It's been a long, long time since I've had a panic attack. Now by panic attack I don't mean a vision of a 1950's kitchen advert where the pristine woman is screaming, clutching her cheeks because her cake is burnt; not an overblown desire for attention; not an 'oh for fuck's sake pull yourself together' attack. I mean a Panic Attack.
On reflection I should have seen the signs. I should have noticed that I was withdrawing from the world, that I had unexplained tiredness, lack of concentration, upset tummy (I was literally inhaling immodium), tearful, overwhelming guilt and sadness and a complete inability to make any decisions. The thing is I had always linked insomnia to my mental health. If I wasn't sleeping there was a problem. But I am sleeping, too much if anything and it was only today that I realised that that mad, nut job moment I had recently was a) a panic attack and b) the start of another breakdown.
I'm not being melodramatic, I am not writing this for sympathy. I am doing this to help me process it and perhaps help someone else by making them see they aren't alone.
But back to the panic attack. It was a weird one really, it had been building slowly over time and at its worst I was completely unable to control my breathing, my crying and the pain in my chest (from the breathing) was immense. The lack of control at that point in time was terrifying. Also I knew that I couldn't escape anywhere; I knew I had to deal with it then and there. That was tough. It took every ounce of self control to get the breathing back to normal, to stop feeling like I was hyperventilating. The crying was harder, everyone knows that when that peach starts flowing it's not going to stop for anything.
The worst thing though about all this mental shit is the control, or should I say lack of it. Today I sat on the side of the bed for 45 minutes in silence trying to convince myself I am fine, that it's just been a tough few months, a shitty time of year. But all I did was realise that I am feeling exactly the same as I did 3 1/2 years ago. And that's ok. I survived, indeed thrived after that so the potential for me when I come through this is amazing. And that is what I have to focus on.
So. I apologise in advance for the plethora of inspirational quotes (sorry Rosie!) but they help. And if anyone is up for a walk and to either listen, or just let me be totally silent then you're going to literally have to force me out the house as right now I just want to hide. Forever.