ANXIETY

Rhodes – my sisters wedding

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!

ANXIETY

Panic Disorder – asking for help

The panicking about having another panic attack continued. I felt low about myself and angry at myself for succumbing to the panic and missing my friends hen party and now her wedding. Another of my friends was getting married in a few weeks and I knew I needed help to be able to go. So I went back to the doctors and asked for help. I explained what had been happening since the last time I saw him and my symptoms of a panic attack. He agreed with the doctor at the hospital who said it was panic disorder. He offered me tablets but after my experience of taking propranolol, I never wanted to take tablets again. I asked if I had could have another course of CBT.

In the meantime, while waiting for my CBT to start I tried my own techniques and my husband helped me. Every time I felt a panic attack coming on I would try to distract myself or if that didn’t work I would lie in a quiet room with a YouTube calm down video on.

During this time, it was my other friends wedding. Me and my husband were going and we were staying in a hotel very close to the venue with a group of my friends (including my friend whose wedding I had missed and her husband). I was nervous about seeing her as I felt so bad about missing her wedding, I had wanted to be there so much. I managed this wedding ok. We set off in plenty of time to ensure we had time for me to stop and use a toilet if needed. I had my water, diarrhoea tablets and listened to music to distract me. For the actual wedding I made sure to sit on an aisle seat so that I could leave quickly if I needed too, but I was determined not to miss another friends wedding. I wouldn’t say I was relaxed during the service, but I was able to enjoy seeing my friends get married. I also knew that they knew all about my panic attacks and they would understand if I had to run out, which made me feel more at ease. The party bit of the wedding was great and I ate my delicious three course meal and even enjoyed a dance. But later through the night, the music suddenly got to me. The loud bass suddenly made me feel very panicky, and I told my husband we needed to go back to the hotel as I could feel a panic attack coming on. All our friends tried to get us to stay but I knew I couldn’t. Walking back to the hotel my husband had to basically carry me. I was shaking so much and just couldn’t hold my own weight. We got back to the room and led on the bed, my husband was trying to distract me and he put a YouTube video on his phone but it wasn’t really helping. My breathing was getting faster, he decided to get me in the shower to try and cool me and calm me. This worked a bit and after he distracted me with playing cards. But the thought of staying in a hotel overnight was frightening, as the last time I had done that I had ended up in hospital with a panic attack and I had thought I was going to die.

I did try and stay but my mind wasn’t having it. So we decided it was best to drive home. I hadn’t been drinking (as it makes my panic worse, so I was able to drive home).

 

Even though I hadn’t managed to stay out overnight I hadn’t missed my friends wedding so I was proud of myself for that and I had had a good time at the wedding.

ANXIETY

“I’m dying”

So I had missed out on my friends hen do and also on over £200 on which I had already paid out and didn’t get to enjoy. I felt awful, £200 is a lot of money to waste when we do not have much money and I have a family to provide for. We had already booked our hotels for the wedding, and I was determined to be able to make her wedding. It was in Essex and the church was quite along way from the venue so we had two different hotels booked, both premier inns but one near the church for the night before and one for near the venue for after the wedding.

The day we had to travel to Essex I was working during the day and the girls were at school and we were to set off once we had finished. I tried not to think about the journey during work, but I didn’t dare eat as I was scared of needing the toilet while in the car. I had taken diarrhoea tablets (as I now took with me everywhere and took before I went anywhere). My husband was meant to drive but he had not managed to sleep the night before and was shattered. So I had to drive, I took toilet roll and bin bags in the car with me so if I needed the toilet I could go in the car if the worst came to it. I managed really well driving, listened to music to keep me calm and played I spy and Who am I? with the girls. As we were driving down, our friends who had set off earlier in the day had rang to say that the M25 was closed due to an accident and that the traffic was not moving. This got me panicked. So we decided to stop at a services for me to go to the toilet and I got a subway as I had not eaten all day. We got back in the car but I had asked my husband to drive as I had been working all day and then driving for five hours by this point so I was tired, hungry and anxious. I only managed to eat a couple of bites of my sandwich as I felt sick with my anxiousness. The next three hours were so long, we kept getting stuck in traffic that was not moving, I was desperately trying to keep myself calm by playing games with the girls, singing to the music, opening the window to cool myself down. By the time we arrived at the hotel it was nearly midnight and so we unpacked the car and all climbed into bed. We were all sharing a room, and the girls and my husband fell asleep pretty quickly. I tried to eat a couple of biscuits as I knew I hadn’t eaten all day but I really had to force them down.

That night was probably the worst of my life – I did not sleep at all but instead spent all night panicking. I don’t even know what I was panicking over as I was now safe in a hotel room with our own toilet but I just could not calm myself down. I didn’t want to wake my husband as I knew he had not slept the night before. I just lay there shaking, my heart beating so fast and worries going over and over in my head. I remember my husband hugging me at one point in his sleep and he suddenly woke up and said why are you shaking so much and told me to slow my breathing down. But I could not.

In the morning we went into the pub next door for our breakfast (which was included with the room). I knew I needed a lot of food to get my strength up after not eating the day before and being awake all night panicking. I put lots of food on my plate and went and sat down to eat, but the first mouthful had me running to the toilet to be sick. I then told my husband I did not feel well and I left them to go back to the hotel room. Walking to the room, I had to hold on to the wall as I was shaking and struggling to stay upright. When I got back to the room I sat on the toilet for a while, shaking so much. My breathing was erratic and my heart was beating so fast. I thought I was dying. By the time the girls and my husband came back to the room I was a complete mess. I was screaming at them to get me help, I told them I was dying. My husband had to try and calm me but also calm the girls down (they were only 7 and 5 and their mum was telling them she was dying).

It got so bad that in the end my husband phoned 111. But they were taking so long to get back to him and I was just getting worse that he ended up phoning 999. An ambulance turned up not long after and they did my obs. They asked me to control my breathing but I couldn’t. They said they thought it was a panic attack but something in my obs was worrying them and so they wanted to take me in to the hospital. They had to call for an ambulance as the one that had attended had been a car and they couldn’t take me in that.

My husband said he would get the girls ready and pack up the hotel room and then come to the hospital. The paramedics had to decide which hospital to take me too as there was a few all within the same distance of the hotel. They decided on Harlow.

ANXIETY

A family wedding – my first panic attack

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!