Friday, 17 January 2014

Anixety & Me: Part 2

Last week, I spoke about my struggles with the social side of anxiety....

This week, I'm going to go more into detail about the darker side of things.

It's difficult to talk about because, lets face it, its hard not to sound like a complete nutjob when going into detail about these sorts of things...but I feel its important to discuss it.

To best explain how bad things get, I'm going to share my experience on Christmas Day evening this year.

After a lovely but busy day where there had been lots of fun and very little stress, I fell asleep on the sofa while Tyne was in bed - Jon was sitting next to me watching TV.

I slept soundly for an hour or so, dreaming of nice things...I woke up, and I looked at the Christmas Tree...

I remember thinking how pretty it looked....then all of a sudden, with no warning and no reason, I started to panic.

The familiar feeling of dread washed over me and I felt the anxiety rise up in my chest...

My heart beat faster and faster, I started to cry and wail, I began to shake uncontrollably...

Jon rushed over and asked what was wrong...I couldn't answer him....

He grabbed me and was asking again and again "What's wrong?! Calm down, tell me whats wrong"

I kept wailing and shaking....I couldn't speak.

I jumped up off the sofa and started pacing the room....repeating over and over again "Oh god! Oh no!"

The panic got heart rate was so fast....

I ran toward the kitchen and I started screaming....

I was screaming at the top of my voice and I couldn't stop myself.

Jon grabbed me and pulled me back into the living room, I leaned against the wall and slid down to the floor...

All the while I was sobbing and saying "Help me, please help me, help me"

Jon kept telling me to breathe slower...

I could feel my heart pumping so hard it felt like it would come right out of my chest....

I felt trapped, and I turned around and started to claw at the wall to pull myself up....

Then, just as suddenly as it started, it began to fade away....

I started to calm down, I started to hear Jon telling me what to do and how to breathe, I sat up straight and took deep slow breaths...My heart was still beating much too hard but I could feel it getting better...

After about 10 minutes, it had passed.

This was the worst panic attack I had suffered for years....and it bothered me for days afterwards, I kept getting upset about it....mostly because I didn't understand why it had happened.

Usually they happen when I'm awake and I always know what the trigger is.

This time I had been asleep, having perfectly happy dreams, and it happened for no reason.

That was different.

I have only suffered a panic attack on that scale twice before...

Once was at home at my parents house, when my whole body started to tingle and I was convinced I was dying....I ended up having an ambulance called out, and I remember sitting in the ambulance while the paramedic explained that there was nothing physically wrong with me - I'd had a panic attack.

I'd had no idea that a panic attack could feel so if I was truly dying.

The second time it happened when I was walking home from work alone...It came on me suddenly and took over very quickly ... I ended up walking down the street muttering to myself over and over again "No, no, no!" .... I must have looked to passers-by like a crazy woman talking to herself.

I knew what had caused it though....

The darker side of my anxiety is not about my fear of what people think of me....

I had been walking past the cathedral that day and was thinking about how stunning it was, and how mind blowing that it had stood there for hundreds of years...

I started to wonder about how the street would have looked hundreds of years ago, and how many people before me had looked at that building....

Then the thought hit me that all those people were long dead now...

And that's how it started.

Death is my trigger every time.

I know that it is a stupid fear as nothing I can ever do will take it away...but that makes it worse. 

With other fears you can get help to overcome them by facing them - I can't face death to overcome my fear.

I can't control when the thoughts hit me - they come at random times - I can be washing dishes or watching TV, and suddenly it will strike me "One day, you'll be dead".

And that's mind can't wrap itself around that thought ... it's too much for my brain and I go into panic.

All consuming, horrific panic.

I thought it might get better once Tyne was born, because I'd be distracted more, in fact its got worse.

Now I think about the fact that one day he'll die too...and that sets me off as well.

I find myself feeling sad a lot, even when I should feel happy, times when I'm watching him playing and laughing - I can't help that at the back of my mind those thoughts are always there.

I've tried before to deal with it...I've tried reading up on it and that makes things worse.

I've tried anxiety medication, that made things worse.

I tried one session of cognitive behaviour therapy - perhaps that might have been helpful but I was too scared to go back because she made me talk about my trigger and that made me panic.

I tried a hypnotherapy session once and I did find that very very helpful.

I would like to try more of that but it has to be done privately and it's pretty expensive.

Another member of my family suffers the same way as I do, with the same trigger - and horribly, it now seems to be happening to my 6 year old niece.

I have never spoken to her about what happens to me, yet she seems to have developed the same fear and trigger as me.

I don't understand why this is, but I hate it as I would never wish this on anybody and certainly not on her.

I have spoken with my Dr about it this week and she has referred me to my local Anxiety Service -I have an appointment in February, so we'll see how that goes.

I hope that something will help as I hate the idea of living my life in fear of death.



  1. Have you tried your local MInd charity? maybe they offer if not hypnotherapy, some other complementary therapies that might help. Their drop in centres may also be of benefit - if you want to talk over stuff - but find CBT appts too restrictive. Also if you decide to try CBT again, push push for home visits.

  2. I too suffer with anxiety and fear of death and those around me dying. I don't get as far as panic attacks, but it consumes my life every single day and has done for many years now. I've had some counselling over the years, but it never really helps. The fear started after I had a child, who is now in his teens, so that tells you how long I've felt this way. I'm currently trying to get through to the doctors to book an appointment as I'm scared that I am seriously ill...I don't know what frightens me more - illness or the death or the big c word which I can't bare to say or type. Two years ago I went for counselling and said "I feel like this is the beginning of the end of my life" I'm convinced I am going to die every single day, and reading this post makes me know that I'm not alone in this. Big hugs xxxxx

  3. Thank you for sharing your story my husband suffers from awful anxiety which he has no idea why he has these panics its good for people to be more aware of anxiety and the different sides of it.

  4. I really feel for you I know how horrible anxiety and panic attacks are, Its something not really talked about and people who havent experienced it tend not to understand myself included until it happened to me and I thought i was loosing my mind.If you ever need a chat feel free to contact me.

  5. oh my goodness that sounds terrifying! i have only suffered one mild panic attack but nothing on that scale. i hope you're appointment goes well x

  6. You are really brave to share this with everyone, and that is a step closer to maybe helping you deal with or control it, as you know you are not alone at all.

    I suffered an awful one on Christmas evening too, so strange we both had one the same day! And I constantly am scared at the thought of death, it makes my heart race everytime. I'm still waiting on my appointment, just hope its soon as I feel I need help!!



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