Updated: Mar 16, 2020
I was around 23 years old when I had a mental breakdown...
I don’t recall my first ever panic attack but I certainly remember getting to the stage where they took over my life. Being at work after a heavy weekend and enduring a continuous cycle of panic attack after panic attack until I could no longer function.
I’ll be honest with you here, it was after a couple of years of caning it that the wheels really started to fall off. My first proper clubbing experience was at Slinky in Bournemouth aged 15 (1998) and I absolutely loved it! Trance classics were my first love and there was no better feeling than standing; hands in the air on a Friday night. I didn’t take any recreational drugs back then, this didn’t come until a few years later at around 20, but when I started, it was so amazing, I didn’t stop. Every weekend I’d pop pills whilst dancing the night away, becoming best friends with complete strangers and feeling a part of something big, beautiful, inclusive, euphoric, amazing and loving. My serotonin levels must have been a shambles, but actually, it was when I started on the white stuff that anxiety really kicked in.
It was only ever recreational but the weekly usage put me in a bad place. So... there I was, struggling so badly that one day, whilst at work, I broke down in tears, held my hands up and said - I’m in trouble and I can no longer cope with what I’m experiencing.
I was given a lift home, fessed up to my Mum and booked an appointment with the doctor. That time of my life is a bit of a blur but I had to give up smoking as it made me anxious, stop drinking for at least a year as I couldn’t bear feeling out of control and I certainly had to give up the drugs! I was in a kinda horrible zombie/dream state... hyper sensitive to reality. I couldn’t just get on and live, my mind over thought everything - breathing, moving, eating, speaking, sleeping (when I could sleep). It wasn’t until about a year later (and I even remember the day) that I turned to my boyfriend at the time and said - I think I feel normal-ish! It’s really hard to explain those feelings unless you’ve been through it, but that’s about the best I can do. I was just so hypersensitive to everything. I couldn’t function normally. My mind was always racing. My heart was always pounding. I was always so hyper aware. I could never just breathe. Never just float through the day.
At my lowest point I remember being in the Cross (club) in London and experiencing a feeling of utter helplessness. I was totally overwhelmed by life and the thought of having to carry on was exhausting. I don’t think I ever thought about actually ending my life but I did really struggle to see how I was going to cope with it and endure everyday with everyday tasks.
I was petrified of going mad, of losing my mind and although I was only sent to a counsellor once she told me that it’s probably just the drugs and that I wasn’t indeed going nuts. In fact one piece of advice that always stuck with me is ‘if you are going mad, you will not know you’re going mad so if you think you’re going mad, you’re probably not’.
I’d say it took me about 8 years to feel ‘normal’ again as anxiety and panic attacks plagued me for quite some time after the breakdown. I never stuck with medication and instead I just took it slowly until the symptoms eventually eased.
Hypnotherapy was something I tried and during the 2nd or 3rd time I experienced what I can only describe as a crushed feeling in my chest and vibrations from my head to my toes. My whole body was buzzing/vibrating like mad! It freaked me out so much that I asked him to bring me out of it and I never went back BUT I think I definitely released something that day and ended up significantly better In the months following that experience! I still have echos from those days but thankfully panic attacks are VERY rare. I still have to live with Pure-O (I’ll go through that in another post one day) and I’m very prone to insomnia (again for another day) but my mind is predominantly healthy these days which I’m eternally grateful for 🙏🏻
We really just want to document these things in case there is someone out there thinking that they are alone! The internet is such a powerful thing and we hope that someone reads these posts and realises that there is always an end in sight 😊