It's been three long weeks but I think I've finally turned a corner with my back. I've had a couple of sessions of acupuncture and can drive, sit and stand a little more. Still not able to walk very far without having to crouch down to ease the pain running down my leg into my ankle.
I've officially finished one job and now waiting to start my new one. It was a shame I couldn't say a proper goodbye to my clients but I've written off these last few weeks. A part of me is really stressing but the other part is like it can't be helped.
I did get to let off some steam with my sister when we went to see Joanne McNally's show at the weekend called The Prosecco Express, and her warm up act Kelly Convey was also hilarious. So much that Joanne talks about rings true with us growing up and where we're at now in our lives and the comedy is on point. I really needed this. We didn't stop laughing for the whole show.
I always thought I would know if I'd slipped a disc in my back and I knew it was something I never wanted to happen to me. Well, it turns out, it can happen without even being aware. I went to bed one night feeling fine and I woke up the next morning in horrendous pain - and I can't tell you any more than that!
So that's what the doctors think now and I'm paying privately for chiro and massage and signed off for another two weeks. I don't know how people cope when they can't afford private treatment. I can only imagine they suck up the pain and carry on going to work thus further injuring themselves.
4-6 weeks recovery - I have been depressed about this - and the rigmarole of getting enough painkillers. I drive to and from the surgery and the pain is so intense and I'm hyperventilating and I basically almost pass out every time I have to make a trip. First that horrible bout of anxiety and now this. It's a relentless last few months of my 30s.
Mum and I also had to make a decision to cancel Dubrovnik next week. We had a cracking itinerary planned including day trips to Montenegro and Bosnia Herzegovina. We're really gutted but I wouldn't have been able to do anything.
Instead I'm trying to refocus and use this sick leave to fully relax and heal my back. I don't think I've watched this much tele in all my life!
So I've been signed off for a week (for starters) with what the doctor thinks is sciatica and I've spent the week trying not to feel that horrible nerve pain shooting down my leg and trying not to cry and trying not to feel well and truly helpless. I'm only allowed restricted amounts of painkillers because of my history, which exasperates me when I'm trying to manage my pain. I've just been on the sofa watching a lot of tele and now my mum is staying with me for a couple of weeks. I can't stand, walk, sit or drive. I would even go so far as to say this pain is worse than any mental distress I've ever had to cope with. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
I have been marginally distracted from the pain with my new car arriving after six months in the making, and getting all of the paperwork sorted out - and signing my contract for my new job which I start on 17th October.
The Queen's passing has floored me - and I don't know why because I always knew she was just hanging on for her Platinum Jubilee celebrations and that she wouldn't be making another Christmas Day speech. I also can't believe that Charles is finally King.
I may very well have got swept up in the queuing to view her lying in state, if it hadn't been for getting out of bed on Friday excited to have four whole days off in a row and then, recoiling in agony with a pinched nerve in my leg. I did manage to get up to London that evening with my mum and sister to see Gary Barlow's A Different Stage, but the pain was horrendous as I hobbled around.
I've spent the rest of my lovely days off alternating between lying on my bed, lying on the sofa or on my hands and knees. I did of course watch the Queen's funeral yesterday, but I've spent most of today in bed trying to get comfortable and trying to catch up on sleep. I hope to find out more about what I've done this coming week and get some treatment.
Despite all of this, Gary's show was brilliant and we even managed a glimpse of him as he left the theatre!
So... after a month or so of feeling overwhelmed, anxious and fearful of every little thing, I finally found a quiet moment this past week - amidst the noise - to sit down and ask myself "what needs to change?" And I realised my job needs to change. I didn't think I had the courage to actually go through with it because I've been consumed with the negativity that comes from anxiety. I didn't think I could drum up the motivation either. I started small. I started with my criteria - to work from home, preferably still in travel, Monday to Friday, 9-5, not customer facing - and then I began looking at jobs online and discovered that actually what I was looking for did exist! This was a revelation. Since the pandemic, it's opened up a whole new adjustment and attitude of what the "working week" could look like - and I had no idea that travel jobs were adapting too. I was really boosted by this to update my CV and to start applying, and, within the week, I was offered two jobs and I've accepted one of them!
It hasn't fixed my anxiety - I've just doubled my dose of Sertraline again to 100 mg after a review with my doctor - but it has given me some confidence back and I'm starting to remember the person I am when I'm well and firing on all cylinders.
The thing about anxiety is it sucks the joy out of everything - I thought depression was bad! I've got this constant churning in my stomach and my mind and body is on red alert, waiting for something bad to happen. This isn't me. I keep telling myself that there's no need to be anxious. Everything is going ok. I am safe. But still the dread and fear persists.
And the fight or flight mode is not good for managing fibromyalgia either. It's like a double whammy of crapness. I'm getting desperate now, something needs to change. I've requested to up my dose of Sertraline, although I'm worried it's this that's giving me the anxiety. Hamster on a wheel anyone?
I've been working really hard trying to stay in touch with my mind and body to calm the anxiety, but it is one uphill struggle at the moment. Anxiety is ruling my life! It dominates everything I do and every thought I have. Thankfully I'm still sleeping ok. That hasn't deserted me. I've been doing lots of the CALM app sleep meditations to help. I wish I could shake myself out of it. I'm even worrying about my commute and the parking and my walk to the office - and all this before I even start my day at work.
I did manage to take a hike on my weekend off, out in the country away from people. That did me some good. Thinking about something other than the churning in my stomach was a nice change. I thought challenging myself would distract me and it did. I had to focus on getting around the circuit at Old Winchester Hill without tiring too quickly (thanks to fibro). I managed it in just under an hour.
Something needs to change, I know that, whether it's my job or my medication dose. I'm waiting for my doctor to come back off holiday so I can talk to her again.
I went back to work and I'm literally taking it one day at a time. I don't let myself think too far into the future because then the panic sets in. I'm watching Billy Connolly's "Does" series and trying not to be afraid of Life. "We pass this way but once.." The anxiety has left me with this dread, which I'm relieved to report is slowly easing as the new anti depressant gets into my system.
Other than that, not a whole lot else to say this week. I braved my PIP application online in one sitting. It's something I've been thinking about for a while due to fibro and mental illness. We will see how it goes..
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.