I have put off writing this blog post, but I knew it had to happen, because I want to be honest. It’s now Monday and last Wednesday I had a panic attack. I have not experienced this for a long time and it took me by surprise.
I am beginning to date a guy, I don’t know where it’s going yet, but it’s nice to have someone around. We’d been making fairy cakes using gluten free flour, having a laugh and getting ready to decorate them. I had noticed I started feeling a little tired, out of breath and nauseous, but i didn’t put the three things together. I stood back for a second and watched him take out the cakes from the oven before I had to grab hold of his arm to stop myself from falling. My breathing went from 1-100 in milliseconds. I struggled out a “I can’t breathe” before he realised what was happening. The guy I’m dating has anxiety issues too so when he saw me, he recognised what was happening. I had to sit down and eventually lie down until it passed, around an hour. It was so out of the blue that I was frustrated as I didn’t know why it had happened. My personality melted away, I could hardly speak and putting together sentences was really tough.
The next morning I woke up feeling weak, like it might happen again, but as you know, I am not one to let these things stop me from doing what I need or want to do. A childhood friend who is basically family, had a baby last month and due to illness on their side and mine I haven’t been able to meet her. This was the day I had that chance and I was not going to give it up. It took me longer than usual to get out of the house, I kept checking things and doubting myself. I got to Nottingham, around an hour and 15 minute drive and met the beautiful baby girl. Apart from being emotional and quiet there was nothing to note in the way I showed myself to translate as anxiety to others. I told my friend what had happened the night before, but she was busy looking after the baby and I understood her position. Before long I had to be back in the car, I had keys to pick up, a prescription to collect before the Easter weekend and the Mindfulness course I am now a part of thanks to the NHS.
When I got in the car, it took me 45 minutes to get out of the car park. This was for no other reason than I just wasn’t ready. I spent the entire time pushing something down and before long thought I had done the best I could. I rung my Mum as I had done in the morning in an attempt to have something to focus on. Within metres of the car park I began to lose track of my sentences, I couldn’t find the words and my breathing was becoming hard. I said to Mum that I needed to pull over the car and as I did I fell into floods of tears accompanied by irrational breathing. At this stage I didn’t know what to do, I just had to sit there until the worst passed. I knew the only way it would fully pass was to lie down or sleep, but that just wasn’t possible and I had so much to do at home.
After around 30 minutes I mustered the courage to drive to my friend’s house to take shelter there, luckily she lived minutes from where I’d ended up. As I lay on her sofa she said sympathetically “What do you think was the trigger?” and all I could answer was “I really don’t know”.
Since then I have missed seeing my best friend in London as I just could not leave my bed. I had three days of very little action, but the guy I’m with is very understanding and spent time just chilling with me to make me feel better. Everyday since my chest has been tight, nothing solves it and it feels like I am minutes away from a panic attack at all times. I’ve had to be ‘safe’ in the activities I do just incase one happens and driving became something I was scared to do. I have had another half panic attack, but I was able to catch it and it didn’t take over like the others.
My Mum is screaming from the rafters that I have to go back to the drs, but in all honesty I’m already on medication which was working until now and all he can do is give me some diazepam, 10 of them and that would have to last me a good few months as it’s a controlled drug in the UK. There’s no end game in all of this and that gets to me sometimes.