anxiety 1 year on

I started suffering with anxiety after I had undergone a medical abortion in March 2016, my first symptoms of the mental illness was my constant fear of my imminent death, sometimes triggered by headaches or muscle pain, but a lot of the time it was something that was constantly on my mind: watching a film, on the bus, in a lecture, at work, eating, drinking, on holiday, it was a worry that had taken over the majority of my mind all of the time. Yet something that did surprise me about this was that I wasn’t afraid of dying, I was afraid about how it would affect the people around me, would my family be alright, who would tell them, what would my friends do, would my dog go on without me.

It wasn't only severe hypochondria that I was suffering with I then started to suffer with intense social anxieties. Friends that I’d had for years I was suddenly constantly worried I wasn't saying the right things, or that they never really liked me. The friends that got me through my abortion I felt only liked me because I was their other friend's girlfriend. I was always concerned about what I was saying rehearsing how I would walk into a room and say hello, listing off different conversation topics I could have with the different people that were going to be there.

I wasn't myself, I was a pushed down, rehearsed, nervous, over-thinker, and I was in constant fear that I wasn't liked along with the constant fear that I was about to die. When I was on holiday in Walt Disney World Florida with my Dad and 2 Sisters is when I think I hit my lowest point, nobody I was with knew about the abortion and they didn't know about my anxieties (my family would always refer to me as a hypochondriac and I wasn’t in the place to explain how bad it actually was) I couldn't go an hour in the "happiest place on earth" without feeling I was going to die in some sort of way.  

When I got home from this trip I started taking medication, these helped me incredibly with the physical panic attacks which then helped to stop the constant fear of death that came with them. After 8 months of being on the anxiety medication I took myself off them, I suffered with mild panic attacks as I had gone off them "cold turkey" (not advised) but after a month I felt more like myself, the fear of death for the most part has gone. I think I’ll always be somebody who over-reacts to something medical, but this I feel has come from being almost 3 months pregnant and not noticing, and then when I did; everything that could have gone wrong dealing with a pregnancy/abortion medically did. 

My social anxiety is something I am still struggling with on a somewhat daily basis, on one hand I have friends I have never felt more comfortable around and who I can be my true self with, but I do still have people I can't quite relax around and still maintain that fear of judgement and rehearsing what I'm going to say, I’m trying to decipher if this is my personal issues or their friendship isn’t right for me. I have become a lot more open about my experience and my illness with my friends and family members which has given us a new stronger relationship, but unfortunately it’s still something a lot of my family don’t really understand and don’t try to.

It's an issue so much in my own head that's a constant mental battle along with the battle of trying to get people to understand.

 

the process of a medical abortion at 12 weeks

I'm not a doctor, this was also over 2 years ago, I might get some medical information wrong, pls go talk to a doctor if you want real expert medical advise.

When I decided between having a medical termination or a surgical my choice took me around an hour, I went back and forth between the idea of simply going to sleep and it being done, and my hypochondria of being put under anaesthetic and not waking up.

In the end my hypochondria won, I didn't want to be put under and felt it wasn't described as too bad when discussing the option of staying awake. OoOH man was I wrong. I don’t want to scare people who might be going for this option but nobody I knew had dealt with this before and I wish I had been more prepared.

1 or 2 days before my full day appointment I went to see the nurse who gave me the initial pill, myself and my friend went I took the pill and got on a bus home. This pill begins the process of separating the foetus away from my womb. This pill made me feel sick about an hour later where I couldn’t sit on a bus without throwing up in my mouth so attempted to walk for an hour before the cramps hit me.

I arrived at the hospital with my (now ex) boyfriend at 11am and began the process at around 1pm, I had tablets inserted into my vagina (misoprostol) to make my womb contract, and then I was given tablets to take orally (mifepristone) to bring about the abortion, along with painkillers, anti sickness tablets and injections throughout the day. 

In my film Choice: My Abortion, I briefly describe the side affects these tablets the sickness and cramps, but these were the worst hours of my life; both mentally and physically. I felt nauseous the entire day, the only relief from this were the minuets after I had thrown up until the nauseous feeling returned. For me personally the cramps along the front of my stomach were not too bad, through the taking of pain killers, but the pain I had along my back was unbearable, I was writhing around in pain, hot, sweaty and bleeding through the nappy I was wearing onto the hospital plastic mattress. Passing blood clots is a feeling I could not get used to even after 5 weeks of it happening to me (this isn't normal, please watch the film to understand) so going to the toilet to pass blood clots and a foetus and then the placenta always into a cardboard bowl was an extremely uncomfortable 8 hours. 

Mentally I hit my low point 4 hours after the foetus had passed. I wasn't pregnant anymore but I still wasn't done, waiting for placenta to come out was infuriating. I could no longer walk around due to the cramps and back pain, so I was tired in bed crying, quite literally in a puddle of my blood. This was when I needed my Mom. Phoning my Mom and crying down the phone that I couldn't do it anymore is a feeling and a memory that stands out most to me from that day, even as a 19 year old who had moved almost 100 miles away for university, all I wanted was my Mom. My boyfriend tried to be supportive but he was only young too, scared and didn't know what was happening to me. If you're having a medical termination take somebody you feel completely secure around, they will see you in the worst states (I almost shit myself at one point so they've gotta be down for holding your hand even through that mess.) I wish I had taken someone who wasn’t my boyfriend, but our relationship was a mess before this and this was just the final nail in the coffin.

Once they thought everything was out I was allowed to go home, the cramps did stop almost immediately, but I just felt shit, the most shit I could possibly feel. I hadn't kept food down for hours, I'd been piled up with pills and just wanted to cry and sleep, which is exactly what I did for about a week when I got picked up the next day by my Mom to be properly cared for in a clean warm house, not the squatters excuse for a house that my boyfriend lived in.

Medical termination is physically and mentally exhausting, surgical for me wasn’t as harmful to my mental state. If I was ever unlucky enough to get pregnant when I didn’t want it I would go for the surgery. (I’m gonna hope that doesn’t happen but with my luck who knows)