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Wednesday, 17 November 2010

It's a Jungle Out There for Anxiety Sufferers.

Today was the first time I've left the house since coming out of hospital on Saturday (I probably didn't mention this, but I've had an operation). I went to see my doctor.

I probably didn't mention this either, you know how I hate to go on about myself, but I suffer from Anxiety.

Whilst the care I received in hospital was phenomenal, had I not been so smacked off my teeth on painkillers I would not have left without arming myself with a touch more information about what was meant to happen next.

I came home with the following two instructions:

1) If you do not exercise your elbow every day it will seize up
2) DO NOT use your triceps muscle until it has started healing or it may tear again.

Fine. Got that. Sounded pretty straightforward in the reassuring surroundings of a hospital.

Fast forward four days and I'm on the phone in tears to anyone who will listen, asking them if my arm is about to drop off, making an appointment to see my GP to check it out. Should I be using my arm? Shouldn't I be using my arm? Should it still be hurting? Can I get a blood clot from not moving my arm? Are the stitches infected? Is my arm supposed to have gone yellow? Is that burning pain normal? Is it right that I now can't stretch out my fingers without a searing pain in my forearm? Should I be able to move it more than this? What if I've taken too many painkillers? What if I get addicted to the painkillers? Will I go to sleep and not wake up?

Hold your horses everyone, I am not writing this to fish for anyone's sympathy. Or apathy, for that matter, because I know to most people these probably seem like ridiculous thoughts, disproportionate to my situation which is, in the grand scheme of things, minuscule.

I am, however, genuinely trying to show how frustrating it is to live with constant anxiety so that I can now seamlessly lead on to the subject of "Dr" Gillian McKeith and the column inches she has been receiving during her stint on I'm a Celebrity.

So, it turns out she is Literally. Scared. Of. Everything.
Either she is playing a clever game, planning a sudden epiphany where she conquers her fears to win the hearts of the viewing public, or she genuinely believes that such extreme exposure to her phobias will cure them. OR...  as I suspect to be the case, she is absolutely bonkers.

I'm not an expert on the subject, but I do know that exposure therapy has its place in treating anxiety disorders. However, that usually takes place with the guidance of a trained professional and on a gradual basis. 

I can only imagine that this level of exposure to her fears will cause her to become hyper-vigilant, constantly on the look out for threats, and will just become increasingly petrified of anything and everything (Natalie "Ooh I touched a tree!" Appleton, anyone?). I already know that I would completely and irrepairably melt down on that show, which is precisely the reason I will, regrettably, have to repeatedly turn down their offers when I become a best selling author a la Jessica Fletcher. So I do wonder what on earth she was thinking agreeing to go on the show. Given the media attention she is receiving, I have a feeling Gillian may have been tempted by a slightly different type of exposure therapy. Perhaps she learned about it at fake medical school...

In other news, some people got engaged this week.

Pic: TV Throng

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