and mum after I wa attacked. Police involved during and after the attack, I truly lived in fear for my life and never left my home. My son then was bullied in his first year at high school to such a degree he became suicidal. This was 3 years after all I'd been through and my cfs issues were just rearing their head. I got my son better, he is now the happiest hes ever been and so confident. With my help and therapy hes like a new child but that trauma hit me hard. Then my health deteriorated rapidly months later and I've got medical trauma after all the tests and fears it put me through. Then last year I just broke, it had been creeping up on me for years trying to stay strong, pushing myself to go out, push myself to drive, holidays etc. So that my children had a good childhood. I never wanted them to suffer or miss out but then wham last year swver panic attacks, depression and crippling cfs.

It was devastating and I'm only now a year later starting to do things at home again. My husband did all the cooking, cleaning etc I was so poorly I struggled to even shower or go downstairs. Last year even feels traumatic if I look back. I've recently been going in my garden again, first time in months. I'm now able to go downstairs to put a wash on, clean my kitchen or cook a quick meal and I'm so proud of myself. My husband and children say well done everytime they see me downstairs which is so lovely. It reminds me that even hard times can bring some good as we are so much closer for getting through these hard times together. I feel less guilt that I've let them down but they are emotions I deal with too.

Thank you. It will definitely be slow progress and I feel like you understand me. My husband even said we will just one evening walk to the car and sit in it then come back in, then maybe after a few times we will drive around the block and build up. I've not driven in 2 years so I'd love to see if I can remember lol

Thank you so much, you've made me feel less stupid for who I am. My gp said 1 of those traumas would be enough for anyone but I've had them by the bucket load and in such a small space of time and then my health deteriorating just when I was back out living after what my ex family did, it's a lot of grief for all I've lost but I'm rebuilding myself now and my therapist said it will be like you've shattered into little pieces like a porcelain doll and now you have to rebuild yourself, to an even better version, a happier version and I feel I am doing just that. I feel it had to break last year to finally take time out to find myself, give myself self care after 5 years of staying strong for my children even after all I went through. I truly believe that.

Thank you again. I really appreciate it xoxo
 
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Mel9

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I can relate to your problem because my adult son has panic attacks and agaraphobia. He has been a ‘shut in’ in his house, a short distance from mine, for seven months now.

I arranged a video consultion with a psychologist
A few months ago and he handled that so well that he decided to have one every fortnight. This is helping tremendously and he is now able to drive his car short distances.

The psychologist encourages him not to overdo things but to try small steps at a time. The first was to sit in his back veranda and look at the garden. We are so very happy with these small steps.

Do you have any psychologists available for video consultations?

The good thing about these is the psychologist can be situated anywhere in the country and you don’t have to leave your bedroom.

I do feel for you: cfs is enough of a burden without the unbearable level of anxiety you are experiencing.
 

Jemima37

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Oh dear @Jemima37 You have, and still are, doing the best you can, and you can only do this at your own pace. You are the one on the inside, so to speak. You know what you can comfortably cope with.

Please try not to be afraid about the smear test. It is not a horrific danger if the test is postponed. You will do it one day, when you are ready, and you feel that time is not right this moment. That is okay. Postponing it a while will not be a grave danger to you.

Appointments are very stressful, and I can imagine someone who has all these challenges and old wounds as you have, would find them 100 times more stressful than many already do.

Go easy on yourself, and I hope that you will find some gentle healing and some peace will come to you.
Blessings and a warm hug :hug:
Thank you so much for your comforting words, they really do help. You're so kind.

Not having a mother or motherly figure its really hard not having that reassuring person to turn to like I should have so I'm glad I posted here I feel less anxious and comforted. Also less embarrassed for my difficulties. I dont feel judged, thank you. Xoxo
 

Jemima37

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I can relate to your problem because my adult son has panic attacks and agaraphobia. He has been a ‘shut in’ in his house, a short distance from mine, for seven months now.

