The reason my anxiety was triggered in the first place was when the third UK lockdown happened and I was unable to see my boyfriend, friends or sister for weeks. At this time I felt lost and slightly trapped in my home. Over time I lost my appetite and even going out shopping became a challenge.
Since lockdown has ended I have gone out a few times and been fine, however I have also had days where I have been extremely anxious, sometimes resulting in me cancelling last minute. Going out has become a big struggle for me. My life before lockdown consisted of non-stop busy weeks, meeting friends as much as possible and making plans constantly, a full day at home was very rare for me.
At this moment in time it can be so scary questioning whether you will ever be able to enjoy life again. I have days where I break down, days where I get scared about never feeling excited about life again, days where I physically don’t want to talk to anyone on the phone or in person because I am worried I’ll bring them down or not be able to be myself around them. The way I get through these days is by reminding myself of my achievements.
Yes, I panicked a little and felt slightly anxious all day on a family day out at the beach, but I still went, that’s an achievement in itself!
Yes, I got ready for lunch with friends and stood at my door for 20 minutes before convincing myself I couldn’t do it, but the next day I still got up and pushed myself to go shopping with my sister.
Yes, I went out for a meal and couldn’t eat my food, but at home I’m now able to eat properly again.
It’s all part of the process, just like we adapted to being at home, we will once again be able to adapt to the independence of normal life.
I have written this on a bad anxiety day, I went to the shops for 5 minutes and had to leave, then had a breakdown. Even on a day like this I am SO determined to get my life back.
Having supportive people around really helps. When I broke down about having to leave the shops early my mum said, “well you still went didn’t you? Try again next time”. When I wanted to spend the day indoors after a long day out the day before, my boyfriend said, “well we did a lot yesterday that’s enough of an achievement for this week”. When I cancelled on my friend last minute she said “we can always meet next week when you feel better”.
At the time anxiety makes you feel like you’re going to feel this way forever. Having those people around you to constantly support you, try to understand what your going through and remind you that you can always try again next time is SO important. If they truly care about you they will wait, they will reschedule and they will understand that this isn’t you right now, but that doesn’t make you any less of the person you are.
Sometimes talking to friends and family isn’t enough. Not everyone can relate to your anxiety, even those who may suffer themselves. Everyone experiences it differently. I finally had the courage to reach out for help and yet seven weeks later I am still waiting!
It can be so frustrating being put on a waiting list, especially when its for something that seems to be controlling your life every day! Here are a few ways I have been dealing with my anxiety whilst waiting…
Yoga – I find this really helps calm me down in a moment of panic.
Daily outings – even if its just a 10 minute walk! It’s so easy to spend days in the house without realising you haven’t been out because of lockdown. Make sure you make this a priority, it will really help, even with your overall mood.
If you have a really bad day, accept it and try again tomorrow. Not every day is the same, don’t feel like you’ve let yourself down just for having one bad day when you’ve done so well with all the others!
Take note of the good days! Remind yourself that these do happen!
Write down the things that make you feel good and do them more often!
Talk to friends and family about how you’re feeling. I find when I keep my anxiety to myself it builds up in my head as something much worse than it is!
Plan out your day, keep busy! This may not work for everyone but I find when I have my day planned out I don’t worry so much about sitting and overthinking!
If you can’t finish something because you begin to feel anxious, stop and try again when you feel better, because you will! I am currently completing a masters, which has been such a challenge. I have had many days where I have struggled to concentrate and had to stop work completely which is so difficult when I have such a large workload, however I find that taking that break is necessary. Carrying on will make you more anxious, resulting in bad results. It is better to take a step away from the situation, calm down and return when you know you can work to your full potential.
Open the window, step outside, get fresh air! I always find the cold air helps calm me down!
Breatheeee! Practice deep breathing, through your nose and out of your mouth. Slowing down your breathing will really help your whole body relax!
As I mentioned, different things work for different people so some of these methods may not work for everyone, but throughout lockdown I have found they have really helped me!
Anxiety can be so scary. It can cause you to feel physical sensations that make you think there is something wrong with you or that you are dying.
The first time I had a panic attack I was rushed to hospital as I hyperventilated, causing my whole body to go numb, it was the scariest day of my life! At this time I had no idea what anxiety was, I was in Italy with no access to WIFI to even research it! For four weeks straight I continued to have panic attacks every day.
