There must be something about the 4th of February. Firstly it’s my lovely father-in-law’s birthday, secondly it’s 11 years ago since I started the blog! I remember the day all too well, we’d recently moved house, my parents weren’t well and I just decided to type. There was no plan, it was just a way to get things out of my head. I was gobsmacked when someone left a comment because I honestly didn’t think anyone was reading it.

As well as the blog being 11 today I realised that it’s 3 years since I had my first panic attack – thanks Facebook for the reminder. The photo above showed up and it was a few hours after it was taken that I had the attack. I didn’t know what was happening to me at the time although I was feeling very anxious in the lead up to it. I was out to dinner with a group I was part of and when everyone moved from the restaurant to the bar I got overwhelmed. I felt like a fish out of water (nothing to do with the group, just me), it was almost like I was behind a glass screen, I could see everything but I couldn’t communicate with anyone.

Everything got amplified; the noise, the light, the feelings of hopelessness. I had a pain in my chest and a thumping in my head, breathing was difficult and I kind of felt like I was going to pass out – or die. I managed to get home, I’ve no idea how because I was in an awful state. Panic attacks really are horrible things, I didn’t have any control over when I had them, I knew when they were going to start though because my leg would start to shake and the pain in my chest would start. Even typing this is quite difficult but as with all the blogs I write about mental health I hope it might help someone.

I know there are many people going through similar and maybe they can’t speak about it for whatever reason. I haven’t had a panic attack for quite some time now, the anxiety still hangs around occasionally – usually when I think I’m doing OK but I think it gives me a little nudge to tell me not to get too big for my boots. It’s been a real learning curve though, learning how to deal with things, learning what works for me, trying to relax- easier said than done sometimes.

So I suppose part of the reason for writing this post is to show you that people with depression and anxiety can be smiling. A lot of us put on a mask and you’d have no idea what was going on in their head. Another reason for writing is to let you know things can and do get better, it’s not easy I know but there is hope.

Thanks for reading.

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