Anxiety: ‘Stupid child!’

On two separate occasions I had, what I can only describe as, some kind of panic/anxiety attack or hyperventilation. It was as if I wasn’t getting enough air and my body felt weird! As far as I remember, I didn’t have any emotional problems, stresses or worries. I enjoyed my job, the money and the company.

Over the course of a year my job became my life. Working unsociable hours of 12:00-20:00, eventually stepping it up with overtime 10:00-20:00 or even 6:00-20:00. At one point I went as far as working until two or three in the morning!  I was socialising in the evening and on weekends with work colleagues; going to pubs, clubs which ended at someone’s house, usually a friend of a colleague. It was around this time in my life that the attacks hit.

The first time we’d pulled over to get some cash when it happened. There was about six of us piled in the car so I was sitting on someone’s lap. Whilst standing outside the car, it hit. I leant against one of the blokes with my forehead buried in his chest as I tried to relax my body and breathing. A year or two before that I’d been diagnosed with asthma so assumed, never having had an attack, that this was one of them. In the words of my father ‘stupid child!’.

The second time, we’d all had a little too much to drink so ended up at a friend of a colleagues house (who at the time I classed as a friend). Again, it hit out of the blue for no apparent reason and I struggled to breath. I went out into the front porch to get some fresh air when I heard her say (even in my drunken state) ‘just ignore her, she’s just trying to get attention’. At that moment I wanted to leave, grab my keys and go, but I was too drunk to drive. I pretended I didn’t hear the comment, waited for my anxiety attack to pass then went back inside wishing the night away very quickly, falling asleep on the spare bed in the back bedroom. Suffice to say we were all late for work the following morning as I drove us all home at 6:00am, took a nap which obviously lasted a little longer than intended, and got changed.

I don’t recall ever having an attack like that before or since; until December 2015 when I woke one night after starting this medication!

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