This continued when I returned home. This was a really scary time for me. My parents and my home became my comfort zone, I got nervous every time I went out and I felt like I would never get my independence back! It was the worst feeling! Despite this, I did overcome this, after a few sessions of counselling, pushing myself to go out of my comfort zone and learning how to control panic attacks I was able to get my life back together. I went on holiday without my family, got excited for days out again and even moved out.
From 2016 to 2020 I did not have a panic attack. As soon as the third UK lockdown hit I was triggered once again. I realise that over the years I have forgotten how scary anxiety really is.
At first I was attempting to push it to the side, telling myself it was just a bad day and tomorrow would be better. It did not get better it just got worse. I decided to get counselling, however due to long waiting lists, I am still waiting 7 weeks later…
Feeling like this every day is so draining and anyone that is currently or has previously experienced this will know that, no matter how hard it gets, it does get better! The reason I am able to get through this period now is because I know that 5 years ago I was feeling the exact same way. Hopeless. I felt like I would never be able to live a normal life again or socialise normally again, but that is NOT TRUE!
I am really nervous about socialising again, going back to normal life, getting the train by myself, going away etc. but I know that one day I will look back at how nervous I was and laugh! There is no rush to go back to normality, take one day at a time and if you really can’t do it, try again tomorrow.
Think back to that time in your life where you felt like you could do anything, and remember that you will feel like that again one day!
It’s been 5 years since my last panic attack. In that time I forgot how scary anxiety can be.
Lockdown has affected so many people’s mental health, including mine. As much as I thought I had it under control in the first and second UK lockdown, it has really hit me in the third. Completing a masters degree during a pandemic is not only challenging due to the lack of support provided from universities, it is also mentally draining having the same routine every day, no socialisation and no escape from the screen.
In December 2020 someone close to me was rushed to hospital due to Covid-19. This came as a major shock as not only were they were young and healthy, they were also doing all they could to keep themselves and their family safe from the virus. Thankfully they recovered well, however, it was only a few weeks later I received the news that someone else I knew had passed away due to Covid-19. This news was not only devastating to hear, but it triggered my first panic attack in 5 years.
Socialising, travelling and working have all been major distractions for me over the years, distractions that could make a bad day go away or just feel a little better. Lockdown has made it very difficult to replace these distractions, causing my anxiety to take over. Anxiety affects everyone differently, personally I have suffered a lot with lack of appetite and restlessness. This makes completing a masters degree even harder.
Despite this, there are a few remedies I have undertaken including, yoga, painting, daily walks, reading and meditation. I find these can really help calm me down in a moment of panic, especially yoga.
It is a difficult time right now for everyone and despite feeling extremely drained, I am DETERMINED I will get through this! I will get back to the being the girl that was prepared to get on an 11 hour flight away from my family 1 year ago!
Things always get better, I know this because I know that 5 years ago they DID GET BETTER!
I hope that I can soon write an updated post on how I overcame this unexpected hurdle.
3 years ago today I was having the worst summer of my life in Italy, being rushed to hospital during a panic attack and then having continuous panic attacks every day. This year I made changes that allowed me to move on from this.
4 months ago I was finishing my second year of university with a part time retail job, feeling like I wasn’t doing enough with my life.
I couldn’t travel due to my anxiety, and with the degree I was working towards I felt like my level of experience wasn’t good enough.
I don’t know what it was but one day I decided I didn’t want to feel like this anymore. I got up and told myself that if I want things to change then I needed to make those changes.
I began applying for internships and looking into possible holidays to see if I could find a good starting point.
The first major change that occurred was when I received amazing news about gettingYeah an internship. I was given the opportunity to be surrounded by lovely people and to work in an amazing environment where I could put more of my skills to use. In addition to this I was offered a part time job at the business.
After having this boost of positivity I decided to book a holiday with my boyfriend, on a plane! We chose Portugal, it was only a short flight and for 5 nights so I knew it was a realistic start.
Only a few weeks later this gave me the confidence to book another holiday with some friends to Spain, this was another short flight and only for 6 nights.
Surprisingly enough, before Portugal I was no where near as nervous as I thought I’d be. In the company of my boyfriend I was laughing for majority of the plane journey and had the most amazing holiday without the slightest bit of anxiety.
