My sister got engaged on Christmas day 2014, and they planned their wedding for June 2016 in Rhodes. She had asked me, my other sister and my two daughters to be bridesmaids. I was so excited for her and I knew it was going to be the most magical day. The only problem was my anxiety – I was praying that I would not ruin or miss my sisters big day because of my panic attacks. I had been on my Sertraline for a while and my panic attacks had stopped but the worry was always there that they would return at any moment, especially as we were going to be flying on an aeroplane and being away from home for a week. All these situations where my anxiety would flare up. The drive to the airport, the airport, the flight, the coach transfer to the hotel, the actual wedding ceremony, the coach to the wedding venue, the boat trip after it, the taxi ride back to the hotel, the transfer back to the airport, the airport, the flight home and the car ride home. That was a lot of situations to worry about my anxiety flaring up, and that wasn’t counting any unexpected trips while we were away. I thought I would probably be ok in the hotel room as there was a toilet at all times and even though my husband, two daughters and I would be sharing the one room, they all knew that if I needed the toilet I had to go right away. But the last few times I had stayed in hotels I had had panic attacks, so this was a worry. I knew I was doing so much better on my Sertraline, but that didn’t stop me from thinking about all these situations.
I knew I would have to put things in place to help me. So I cancelled the transfers to and from the hotel and decided we would get a taxi instead, this meant that I wouldn’t have to be on a coach with other people (which made me worry that I couldn’t ask them to stop for me to use the toilet or if a panic came on). I made sure I had toilet roll for the car journey to the airport, and that we set off in enough time so that if we had to stop we wouldn’t be late, and I listened to a youtube calming video the whole way. I had looked at the a map of the aeroplane to figure out how many toilets there were and where they were located and I had asked my sister to ring up and ask if there would be a toilet on the boat trip, which there was.
And do you know what I managed it all without worrying and actually really enjoyed myself. The holiday was amazing, a 4* hotel that was all inclusive – chocolate pancakes whenever we wanted them from the pool bar, the food was amazing, the kids had so much fun and we were with all my family. My sisters wedding was a magical day and she looked absolutely stunning.
I was so happy that my anxiety had not ruined it for anyone including me. I do put that down to the Sertraline and also the fact I was so open with all my family and friends and so I knew I could talk to them about it anytime and that they would be there to support me.
The last day of the holiday wasn’t as great. My mum, dad and brothers had already left to fly home but there was still my sisters and husbands/boyfriends, my nephew and my husband and children. We had had breakfast and then had been sunbathing around the pool. It was now the middle of the afternoon and we hadn’t had lunch yet as no one had wanted to move, but I was starving and so hot from the sun. We all decided to go for lunch, but they had all gone ahead. I was walking towards the lunch buffet and trying to work out where they were all sat. But I had my sunglasses on, not my glasses (and my sunglasses are not prescription ones) so I was having to squint to try and make out where they were. So I wasn’t looking at where I was walking and I fell off the slope. It wasn’t a big fall, but my leg just went from beneath me. I got straight back up but I knew something wasn’t right, I sat myself down, the next thing I remember is people coming round to check I was ok. My sister and husband tried to get me to lean on them to walk inside, and I just fainted into their arms. Apparently my husband then carried me inside the hotel entrance and a medic came over. I awoke to being sprayed with something up my nose, I had an oxygen mask and people surrounding me as I led on the floor. After a while I felt ok to sit up and my sister went and got me some food and drink. I didn’t feel right, and so they took me upstairs to lie down. We didn’t have our room as we were leaving that day, but my sister was staying longer so I led on her bed. I didn’t want to be on my own, my heart was beating fast, and I was breathing rapidly. I thought it was a panic attack (but actually it was just due to being overly hot, hungry and the fact that I had fainted). I was struggling to eat even though I was hungry and I started worrying about how I was going to be on the way to the airport and on the aeroplane. I didn’t think id be able to go home, but then I knew I couldn’t stay either. My sisters said I needed to sleep to try and feel better. I asked one of them to stay with me at all times, which they did. My family were all such a great support for me.
And in the end I was ok and flew home ok. Apart from that little hitch I had had a great holiday and I had managed it without a panic attack. I felt on top of the world!!
Remember if you are feeling anxious or depressed or even just a bit down please talk to someone, there are so many people out there who care! I am always here for anyone who needs to talk. You are not alone!