What do I mean by the title of this blog?
Over the last week I have been reminded of the times when I felt the most vulnerable and I want to create some awareness around this.
Between the hours of 10pm and 8am were my vulnerable periods. I knew help was not so easily accessed. Hospitals were open but turning up to hospital because I was worried or needed someone to tell me I would be ok seemed a little crazy. Surely I hadn't got that bad?
As the afternoon turned into evening my commentary began....
That's the doctors closing.
That's the pharmacy shut.
Next came support groups and the availability of professionals on social media. They would be offline and settling down for the evening all happy in their homes as my anxiety began to build.
Finally everything and everyone would be in bed and this was when it wasn't a good time to feel bad. Those who love you will say 'call me whenever, night or day' but you know they need their sleep to function. You might call once or twice but 'what if' you sense they are frustrated with you and then that adds to whatever crap is galloping through your brain. There is only so much support people can give before you start to break them too???
Inside your head a pep talk would follow that all would be well. Get a few chores done then have down time and then off to bed.
Bed whether empty or with your beloved in it can still seem daunting.
I'm OK aren't I? Yes. Tonight I will sleep like a baby and tomorrow will be better.
You read for a while and when you feel your eyes tiring you snuggle down ready to catch some much needed Zs.
Suddenly you are wide awake.
Why the feck am I awake?
What if ...what if......what if......is like a mantra jumping up and down in your mind. You stay huddled under the duvet pretending not to listen but the thoughts are persistent....Wake up you need to worry! Wake up, be afraid! Wake up ya bloody muppet, you're going crazy ha ha ha!
Shit, shit shit! Who can help me?
The next possibility is the Samaritans but surely your needs are't that bad?
So there you are anxious and afraid. Questions start to riot in your head.......What if I can't do this? What if I have a panic attack? What if I let my loved ones down? What if I can't work and support myself? What if I am making a fool of myself? What if I am a disgrace? What if I am ignored? What if the doctors have missed something? and so it goes on with nothing to stop it.
Quietly you get out of bed hoping not to disturb anyone and feeling guilty for being such a mess.
You make a hot drink and turn on the telly but that doesn't help. You try reading a book but can't concentrate. You decide to do some ironing but can't stay still. You're too hot, too cold. You go back to bed still agitated and frightened.
You put on an audio book but are still wide awake when the timer turns it off after 30 mins. You set another 30 minutes and again you are wide awake.
Now you notice the time and begin to worry about if you'll have enough sleep. Once again the fear dialogue robs you of the rest you need.
Many nights of catastrophising ended with me falling asleep in the small hours and waking 2 hours before my alarm at 7am. A change in medication would help me get to sleep but if I woke up at 2 or 3am in someways it felt worse.
These were my vulnerable times.
Thankfully there are now many charity helplines as well as the Samaritans although I cant help feeling that maybe this would be better as a part of the NHS but that's another blog.
If you are struggling be aware of your vulnerable times and work with professionals and family and friends to find a way to navigate them safely.