I often wondered whether or not I should post about mental health issues as I wasn’t sure if I would have anything worth talking about but having lived with panic attacks for numerous years and now I feel that I have finally gotten rid of the monkey, (which for me I honestly thought that my case was beyond repair) then maybe people who are still suffering would like to hear my story?
My first ever panic attack happened on the last day of primary school. We were all excited to be leaving school, well the boys were the girls I remember were crying a lot that day! 12:00 couldn’t come quick enough. I remember we all brought in plain white t-shirts so that we could go around getting it signed by everyone. It was a fun day and when the clock struck 12, we were let loose.
Usually I would have waited for my younger brother but that day I didn’t. I reached half way home and all of a sudden I got this intense fear creeping up my spine. When I reached the park, I was locked in a state of extreme fear and I had to run the rest of the way home.
My secondary school was a good bit away so I had to get a school bus which I could manage but not without my sister who was 2 years ahead of me. So whenever she’d be off sick with tummy cramps, it was such an ordeal for me to get to the bus stop. Again I had to run down the road.
Every Wednesday we got a half day meaning that the only way I could get home was to go through town with my sister and her friends. And if I missed her ( I never told anyone of my struggles) I would have to find a someone from my class to get home with. My friends always wanted to go around town visit some clothes shops whereas all I wanted was to get home as fast as possible.
But in my first year I could go around town with them but I could never go home by myself and this got me into trouble with my grandmother because she’d be waiting for me with my dinner. During 2nd and 3rd year I couldn’t even go through town anymore on the Wednesdays I always had to wait to get a lift home from my friend. There was one Wednesday when I missed my friend, my sister had also gone home so I hurried back into the school with the idea of saying to a teacher that I didn’t feel well and could I order a taxi. I went in and found that there was one boy who lived 10mins from my house. He was a bit of a nerd basically he was someone who I would never befriend. He was doing his homework and said that the school bus still comes at the usual time on Wednesdays, 3:45. So I started to do what he did every Wednesday to avoid going through town, even if it meant coming home later.
My main problem was open spaces. I’d get quite panicky in shopping centres, if stuck at a busy junction waiting for the lights to turn green or on the motorway. It was hard! And I was still feeling like this up until maybe 3 months ago. What worked wonders for me was, I stopped putting 2 large teaspoons of sugar in my tea and on my cereal in the mornings. That little change in my diet has been a miracle cure, it really has. Since I made this simple change, I’m much more relaxed when travelling and I haven’t had a panic attack since.