Additionally, when I went to Spain the anxiety was non existent. I was shocked by the amount of fun I was actually able to have without constant worry and fear going through my head!
The amazing feeling of achievement is indescribable. The person I used to be, who loved to travel and wanted to see the world has finally returned.
3 years ago today I was having the worst summer of my life in Italy, being rushed to hospital with panic attacks every day. Today I am in Italy with my family once again. I have been on 2 holidays by plane and have started a new job. I received a 1st in my second year of uni and I am surrounded by the most amazing friends and family I could ask for.
Don’t let anxiety take over. It can make life feel like a constant chore, but it does get better and there’s always a way out!
Pushing myself to do something as challenging as going to Paris has not only left me with the benefit of feeling overly proud of myself, it has also come with many other positive aspects.
Recently I have gone away with my boyfriend to Paris which was a big thing for me, as I had never been away without my parents before. However going to Paris has made me realise that pushing myself leads to many benefits. Not only do I now want to challenge myself and go to places further away and more exotic, I am also starting to find going away from home very easy.
For my 20th birthday, my best friend got me a spa weekend in Reading, for the two of us. Noting that in the past, even a 20 minute train ride could cause me anxiety, I did not feel the slightest bit anxious when thinking about this trip. Before Paris I had taken many train rides up to Bristol, although they were only 2 hours long I would feel anxious every time. Since Paris, this distance no longer feels bad.
During a stressful period I usually find that I begin to feel more anxious about the slightest things, especially with university deadlines coming up. So to have just a couple of days away from reality was such a breath of fresh air! With my best friend too, it was such a laugh!
As someone who has travelled to many different countries from London, including America, Canada, Tenerife and many more, holidays were always such an exciting time for me, I would literally count down the days. The fact that the excitement I once had has turned to fear is really upsetting. I am eager to change that this year and I am already seeing positive differences.
If there is anything that makes you extremely anxious, I highly recommend pushing yourself because it will only get easier. I understand this can’t relate to every situation but for me, the more I push myself, the less anxiety I feel.
Although I no longer suffer from panic attacks, the events that took place two and a half years ago (when I had my first panic attack that caused me to end up in hospital in Italy) still cause me a lot of anxiety and fear before going on holiday. Simply because I worry that it could happen again.
To celebrate our anniversary of two years, my boyfriend and I decided to go away somewhere. At first it was going to be somewhere close to home, but eventually we decided to go to Paris.
This was going to be the first time I was going to another country without my parents. Therefore this was a big step for me, I knew if I was feeling anxious I could not just go home… I would be so far from home. It was the realisation that I needed to start dealing with these situations on my own (if they were to happen) that pushed me to go. If I want to live my life to the fullest, travel the world and experience so much more, then this was the first step towards doing all of this.
I was so indecisive, I broke down so many times telling myself I could not do it and I was stupid for even considering such a trip. I thought that not going would be better as I wouldn’t have to stress so much about it all. I even booked the hotel with free cancellations so that I could cancel if I changed my mind!
Looking back at it now I am so happy I did not cancel…
It was the night before we were leaving and I had a million thoughts running through my mind. Why didn’t I just say no? Maybe it would have been best if we just did something close by, that way I could avoid this fear and anxiety. After talking to my boyfriend, who was very understanding, I realised that I just needed to go for it and take each step at a time.
Once we had our passports checked I was getting very nervous, however the journey there turned out so much better than I had imagined. We got the Euro star because I get very anxious when going on a plane. This helped a lot, once we arrived we had to get our travel cards and find the route to the hotel. It was all so exciting having to work it all out in a place we had never been before.
The hotel staff were so welcoming, which instantly made me feel safe. Our room was amazing and the whole area was lovely.
Throughout the few days we were there we visited the Mona Lisa, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and many other places. We even went to Disney land which was a massive highlight for me. As someone who loves Disney and Christmas, going there during this period was overwhelming. It was the most amazing day! I didn’t even have a chance to think about my anxiety.
From this trip I realised how much happiness I could have missed out on because of my anxiety. I realised that I can do it! I am now determined to say yes to opportunities like these and ensure that my anxiety doesn’t stop me from living life to the fullest.
I am aiming at going somewhere that involves getting on a plane as this is the next big obstacle I am unsure I could do without my family around me.
I am hoping to travel more and slowly go further from home so that one day going on holiday will cause me to be full of excitement again and not anxiety, no matter how far away I go.
