In August 2013 we had a family wedding to attend two hours from our home and as the girls were bridesmaids we were going to be staying the night before the wedding in a travelodge and the night of the wedding at the wedding hotel. I was very anxious before setting off and I planned ahead, taking spare underwear, toilet roll and diarrhoea tablets (i had found i felt sick after taking Imodium, so i now took the shops own ones). I made it to the travelodge, we did stop at every services down the motorway for me to go to the toilet and to try and keep me calm. I also drove to keep my mind off it. The stay in the travelodge was fine as I knew we had our own toilet. On the day of the wedding the girls had gone to get ready with the bride (their Grandma had gone with them as i was too anxious). We met them at the hotel, I managed to stay mainly calm during the wedding as I knew there was plenty of toilets and we also had our own room with a toilet if i needed to disappear there.
I had a few drinks that night (I don’t often drink but we decided as we had a hotel and to try and keep me calm that i would drink abit). The next day, my stomach was a mess, I kept having stomach pains and having to run to the toilet. But luckily we were still at the hotel and we had our own toilet. But at 12pm we had to check out and i could not get off the toilet as i was anxious about where there was going to be another toilet.
The family had said we would all go to my husbands Grandads flat (where there was only one toilet and about 12 of us in the flat). As we arrived there I needed the toilet straight away. But once on it, I did not want to get off as I knew that someone else might use it and then I wouldn’t have a toilet to use. I did have to get off it in the end, and soon someone else needed the toilet. While they were in the toilet my stomach flipped again. I felt really hot, i was sweating and shaking and I quickly decided I could not wait and I asked my husbands auntie for key to her house (she lived a few roads away). I ran off to the house and shut myself in her toilet. The problem was even though I know had a toilet to use I was worrying about what would happen when everyone came home and also how I was going to make it home down the motorway for two hours. My heart started beating really fast, i thought it was going to break out of my chest, i was shaking, my teeth were chattering and i was sweating. My breathing started to get erratic. I rang my husband and said he needed to come, that i thought i was dying. This was my first proper panic attack – it was horrendous!!
My husband came and tried to calm me down but it wasn’t helping. He ended up asking everyone at his Grandads to leave and he took me back there, just me and him and we led down and he tried to get me to sleep so I would calm down. He kept telling me to breathe and would occasionally shout at me to calm down as he could feel my heartbeat getting faster again. After about three hours, I had calmed down quite abit but I was still anxious and I was still shaking.
We decided we needed to try to drive home, but as it was my husbands birthday (yes I had completly ruined his birthday and made it all about me – even though I did not want that) he had been drinking and therefore I had to drive us home. We set off but I soon missed the turning for the motorway as my mind was not on the road but on my anxiety and where there was a toilet. Missing the motorway turning freaked me out even more as atleast on the motorway i knew there would be service stations with toilets. My husband shouted me, and my attention came back to the road and i realised I was driving on the wrong side of the road. At this point my husband made me pull over to calm me down again. Once i had partially calmed we set off again. I kept my attention on getting to the next service station. I remember stopping at one of the services (we stopped at them all) and after i had been to the toilet i was walking back to the car chewing gum and I didn’t feel like me at all. I felt crazy, and even thought that I was going to be sectioned as thats where I should be.
It was an awful awful day – and that was the start of my panic attacks!