Its just my story from the start. I felt like putting it all into words. Its a bit boring but I wrote it and now I feel the need to put it out there. Here goes.
I am stuck. I cannot move for fear of fainting or a heart attack. Nothing looks right, 2D and far away.. And terrifying.
I am on a day out in Blackpool with Hannah, I got anxious on the way here because that is just me, I worry about crowds, about fainting, about losing control.
We arrived and I got on with it, like I always do. We had plans to go to the circus at the bottom of the tower, Hannah gets upset and frantic because there are no tickets left.
I take her to sit on a bench on the sea wall, I find its the best way. Sit her down and talk it over.
I get anxious, and suddenly feel breathless and like somebody has punched me in the stomach. I ring my mum and say I might be having a panic attack.
I can't stop crying, I just want to go home. Mum says she will come and get me. She had to leave work and drive for an hour and a half.
We are with a friend of Hannahs and her carer, they are happy to keep Hannah for the rest of the day.
They decide to walk to the end of the pier.. 'Do you not understand, I feel like I'm going to pass out, how will I survive if I am halfway down a pier?
How will they get me back? Who will you call if I have a heart attack?' I make it to the end of the pier and politely ask if they would mind me waiting the rest
of the time alone on the sea wall waiting for my mum, and I walk back down the pier fast incase I pass out. I am so thirsty, no cash on me. Too scared to walk too far. I find a spot on the wall, anxious when people get up to leave. Who is going to rescue me when I faint? I smoke my last cigarette and it tastes like poison, I stub it out after a few tokes, scared that the nicotine will help this weak feeling in my limbs. The next hour is the longest of my life. I play games on my phone to make time go faster, praying for this to all be over. What is wrong with me? This has never happened before. I have felt a bit anxious in crowded theatres and bars, but never outdoors.
My mum calls to say she is 5 minutes away, I find the strength from somewhere to stand up and make my way to the road. I see her drive past because she can't pull over and I panic. Eventually she is in sight again, and my relief comes crashing out in the form of tears.
I imagined that as soon as I was on my way home it would go away. But it's not. Nothing looks right still, it seems far away and I feel disconnected. And still, that knot in my stomach. Mum marches my straight to the doctor, I explain that I thought it was a panic attack, and he puts me on antidepressants.
The next few days are a blur of anxiety and fear. Fear of the world outside, of the size of it. I see a beautiful holiday destination on the tv and all I can
think is 'I could never go there, what would happen if I fell ill or fainted, I wouldn't know where to get help. How would I get home if I got scared??'
These aren't normal thoughts. Where is this coming from? Why is the world suddenly a scary place? I don't feel like I belong. I can't live like this much longer. I want to die.
Eventually this passes, and I blame if on the effect of the tablets. The next months goes along as normal, I can't bring myself to get on a train but thats okay. I feel a bit down, negative and constantly on edge, but I will get over this.
Its early December now, I have had a night on the couch with Darren laughing and watching films. He says to me 'It felt like you were yourself again tonight' and it cheers me up. Things are normal again.
An hour later we go up to bed, I am climbing in when out of nowhere I get that invisible punch in the stomach again. 'I'll be back in a minute, just going to get some fresh air' I walk downstairs and stand in the garden, nothing looks right again and suddenly I'm scared. I go back upstairs but can't rest. My hands are sweating. Its December, why am I so clammy? 'I'm going to go and sit downstairs for a little while' I say. I have to be alone. I have to figure out whats going on. Am I dying? Is something seriously wrong?
The thoughts are back. I am stuck on an endless planet. The universe is endless. I feel trapped by these houses. Outside is so scary. I don't even feel safe in my own house. I want to run. All these thoughts
make the anxiety worse, and now they are stuck in my head like a pop song. And I believe every word of it. Where has this come from? What is the point of life? I feel sick at the thought of every day being the same. Wake up, work, eat, sleep. What is the point of anything? Of time and space? Of love and relationships?
I spend the next few days like this, constantly with a sickening feeling in my stomach, sweaty hands, shaking like a frightened dog and believing all the thoughts that come into my head. I can't eat, but I am constantly being sick. Darren doesn't know what to do, but he gives me the space I need.
I go back to the doctor, I tell him I think it's anxiety, and it is constant. Back on the tablets. They make it worse for a few days, but it's still there.
Why won't it go away? Life is hell on earth, I don't want to carry on living like this, its too scary. What kind of life can I lead if I am scared of everything
around me, even scared of myself.
