Don’t you hate when you can’t really tell if you’re feeling better? And is that in itself something to be worried about?
So I have been feeling better in my mental health recently. I think. I still have minor dips occasionally, but I feel like I’m operating at a much higher, stronger level than I have been in the past year. Most importantly I know my interests (such as going to the gym) have started to return to ‘normal’ levels where I look forward to going out. So, to celebrate my feeling better I treated myself to a weekend in Rome where I got to visit with some family and just had a blast! Landing in the sunny, warm Fiumicino airport and being in a different locale really made me perk up a lot. Plus, seeing my family was a massive bonus since I haven’t seen this particular uncle and set of cousins for about a year.
It was a nice break from seeing patients. I walked the beautiful streets of Rome and smelled the smells of the bakeries and the cafes. I spent an hour and a half just watching life go by at one cafe in a busy piazza. The ambiance was amazing – it was loud and quiet all at the same time. About 20 different conversations were taking place all around me – some in English, others in Italian – but at the same time it was as if I was completely shut out and allowed to stay in my own ‘space’ where I could just enjoy being. I really enjoyed that.
I had a chance to spend some one on one time with my cousin, Luke. He’s a young man – 23 – and just finished studying at the Sorbonne in Paris. For the past 3 years he’s been having issues with anxiety (no depression though). His experience with anxiety made me recall my own – the random onset of panic and fear of impending doom that debilitated me in situations ranging from watching a movie at the cinema to being in a lecture uni. I’ve not had a panic attack now for 2 years and I can honestly say that I feel so fortunate to have overcome that demon.
But hearing him go through it also made me reach out to him and tell him my story. I told him that I used to experience something similar to what he was describing. I think the chat helped him a lot. He knows I can identify with it. I suggested he see his doctor and get help with it. He told me he would and will keep me posted.
I also spent some quality time with my uncle. He’s a nice man – in his late 60’s now and he loves to go out. So we went to some of the nicest restaurants and just had an absolute blast. He is at a stage in his life where he has the means with which to enjoy himself and loves it. He’s gone through his own fair share of life – divorce, career changes etc – but now he’s dating someone seriously and getting out loads.
Despite being a bit tired from my short break, I feel recharged. Today is a new day and it’s gonna be awesome!
Comment by Rees posted on Sun, 07/02/2010 16:17
To answer your question at the top of your post, I do find it very hard to tell if I’m getting better or worse emotionally, or even to know/understand how I’m feeling at all. I find it much easier to observe my behaviour and draw conclusions from that than to try and be introspective and evaluate my feelings, which is pretty much subjective anyway. For example, yesterday I was in London and I was frustrated with the number of people bumping into me as well as the horrible feeling of pollution in my throat that I always seem to get in London. However, I didn’t realise how bothered I was until I realised I was pacing around and sweating a lot. Another tell-tale sign I get is shaking my leg when I’m nervous or uncomfortable. I don’t necessarily realise I’m feeling these things but these signifiers are a dead give-away, and allow me to stop and evaluate the situation I am in.
Obviously your lack of panic attacks is a good sign – maybe other changes in behaviour can shed some light on your situation?