I encourage anyone who worries about travelling to just go for it, after achieving something like this the feeling was amazing.
After my eventful summer in Italy (previous blog post) I continued to suffer from panic attacks and struggled to eat. Although they did happen less often, as time went by I still couldn’t figure out why.
It got to the point where I was getting symptoms of a panic attack even when I didn’t feel anxious. I would feel dizzy, get random pins and needles in my hands, feel tired and down all the time and I even lost my appetite more than I already had.
I continued to have no control whatsoever over this, after being told so many times that it was ‘just anxiety’ I was constantly feeling down, I felt like I would never get over it. This was when I decided to go back to the doctors.
After getting some blood tests done I was told my vitamin B12 was extremely low, to the point where I had to have injections to boost it up, as vitamin tablets would not be efficient enough and would basically do nothing at this point. I had to have six injections done over two weeks, however as I was going on holiday for three weeks this made this process very confusing. Not only did I have to wait till I returned to get the full amount of injections done, I also had to wait till I got back for blood test results to see if I had pernicious anaemia. If I did this would mean my body was unable to absorb B12, causing the deficiency.
If I did have pernicious anaemia I would have had to have injections every 3 months for the rest of my life. As someone who struggles with injections, this was a big thing for me to face.
Fortunately, once I returned I was so happy to hear that I did not have pernicious anaemia and the cause of my B12 deficiency was due to my diet. As I had been eating so little since my anxiety attack in Italy this had lead on to this. In order to recover from this I had to change my diet and eat more foods containing B12, I also had to return in six months to be sure my new diet had worked and my B12 levels remained high.
From this point forward I continued to have my injections till all six were complete. I went on another holiday to Tenerife and managed to enjoy myself, eating a reasonable amount. After six months I returned to the doctors and was told my B12 levels were back to normal. I did begin to feel much better and I noticed a massive change in being able to control my anxiety, this was the start of getting my life back together.
Although people are quick to tell you it is ‘just anxiety’, if you feel like it could be more than that go to the doctors and ask to get some blood tests done. Vitamin deficiencies can cause you to feel different in ways that can increase your anxiety. I went to the doctors so many times before this and was told it was just anxiety, however it was only when I was given blood tests that I found out it was actually more than that.
So this is more of a negative story… when it all began. It started when I was doing my A Levels in 2016. Towards the end of Year 12 I began feeling anxious when taking exams, I would feel trapped even when simply sitting in a class room. I was so dedicated to do well that I was stressed out on a daily basis. Once the summer holidays had started I felt as though this stress was still with me. I couldn’t seem to find a way to relax. As it was getting closer to my holiday it began to get worse.
I had a tight feeling in my throat that wouldn’t go away, it put me off eating and made me worry about feeling sick when I ate. I am very scared of throwing up (I try to avoid it at all costs).
I was worried about feeling sick in the car, even though I never usually suffer from this. To prevent throwing up I decided I wouldn’t eat when travelling in the car, only when we were stopped… This was a bad idea! Not eating actually made me physically feel horrible to the point where I could not eat, and because I had eaten so little that week it did not help…
One day went by in the car, I couldn’t bring myself to eat even when we were stopped for food, I couldn’t even finish a cracker. I had about half a cracker, I told myself I would eat at the hotel and I would feel better then. However, once we were at the hotel I still struggled to eat, I did not feel hungry at all. That night I barely slept, I felt horrible. My chest felt tight, my hands were feeling ‘tingly’ and I felt restless, it is hard to describe but I had never felt like this before. I woke up around 5 and lay in bed until it was time to leave.
We got in the car and made our way to our destination. Once we arrived at our family home, dinner was ready. I sat down in front of my food and looked around me, everyone had clearly been hungry, they were eating away after such a long journey. All these thoughts were going through my head making me wonder why I did not feel hungry and why the food did not look the slightest bit appealing to me! Then it all started…
I tried to take my first bite of food, lifting my fork as my hand was shaking. Suddenly I got the ‘tingly’ feeling in my hands again, this time much worse, like pins and needles. I decided to stand up, and as I did I began to feel faint. All I could think was that I needed to get away from the food, but at the same time I was telling myself I had to eat as it had been such a long time since I had, but why couldn’t I?
