If there's one thing that automatically makes me think of Autumn it's pumpkins. As soon as you see all the pumpkin spiced goodies hitting stores and seeing the well known large orange winter squashes everywhere you know it's Autumn. I've always seen pictures of pumpkin patches and heard about them but never actually been to one myself. Pumpkin picking isn't quite that common here in England, but when my sister mentioned there was a farm a 15 min drive away and asked if I would like to go with her and my nephew I decided to put my brave head on and fight my anxiety to go and try something new.
From the moment I agreed to going I felt super anxious... I got the hot flushes, racing heart, feeling sick, breathlessness, stomach flips... but I was determined to push through. Fighting my anxiety is so hard but it's the only way to get my life back. I tried to control my breathing and not let it get the better of me, using positive affirmations such as "I can do this" "It's only anxiety" "I am stronger than my anxiety" "This too shall pass" "These are only feelings, they can do no harm", focusing on the task and my nephew rather than my feelings and what was going on around me. I really struggle with my anxiety when there are strangers around, I always worry that I will be judged if I have a panic attack or that people will stare. Luckily we picked a fairly quiet day to go, so I felt like I could cope with the feelings. They never fully left me but they did gradually weaken the longer I was there and I was able to run around with my nephew rather than breaking down in tears and leaving after five minutes. Dealing with all these symptoms and using every ounce of energy to overcome them is exhausting, so after an hour and a half I was more than ready to leave with my souvenir pumpkin.
I promise my next post will be less focused on my anxiety, but the whole reason I decided to open up about my anxiety on here is so I could be more honest and help others. I also wanted to be able to do posts on what I'm doing to aid my recovery so that when I look back I can see how far I have come, because if you'd told me a few months ago I'd be somewhere unfamiliar running around a pumpkin patch I would not have believed you! There is finally a speck of light at the end of the tunnel.