I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear. Steve Maraboli
This week I had a little scare that led to a big panic attack,all because of a faulty electricity meter. I can laugh about it now, but at the time, I was extremely anxious and felt like my world had come to an end.
It all started on Wednesday evening when I got back home late after work. On the worktop in my kitchen, my British Gas smart meter was displaying a red light. So, I took a closer look and was flabbergasted to see that my energy consumption was a staggering £4907 per hour, which meant that it was well over £100,000 for that day.
My initial reaction was to laugh at the thought of it, as it was absolutely ridiculous. Even if I had transformed my house into a cannabis factory, I would not be using that much electricity! However, as the evening progressed, I started getting worried and my worst-case-scenario thinking style slowly took over and the anxiety started to grow.
I was getting more and more wound up and as the British Gas office was closed until 8 o’clock the following morning, I was unable to call and ask for advice. I tried to watch my favourite programme on television, but I was too restless. I tried to read a book, but I could not focus and was reading the same page repeatedly. My mind was racing with a lot of what-ifs. What if this has been going on for days? What if I owe £500,000? What if they ask me to pay? What if I have to sell my house? What if? What if? What if? My thoughts were becoming more and more irrational, but I was unable to stop them.
I decided to have a bath and I relaxed for a while. Then, I went to bed and tried to sleep, but an elephant was sitting on my chest and butterflies were dancing in my stomach. Surprinsingly, I managed to nonetheless drift off to sleep. However, I suddenly woke up at 2 o’clock in the morning and the thoughts started again.
This time, I was in full-on panic mode, my heart beating fast, my body shaking, feeling nauseous, breathless and sweating. I decided to call the British Gas emergency number, but they did nothing to reassure me. They just shouted at me for not reporting the problem earlier and told me to switch off the electricity in the house. Therefore, I turned off the mains switch and went back to bed, feeling even worse than I had before, impatiently waiting for the morning.
Finally, at 8 o’clock, I phoned British Gas and was quickly reassured that it was a software error and that my energy consumption was the same as usual. I immediately felt intense relief and went to work.
When I arrived at work, I told one of my colleagues what had happened. She knows about my experience with Narcissistic Abuse, so I feel free to be completely honest with her and as she also was in a relationship with a man with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, she understands what I am talking about very well.
I told her that the level of anxiety that I had experienced the previous night, was the same level of anxiety that I felt every day for the two years that I was with him. She said that she could indeed relate to this and we were both amazed that we managed to live with that much anxiety for such a long time. We then thanked our lucky stars (and our courage for leaving) that we did not have to deal with that much anxiety anymore.
Most of our anxiety was caused by our complete lack of control over our relationships. We never knew what awaited us. Was he home or had he done a disappearing act? Was he in a good mood or in a bad mood? Would he be pleasant or angry? Would he be loving or hurtful? Would we have another conversation from hell or would we be subjected to the silent treatment? Would he be hiding in the bathroom texting his exes? Would he dish out some backhanded compliments? Would he be complaining about something we had done or not done? What would he be up to that day? The unpredictability was unsettling and induced such great levels of anxiety that I got diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and became suicidal.
After 6 months of No Contact, I had almost forgotten what extreme anxiety felt like, but that silly episode with my British Gas smart meter put me right back there. It is such a horrible feeling!
This morning I went dragon boating and now I am feeling tired but relaxed, watching television and writing this post with my electric heating on for extra warmth, not worrying that my smart meter is still telling me that my bill for today is over £70,000 and feeling thankful that my days of being used and abused are finally over!!