I visit my doctor again, a different one this time, I feel like getting on the floor and begging for something to take this pain away. I break down in his office
and tell him whats been happening, what is going through my mind. He gives me a different prescription and is very reassuring that this isn't forever.
'This isn't forever' is what helps when it almost gets unbearable. When I feel like I am on the verge of being hysterical and completely losing control.
I don't think I am going to be home for Christmas. I am going to check myself into hospital if I keep feeling like I don't want to carry on living, and I need
Please, just 10 minutes of sanity. Is that too much to ask?
The next 2 weeks, I hit rock bottom. I cannot sit still, my dreams are vivid. I cannot get to the end of the road without feeling like something is going to
Its the 22nd, its my works night out and I have a drink, it takes the thoughts away and I feel invincible.
The next day, it is 10 times worse.
The 23rd, I have a hangover and unbearable anxiety, the usual tricks aren't working. A game on my computer won't take my mind off it. I go for a walk, I still can't calm down.
My mum pops her head in and gives me a hug. She is urging me to get up and come downstairs for a cup of tea. I don't know where I find the strength, but I do it.
I feel a little more relaxed. Now she is getting ready to go out, Darren has a gig in town and she is going. 'You will feel better if you come out for an hour,
just see how it goes' It takes some convincing, but I throw on some clothes and a bit of make-up and I do it. I just need a glass of wine and I will feel a bit
more relaxed. Darren is pleased to see me as he thought I was feeling too sick to come, making him happy was enough to lift my mood.
The 24th. I wake up and my stomach fills with dread. We have tickets to watch It's A Wonderful Life in Liverpool today. I walk out of my bedroom and start crying. 'I can't do it mum, please don't make me' She agrees to drive instead of get the train if I agree to give it a try. Deal.
I am okay in the car for a while, we get to Crosby and I ask to be dropped off at the train station, I feel trapped and caved in by everything around me. She won't. She tells me to take a deep breath, I am safe, there is no safer place in the world than with her. I take a deep breath. I don't want to ruin this for her.
We make it to the theatre, for a few seconds I am excited. I have been looking forward to this for months, I booked the tickets in July. I get about 20 minutes in and need to leave, the door is too far away. My mum comes outside with me and we have a cigarette, everything looks foreign even though I've visited this city a hundred times. I go back in, I can't do this. I tell my mum I will be in the car, to watch the end of the film. Darren comes with me and we walk to a shop to get a drink, dry mouth again. I can't go too far from the car though. Mum leaves the film early to take me home.
The whole ride home I am a mess, mum and Darren chat in the front and I just keep silent and pray to be at home. I am so scared.
We finally get home and I am still restless, it is Christmas Eve and I have no spirit for it.
I run a bath, its the only time I feel even slightly at ease. I am lying there lost in these horrible thoughts and something within me snaps.
What am I so scared of? This is ridiculous! I am suffering from anxiety. I don't know where these thoughts have come from but it's time to sort it out.
I cannot live like this anymore, and I am not taking the easy way out. It is time to beat this!
Christmas goes by, I feel numb. But the attacks have gone, it is easier. But life is still a struggle.
This was my last big anxiety attack.
The next few weeks are spent researching this illness, looking at ways to battle it. Reading forums written by people suffering also. I am not alone.
I can't join a forum yet, I can't write this down. It's too scary, and people might think I am crazy.
I gradually start leaving the house more. It's hard but I have to do this. I have to push myself, to make myself realise that there is nothing to be scared of.
It is mid January. I have tickets to see my favourite band. I have waited so long for this. I cannot let this illness ruin it for me.
I am on the train. I am okay. I try not to just sit playing on my phone, but to look out of the window.
The further I get from home the more scared I feel. The physical effects aren't much there but the thoughts are swooping down and battering my brain.
'I can't do this' I say to Darren. The miracle that he is he gets me straight off the train at the next stop, he knows what this gig means to me, and if
I can't do it, then thats it. I tried.
Every day I feel better, with the exception of a few when I wake up and just want to curl up and wish the world away. But I don't allow myself to stay in bed. I keep myself busy. It's hard without a full time job. My mum and Darren have been amazing, my 2 rocks keeping me sane.
I am winning the hardest fight of my life, but it's not over yet.
Thank you to anybody who read that. It has stirred up some horrible memories but I feel stronger for it.