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That time I called Beyond Blue in peak hour traffic

Anxiety mental health mental illness mum life

If you’ve been around here for a while you’d know I’m an anxious bitch. I don’t mention it in my Instagram bio (maybe that’s covered by the ‘one-woman shit show’ bit actually) but I was an anxious bitch long before I became a sad & tired parent also.

Some of you may also not know that I donate part of my sales to mental health support services. I usually do this at the end of every second month after tallying you my sales. And then I alternate the donation each time between two different organisations. One of the organisations I donate to is Beyond Blue and the reason I picked them is because I’ve used their services myself in the past.

Many years ago, my anxiety was far different from what it is now. Nowadays it’s a constant indecisive feeling of overwhelm. But back when I first started experiencing anxiety it manifested as constant panic attacks. Many times a day I would be completely incapacitated, in a ball on the couch with my fingers on my pulse or literally hiding under my desk at work wondering what the hell was happening to me.

After 3 or 4 trips to the hospital convinced I had heart problems (one time in an ambulance) one doctor at the last hospital suggested that I may be suffering from anxiety as there are some symptoms that present very similarly to heart attacks.

After finally being diagnosed and having a fucking answer for what was happened to me, I was referred onto a phycologist. I think I saw 3 before I found one I kinda liked and began learning some techniques to manage my panic attacks when they came on.

What I found worked best for me was trying to regulate my breathing, it’s my finger on my pulse so I could feel my heart start to slow. But it worked best if I had someone talking to me at the same time to distract my thoughts. Or to at least count my breaths for me.

One time I was driving to visit my parents after work on a Friday in peak hour traffic. As the three lanes of cars came around a corner I suddenly started to feel my chest tighten and my breath become shallow and my stomach turn to knots and my pulse begin to race.

I pulled over to the side of the road and tried to calm myself but I couldn’t. So I called Beyond Blue. I explained what was happening and I asked the person in the other end of the phone to just help me count my breaths. And they did. Counting my breaths and just calmly talking to distract my mind from what my body was doing until I had settled and was able to slide back into the peak hour traffic and onto my parent’s house.

Truly such a small thing but a gesture that I’ve not forgotten and a service that I am truly grateful for. So thanks to all of you for supporting my business so I can give back.

(This blog has been adapted from a recent Instagram post)

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