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The Emotional Cost….. Panic Attacks

Up until the Section 21 Notice had been served I’d never had a Panic Attack. Sadly I can’t say that anymore.

 

I was pretty happy before. I had our future mapped out with University Courses and Nursery places and frivolous thoughts of saving for a new bed or a cheap camping holiday for next year.

 

Then the S.21 was served and thinking about the next few months was enough to make my stomach churn. The future got put on hold. The application to University withdrawn and the nursery search halted. Stress and insomnia were becoming a daily theme.

 

One morning as I was getting ready to go out with my son I relalised I felt shakey. I couldn’t pin point it but I felt overly cautious despite happily going about the usual morning tasks. I hadn’t been dwelling on anything in particular but suddenly I felt something was ‘wrong’ 

 

I tried to shake it off and carry on locating the lost shoe and the matching sock we needed. Until I started to feel a pain in my chest. It seemed an effort to breath. I felt I’d forgotten how to take a deep breath and I couldn’t make my lungs fill with air.

 

Quietly I shut the front room door and stood still in the hallway trying to process what was going on. Was I having a heart attack? Why couldn’t I breath? Had I developed asthma all of a sudden? Why couldn’t I breath? What was happening? My mind was racing and I was scared!

 

I was worried that I might collapse and my son would be all alone until my daughter got home from school.

 

I sat down on the floor and felt more afraid then I ever had. It took every ounce of control to pull in a big breath. To slow down my breathing. Crying silent tears I spent 20 minutes in the hallway trying to focus on my son playing the other side of the door. And it eased. I don’t know how or what I did to stop it but slowly I started to breath properly. I felt shakey and anxious but I pulled myself together and went back to my day although I couldn’t leave the house afterwards.

 

I think I knew as I was calming down that it was a panic attack. I convinced myself that day that it was a one-off due to stress and lack of sleep. I was wrong. It doesn’t happen daily but it is frequent enough to make me feel anxious about leaving the house some days. They seem to come from no where and I’m scared it will happen in the middle of the playpark and I’ll scare the kids or something.

 

Throughout this whole thing I’ve been reluctant to talk to my doctor. I’ve been hesitant to admit this is happening – the stress, the sleeplessness and now the panic attacks are things I’ve felt unable to share. They have affected my daily life. I’ve had to cut back on some volunteering opportunities which I had been enjoying and which were a part of my ‘path to Uni plan’. It makes me feel like I’m letting people down. It makes me feel like I should just ‘get on with it’ and people suffer worst fates then what I am dealing with.

 

So I paint on that smile. I tell people “Oh, I’m coping fine! Don’t have much choice do I? You know me, just getting on with it as usual!”

 

And they seem to be buying it.

 

Maybe I should start an acting career or something.

 

Thank heavens for anonymous bloggs which will not be shared with family!

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