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Since my burn accident and even following treatment for the PTSD there have been a few triggers for my anxiety that I have been unable to eradicate. The top of my list feeling hot.
I could be sat in a warm meeting room, share a lift in someones car with the heating on, sit in the window of a restaurant and along with my temperature rising I would feel my anxiety rising too. That tingling in the hands, tightness of my chest, lightness of my head, would leave me deploying all the mindfulness and meditate give techniques I could muster, just to try and keep a lid on it.
Most of the time no one would even know anything was wrong. I would manage to keep enough control that outwardly everything was fine. It definitely gave me an appreciation for the fact you never really know what’s going on for people on the inside. I could be sat in a meeting engaging and leading a conversation and on the inside I was crumbling, planning my exit strategies and considering all the possible outcomes.
This almost constant issue led to me actively look for ways to stay cool, I even adjusted my wardrobe and stopped wearing clothes I love for fear I would get too hot. I would try to keep my environment cool to the point of my hands and feet getting a lovely tinge of blue. Anything to avoid feeling hot.
Well this weekend was the first time since the burn that I got hot, toasty warm hot and I did not feel my anxiety rising. I sat and I enjoyed being warm!
We had been out at the zoo for the day as a family. A wonderful day together. I was so proud of my two, the youngest who normally is a little cautious about new experiences with the support of her big sister fed the deer. Their slimy tongues lapping up morsels of food from their hands.
It was the day after or during storm Arwen here in the uk and it was bitterly cold. We were all wrapped up from head too toe in scarves, hats and gloves, and still I felt chilly.
After a lovely day of being together we headed to a local Pizza Hut restaurant (a request from my eldest). We piled into a little booth and normally I would have immediately started removing my layers, stripping back the chances of feeling too warm. Especially in a restaurant I would not have wanted to take the risk of an anxiety attack in public.
This day though I was so cold to my bones I stripped back the coat and gloves then stopped. Still in place I had a short sleeved jumper, a thick fleecy jacket and a woolly hat. I waited, for the first time a long time hoping for that toasty feeling. Deciding it was worth the chance of having to manage my anxiety just to feel my toes again.
The toasty warmth crept over my body and I braced for the arrival of its companion. But it never came, I didn’t feel my stomach start to flip, my mind did not start to race, the flight or fight remained frozen. I sat there in that restaurant for a good hour with that coat on and hat on. I loved it.
I wont count my chickens yet, I am sure there will be times in my future I find the heat invading to conquer my calmness, but this little glimmer of hope set my heart alight.