|It's back. With a vengeance.|
I haven't blogged about my thanatophobia for a while because it has been at a manageable level. For me, that means only occasionally being unable to sleep, slight yet persistent anxiety and sometimes waking up screaming.
But a lot is going on in my life right now. My childhood home has sold and we are looking for a new place to buy. Dad and I have to be out of this house by September 1. I leave for England on September 2. So no pressure but it's kind of all happening at once. On top of that, I am terrified of flying. Absolutely terrified. There is a story there. There are other things. You know, those little things that add up to huge things?
Well lately I have been absolutely exhausted. Sleep is becoming more and more difficult. When I do finally sleep, it is fractured. I am waking up screaming. It is less intense, but it is more frequent. I am finding myself on the verge of a panic attack more frequently and while sitting in a well lit room. Normally this only happens when I am in the dark (such as in a cinema) or when I am trying to sleep.
It happened again tonight. There was an identifiable trigger. I was talking about Halley's Comet. I thought it came around once every 34 years, so I googled it to fact check. I was way wrong and it's actually every 74 - 75 years. It was last here in 1986 when I was not yet one. I will see it once in my lifetime - in 2061. I will be 76. If I am alive. If I am still alive, I will not be far from death. If I am not, then I will be dead. Just typing this out is making me physically ill.
My mouth feels like cotton wool and I can't swallow.
My breathing is laboured and my chest tight.
My extremities have a numb, tingly sensation.
There is a very low ringing in my ears as if I am about to faint.
My Halley's Coment episode happened in the lounge room. Dad was there too. But I didn't say anything. I stopped talking. I focused intently on my breathing and I tweeted about it. But I didn't say anything to Dad. Why not? Because I've had thanatophobia since I was 11. Dad has been listening to me scream, cry, question, lament and rant for 15 years. I have nothing new to add. I know he doesn't mind listening to me but I feel exhausted. I have sobbed until my eyes burn and my chest is heaving in great, racking sobs. I have screamed until I can't talk for four days. I have talked until the sun comes up and left Dad shattered.
I promised to blog honestly so here is some honesty. From when I was 11 until I was 15 I slept on a mattress on the floor beside Dad. Every.Single.Night I ran into Dad's room, hysterical, terrified and shaking. It would take hours, many hours, to calm me enough so that I could return to my own room. Eventually, this complete lack of sleep began to affect both Dad and me. So I just dragged my mattress into his room. I would try desperately to fall asleep before he went to bed, so I could look at the crack of light from the lounge room under the bedroom door. Like I said, I lived like this until I was about 15. That's grade 10. Nobody at school ever knew.
So I am returning to that level of anxiety. I still sleep in my own room, and I am proud of myself that I am still sleeping with the light off. That's a huge deal to me and something my friend Chris helped me start doing in 2010. He did this from Sydney with lots of talking, messages, cajoling and by establishing my own personal radio station so I never felt alone in my bedroom.
But a consequence of my heightened thanatophobia is I am also tweeting about it more. My friends insist they don't mind and think it's healthy for me to vent my feelings and not bottle them. But I don't know what to say. Like the conversations I've had with Dad a million times, I don't know what to say anymore. I've said it all before. And really, there's nothing they can say to help. They care, I know they do, but there are no words to help me. Dad, friends, therapists, psychologists and a psychiatrist have all tried. I haven't killed myself (yes, it's a very real risk, even with thanatophobia and I will have to blog about it soon) but I don't feel any better. And while I do feel the release of verbalising my thoughts or feelings, I am so conscious of emotionally exhausting my friends. I know I did it to someone I valued as a friend and now they no longer care for me. I guess I just sucked every last bit of sympathy out. I am so scared of repeating this.
(This is where I have trouble verbalising everything I am thinking. This is my blog and this is my safe space. But I am still scared of judgement. I am not saying this for attention, it is just a fact of my thoughts. I also hate that I feel I have to reinforce this disclaimer.) This careful consideration of other people's attitude towards me is a double edged sword though. Because if I don't feel I can express my terror and my pain, the suicidal feelings start to creep up. I don't want to hurt the ones I love and I don't want to lose them in any capacity so my logical mind rationalises that it is easier for me to just die. I feel alone. This terror consumes me. Why would I live with this constant dread only to one-by-one go through the emotional torture of losing my loved ones until eventually it is my turn to die? I am so exhausted. Why wouldn't I just kill myself now?
No, seriously. Why wouldn't I?
Miss SAMawdsley xx
I don't have any questions. I think I just need to sleep. I didn't mean for this blog post to turn out like this. I just verbalised. I am sorry if I have upset anybody.