How to be happy?

 
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I am not sure how to be happy anymore for long periods of time at least. I am like a rollercoaster getting to the top and back down again. I don't know if that is depression or maybe it is something completely different, I am not a doctor or a therapist and I certainly haven't gone to the latter to analyse my thoughts, yet. I do wonder how Joanne puts up with me sometimes , she really is the ying to my yang. For the past two months at least I have certainly felt more down in the mouth than usual, even though the sun has shone and I have been on my holidays. I guess you need to admit to yourself in these times things are not right and need further self inspection of the mind. Back in February on the podcast we spoke about how I experienced a panic attack for the first time. At the time I put it down to having a really bad flu, we detail it quite well so listen back if you want to, I have linked it below it is 31 minutes in. Needless to say a panic attack is a strange experience. Despite having to have an ambulance out to the house and being talked back down to normality from the paramedics, I thought no more of it. I figured the flu had me in bits but I would get on with it. In May of this year we went on holidays to Spain with Joanne's mum and sister Karen.

Part of the trip was to drive from Alicante to Valencia. Nothing too tasking, I think a 2 hour drive. We arrived in Valencia and it was a little stressful because I got lost and for some reason they had nearly every street closed off. It shouldn't stress a normal person but I am not normal and it got my back up as I hadn't a clue where to go. We finally found our way , got to our hotel and went for food.  

We came back to the hotel around 10.30pm and went for a drink in the hotel before bed time nothing mad. We had an excellent paella and incidentally I must say Valencia was fantastic and we highly recommend going there. Off we went to bed with no trouble going to sleep to get ready for more exploring the next day. Cue 2am I wake with the most almighty cramp in my foot but it was like someone had my toe in a vice grip. I hobbled out of the bed, trying to get the cramp out of my toe. I eventually got it out and went to the toilet before attempting to go back to sleep. By the time I got back to bed however I felt it, I felt the dread descending, I felt the panic setting in. This time though I flagged it immediately to Joanne and said it is happening again, the heart palpitations, the racing breath and the brain overthought. Thankfully Joanne got her mam and Karen, all three talked me down this time. It didn't get to the point of the panic attack from February because I flagged it early to Joanne and through breathing we managed to get me down off the proverbial cliff.

The first thing I did when we got home was check in with my neurologist doctor. The reason being is every single time I feel anyway off I link it back to when I had a stroke. The wait was not too long to see my neurologist but it was the end of June. The wait prior to that was a killer because I had myself convinced it was something to do with my brain. It got me so down having to wait for it all and I must have spent so much time running it over in my head. The day came I met with Mr. Neurology and he was pretty much able to tell me "Will there is nothing I can find wrong with you, I will send you for some tests and bloods but you seem to be ok from my point of view". Naturally this is good but also bad, good because physically there is nothing with me but bad mentally, as no answers means more worry and overthinking. I have just spent the past 4 weeks waiting to get some results back. I wasn't even going to go to my GP to get them as I figured if it was really bad they would call me. I did this because I was burying my head in the sand because of fear.  Joanne however made me see sense, I met with my GP and she confirmed Mr Neurology's diagnosis, no real physical issue whatsoever. 

We chatted at length and it was actually great, she advised me on a couple of things I could do. The main thing would be therapy and CBT, something which I know nothing about just yet. She did say you can look at SSRIs ( prozac like stuff ) but that sort of thing does not interest me as I have heard far too much bad shit about them, however if you take them and want to tell me about their good and bad points please let me know privately. We did come to a conclusion however that didn't even require a full on therapy / counselling session. It is like a form of PTSD ( Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome ), every single time I think there is something wrong with me my mind goes straight back to when I had a stroke 8 years ago. It is something I need to work through over these next few years and I don't think it is the most easiest task I have confronted. I did start at least to try and check my head out by buying a book by Dr. Harry Barry called "Anxiety and Panic". I am hoping it can at least help me understand how and why I think certain ways. At least it is a start to trying to figure out things. Maybe I am a little like my late Grandfather, he would always think he was on his way out of this world only to be told by his wife Molly "Ah snap out of it Bill there is nothing wrong with you". I think Joanne will be fulfilling Molly's role here.

Will