I arranged a video consultion with a psychologist
A few months ago and he handled that so well that he decided to have one every fortnight. This is helping tremendously and he is now able to drive his car short distances.

The psychologist encourages him not to overdo things but to try small steps at a time. The first was to sit in his back veranda and look at the garden. We are so very happy with these small steps.

Do you have any psychologists available for video consultations?

The good thing about these is the psychologist can be situated anywhere in the country and you don’t have to leave your bedroom.

I do feel for you: cfs is enough of a burden without the unbearable level of anxiety you are experiencing.
I'm so sorry, but I'm glad his got some help. Bless him.

I've had therapy via video call, I have always had that option and it's great.

Exposure therapy for agoraphobia works so well, I'm sure your son will do well.

My anxiety is miles better than it was last year, it was so debilitating with panic attacks just sat at home. I'm so grateful for where I am now. I now seem to be struggling with just the agoraphobia and cfs limiting what I can do energy wise. I feel the cfs being so debilitating last year has caused the agoraphobia to return as it was so much better and I was out living again. It's such a shame ill health can effect us in so many ways.

I wish your son well.
 

Wolfcub

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It is true that when a basic illness starts to improve a little, then the other things which also cause pain will start to ease a little too.

When we are most unwell, everything hurts!

When I was at my very worst, I couldn't even drive to the village store to post a letter! I'd start off then have to come back after less than a mile because I felt easier lying here on the floor doing nothing.
That gradually passed off me, but I do understand how one thing that is bad makes everything worse.
 

Wolfcub

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I've recently been going in my garden again, first time in months.
I was just about to ask if you have a garden.
It is wonderful, that you have been out there a few times lately. The Springtime helps too, and the lovely weather we had the last couple of weeks.
Do you have flowers out there? And a garden seat?
I love to drink my coffee in the morning, outside. My legs tire easily and I ache, some days, but it is nice to sit on the wooden bench and hear the birds when my legs feel wobbly in the mornings (usually after about 30 minutes) And to be visited by a bird who befriended me over 2 years ago, to whom I always give a little treat.

A garden is a haven of reality and some peace. It is a lovely and safer part of the "outside world".
 

RebeccaRe

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I'm too tired to respond very coherently right now--I'm sorry if anything sounds garbled. I just wanted to send love, and couldn't wait until tomorrow.

Thank you for sharing with us. You are brave to share, and I'm proud that you could do it. I'm sorry you have gone through so much. You are working so hard right now.

I'm glad that you have such a nice husband and GP who understand you so well.

She completely understood and said it'll have to be put on hold for now and told me not to worry as I've had no issues before.
Listen to your doctor! Don't worry about the test. There is no need to be anxious about not getting it done right this minute. Don't push yourself far beyond your comfort zone if there is no big need. It can be a goal you can veeeeery slowly work towards. Likewise don't worry about eyes and teeth. Just keep brushing and flossing, and at some point in the future you'll be ready to go back. Mental health comes first right now.

And for an outing, to try to do with your husband's help, I would start with just out the door for a few minutes, and back inside. Next time, perhaps having a goal of getting to the car, and sitting in it, and then back inside. Next time, a short ride, and back home.
Give yourself a reward each time, because you truly deserve them!
Plus medical places do hold alot of fear as it was there on a bed having an appointment I had a severe panic attack in front of the nurse a few years ago, I found it so hard to go back after that and its stuck in my head so theres that too.
Yes, go slow. Listen to your mind and your body and don't go beyond what you feel ready for. Is there someone who can help you with exposure therapy? There are a lot of stimuli in medical places that can be triggering--the smell of gloves, the crinkle of the paper, etc. A lot of things to slowly get acclimated to before going back so they don't trigger panic. But small steps add up over time. Take small steps, and never forget to celebrate your tiniest triumphs!

My gp said 1 of those traumas would be enough for anyone but I've had them by the bucket load and in such a small space of time
Amen! You have been through a lot. But keep pushing (gently and slowly). You're a strong person. We believe in you!