“I feel like I’m going to die” I half whispered half-mouthed to my Mum yesterday. As the words left my mouth I realised how bonkers they sounded, but that didn’t change how real it all felt.
It was no real surprise that my anxiety was high. It’s one of the first symptoms I experience when my mental health takes a dive, and I have a lot going on at the moment. I’d noticed other warning signs earlier on in the week like my patience being non-existent, paranoia creeping in, and perhaps most bizarrely, feeling the deepest empathy for people I read about in the news. But all of those warning signs could not prepare me for the physical pain I felt inside me. It was like my insides we being squashed. My organs being starved of everything the needed. Usually, during a panic attack things ease when I am at home – It’s my safe place and it’s easy to shut out the world here, but lay on my bed, I felt like I was being crushed. I’d been feeling like this for about 24 hours, but it was getting worse.
Knowing I had to do the school run at 3, I decided to spend the afternoon being as calm as I could. I felt marginally better as I got ready to leave the house, but as soon as I stepped outside I felt the crushing feeling again. I put my big sunglasses on to try and hide the inevitable tears that would fall at some point. Stood in the playground I started to feel manic. I was with a friend, but I couldn’t make eye contact, and then my husband came over and outed me. “How are you feeling now?”. Not good. It wasn’t long until my eyes had filled with tears, and with my heart feeling like it was going to explode out of my chest I ushered the kids away from the playground amid their protests of *needing* to go to the park.
Back at home, my Mum turned up. I explained about the pain inside me. “I feel like I’m going to die”. I knew it sounded ridiculous as I started to cry. As I unravelled, it became clear that this was indeed anxiety, and not anything more serious, but it was a complete write off of a couple of days.
This morning when I woke up, the pain had lessened and I could breathe again. The anxiety ebbed and flowed as the day went on, but I know that I’m coming out of the other side of it – until the next time.