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.