05 Feb It’s Not The End Of The World!
Except I actually believed it was. I was going slightly mad and I didn’t know how I was going to get through it.
Becoming a parent made me crazy.
I was crouched in a cubicle at my workplace with my hands over my ears and my eyes closed. It felt like my heart had stopped and my breathing was shallow…..
I had always been an anxious person, one of life’s worriers. From becoming aware of my mortality at a young age and fearing death ever since to having a long standing separation anxiety after my Mum going into hospital for a procedure when I was at high school.
It was 2012. Niamh was 2 and I had been working as a Resource Manager for an Apprenticeship Training company. It was a tough gig.
I hated managing a team. I was far too much of a people pleaser and struggled to control my team, overshadowed by bigger personalities. This is all relevant as I think that the daily pressure contributed to my breakdown.
I started to notice articles appearing in the Daily Mail about the Mayan Calendar which ended on 21st December and how it was interpreted to mean the end of the world.
I started to feel uneasy at the mention of this and with each new article I saw I would feel sick. I’d read and read it again. Over and over. Then read the comments to see how many people thought this feasible.
The emotion I attached to this intensified and I struggled to function. In my mind my baby wouldn’t see her third birthday. My whole life went on hold.
My days were now spent in work scouring the internet for more information. I’d be temporarily appeased if I read that this was ludicrous only to be sent back to square one by reading something else.
I eventually told my family. Of course they tried their best to reassure me but I just felt that they were naive and uneducated and completely unaware of what terrible date was about to befall them.
I was sat in work one day, pouring over articles (you will notice this is a theme with me in most blogs) when an email from my husband popped up. It was a statement from NASA to say that there is no evidence to suggest that this will happen on this date. I didn’t believe them. I felt it was a cover up.
2 weeks later I walked out of my job. I’ve never done that before or since. I just walked.
I went straight to the GP where I was prescribed some anti anxiety medication and referred to a CBT specialist.
Stephen was brilliant. He listened without prejudice and helped me to understand that this phobia was borne out of new parent fear. He spent weeks explaining to me that there is nothing I can do to influence such a huge event and that life must carry on.
I got a new job where I met Lynn. A lovely mature lady (in years not behaviour) who became a firm friend. I opened up to her about my phobia eventually and she reacted to it with sympathy and patience and although she didn’t understand, she tried to.
It was Lynn that came into the loo on that morning, the 21st December 2012, on a morning when I had kissed my daughter goodbye for what I thought was the last time and put her arms around me in a way that said…..it’s over.
I had my life back.
I can laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of this now but at the time it felt very real and terrifying. Pressure can do funny things to a person.
I know that my situation made me obsess as I have read similar articles recently about the doomsday clock and it just doesn’t affect me the same way.
I’d highly recommend CBT as an alternative to medication as it helps you to retrain your thinking.
Understanding your own reactions to situations is a valuable tool.
Or maybe it did happen and this is all one big dream. Stop it Jodie.