I was told to go and lie on the bed next to the fan but the fan wasn’t helping! Nothing seemed to be helping! The feeling was so strange, I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I began breathing heavily, the numbness in my hands increased and moved up my arms and across my body. At this point I could not feel a thing, I felt like I was dying…
My legs were numb, my hands were curled up and numb as I had no control over them, or any part of my body. I could not even talk as my face went completely numb, my stomach felt like it wasn’t there, making it so much harder to breathe. I tried to shout “what is wrong with me”, but I could barely get the words out. My Mum called for someone to help, my family came rushing in as my mum stared at me in shock not knowing what was happening. I heard my dad yelling at my granddad to tell the ambulance to hurry up whilst telling me to slow down my breathing and stay awake as I could feel my eyes shutting.
By the time the ambulance arrived I began to feel my legs again, I had regained control of my hands and I was sat there wondering what had just happened. Once the situation was explained the first thing they asked was if I suffer from anxiety, which I replied yes but I had never suffered with major panic attacks. I was taken to the hospital and checked over, the doctors told me it was ‘just’ a panic attack. I was given a drink to calm me down and went home again, once I was able to walk properly.
Although the doctors had reassured me I was fine, I had never experienced anything like this before so for them to tell me it was ‘just anxiety’ wasn’t enough for me to believe. I didn’t know a panic attack could make you feel this bad. I was staying in Italy for four weeks, I could barely talk to my friends due to the lack of access to the internet, meaning I could barely research any of this.
For the rest of the holiday I continued to struggle with eating, although I did manage to eat a little more each day. I felt so alone, no one seemed to understand. My panic attacks continued to happen pretty much every day, I was convinced this feeling could not just be anxiety, I thought something was wrong with me. Some days I would cope a lot better and others would be really bad again, I always felt like I needed to be near a hospital in case it all happened again. I called a few help lines but this still didn’t feel like enough…
The holiday eventually came to an end and I was glad to be going home. The journey home was much better, although the fear of it all happening again never left my mind. I went on to get counselling, Everything I had experienced was explained to me, making me understand how a panic attack can make you feel and how to try and control it. It took me a while but eventually I improved, the panic attacks got better and I was able to eat properly again.
Today, I no longer suffer from panic attacks, however going on holiday or away from home does give me a lot of anxiety, and it gets me down because I worry that this event will happen again, even two years on this still affects me. I have managed to go on a few family holidays since, I have not suffered from panic attacks but I have struggled to eat and I usually lose weight when I am away.
However I am improving. Recently I moved out, which was a worry for me, however it has allowed me to realise I am capable of this! I also managed to go away without my family, which was something that I worried about for weeks, but I was fine! When I came back it was the most amazing feeling, knowing that I had been able to do this! Now I am hoping to do a lot more travelling, with and without my family. I am hoping to get to a point where this event no longer stops me from seeing the world and living my life to the fullest.
I will explain my process of improvement in more detail in another blog, I also aim to post about holidays I will be going on and how I manage to cope. 🙂
My health has always been good, I had never been rushed to hospital until the day I had my first panic attack, and it was all down to anxiety…
The aim of this blog is to share my story of how I dealt with anxiety everyday and was able to overcome it.
I aim to talk about how it started, life events that were affected, how it affected the people around me and most importantly how I overcame it.
Anxiety differs between people, before I experience my first panic attack I never understood it. I would see people having panic attacks at school and I would hear about it and think nothing of it. I can now say for a fact that if I had not experienced it myself I would never understand what a person goes through when having a panic attack, and how horrific the feeling is. In addition to this, not only did it affect me, but it also affected my family and the people around me. I felt bad for making them worry, I went through a period of not even understanding it myself which made it so much worse!
In 2016 I experienced a major panic attack for the first time (which will be explained in more detail), after being rushed to the hospital and informed that it was just a panic attack this changed my perception and understanding of what I thought anxiety was… Looking back at this period of time, I cannot imagine how I got through every day with constant anxiety. I am so proud of the person I am today and how far I have come. I am slowly pushing myself to do things that I would never have dreamed of doing and once achieving them the feeling is more amazing than I could ever describe.
It has been more than a year and a half since my last panic attack. I now study at University and working in a part time job, meaning I am travelling on a daily basis. I no longer worry about having panic attacks, I have moved away from home and I am pushing myself to take part in as much as I can to live my life to the fullest.