My two years of hell - a new reader's story

by M V
(UK)

34 years old male.
Three years ago I was working in a very well paid position as an investment broker selling property. Although the stress for me was moderate, I could handle this as I have worked in stressful jobs all my life.

Suddenly one day at work while sat at my computer I began to get chest pains and a strange feeling like I was going to pass out. I worked all day with this heavy burning sensation and tried to ignore it. Next day I went back to work and in my morning meeting it began again. I felt tense and tingling and felt faint. Midway through the meeting I walked out of the office embarrassed in front off 16 colleagues and my director. It was an open plan office and I felt I was going to pass out and couldn't control myself with the hot flush. After 30mins I came back In and all eyes were on me with the look on my collegeues faces wanting to know what happened. I explained and apologised to my director for my quick exit and continued my daily tasks of emails and calls to clients with the thought of what just happened to me.

That same evening I drove home and began my 30min journey home. Within 10mins I reached the motorway and joined a queue of traffic for my exit. On approach, seeing the red taillights, the hot flushes began and I could not breathe. My windows would not open on my car either. I began to panic and I was feeling dizzy and faint. I drove to my left on the hard shoulder to pass the traffic and the drivers on my right began to sound their horns to tell me I am jumping the queue. I parked up and exited my car and began to feel more dizzy so I sat down on the side of the motorway in my suit. A few cars pulled over to help and I was lucky as an ambulance was passing and stopped to help. I was assisted Into the ambulance where they asked me questions about where I'd been and was going to. They took my blood pressure and it was 192. They told me I was lucky I have not had a stroke or heart attack. After my blood pressure came down I insisted that I go home as my wife and 2 year old son would be worried where I was. I drove home at a snails pace and told my wife what happened. Next day I went to the doctors - he told me I've had an anxiety attack. He gave me some depression tablets, some gaviscon and omeprazole to calm the acid in my stomach.

I took two days off and went back to work. The next day was no different. My morning meeting started and I was on edge already. I felt like I wanted to leave the office again but contained myself. My shirt was wet with sweat and I was feeling the panic again.

After the meeting ended I went outside to get fresh air and began to cry and I'm a fully grown man and I didn't even know why I was crying.

The panic attacks began to get frequent at work on the way to work and on the way home. At this point I was losing hope and thought I was dying. I resigned from my position which broke me even more as I would have no income but I couldn't go on like this anymore.

I considered I was the luckiest man alive - I had a lovely home, great marriage, a son and good job.

Two weeks later I decided to go for a break to get away from everything and spend time with my wife and son at my mother in laws house in London. As I loaded the bags the panic started again. I reached the motorway and I felt a horrible stomach churning sensation accompanied by chest pain and tingling.

I decided to turn back as I didn't want to take any risk to drive with my son and wife on the long journey In case something went wrong (my wife didn't have a license to drive).

I told my wife I'm sorry as I know she was looking forward to seeing her mother so I told her that my parents would take her to London and I would stay at home and try to recover from what was happening to me.

That same day my sister decided to take me out for dinner. Upon arriving at the restaurant I began to feel another panic attack coming on. I felt so ill I had to call an ambulance. They came and I was shaking and sweating. They did all the vital checks in the car park and said I've had another panic attack. My sister drove me home. I didn't eat that night and went to bed.

Two weeks passed and I was having attacks once a day. Then the dreaded news....

I would ring my wife every other day to see how my son and she were doing, everything seemed fine. My father said he had job in London perhaps he can pick my wife and son up as I'm unable to drive and bring them back home. I said yes sure you can call her while I make coffee for us both.

My father rang and she told him she ain't coming back to live with me.

I entered the garage to find my father collapsed on the floor from the shock of the news. I woke him and called him an ambulance. I rang my wife and asked her what she had said, she told me she didn't want to live with me anymore.

From that day my life began to crumble and my health went from bad to worse. I began to have panic attacks everyday all day. The meds I had been prescribed I wasn't taking as they gave me bad headaches and strange nightmares, I hardly slept. Worried all day and night.

I became a googler trying to find out what was wrong with me, to save my marriage and get well quick. I was unable to drive. If I could I'd jump in the car and drive 300 miles to speak with my wife and sort the matter out.

I felt like a rope had been tied around my waist, pulling me back with the anxiety.

I went back to my doctor and told him my situation has got worse. I told him my wife had left. He was also my wife's doctor and he was in shock also as he thought we were a very nice couple and he knew us very well.

He prescribed me diazepam that day and I didn't want to take one as I was scared I was falling into all these drugs.

My smoking and drinking became heavy, for the next couple of months my anxiety was through the roof.

I refused to take any medication as I didn't want to be hooked.

I took the omeprazole as my stomach acid was very bad with the knots.

Eventually I thought I had cancer of the stomach as my mother's brother passed away with it at a very young age.

I had an endoscopy twice to check and it was clear.

I was convinced something was not right and they had missed something.

From this point I was having panic attacks just about everywhere -at home, out shopping, the amount of time I had been to AE was stupid. I was known by my first name by the staff at the hospital I had been that many times in the weeks.

I was convinced I was going mad.

Then the day came I had to be strong. I had to do this for me. I had to come out of this hell.

I stopped taking all medicine.

I began to do something I had no clue over, I began to meditate.

I stopped all coffee, tea and anything that caused anxiety including smoking.

I'd go on YouTube and listened to meditation before I fell asleep this included listening to Alan Watts philosophy, Claire Weekes.

I changed my diet and stopped all the junk food.

I still have panic.

Comments for My two years of hell - a new reader's story

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Jun 06, 2015
Thank you for sharing your story...
by: Jude @ anxietyunravelled

... unfortunately, it's not an uncommon one, heart wrenching as it is.

Panic and anxiety always take us by surprise and that creates even more tension, fear and stress, which feeds a terrible, vicious cycle of more and more anxiety and fear. People use the term "it was hell" a lot in everyday life, but there is nothing closer to a hellish experience than suffering panic attacks - an experience of intense fear that seems to happen for no reason and over which you seem to have no control.

Thankfully, you are heading in the right direction now. It may take quite some time for all your symptoms to settle down and eventually disappear, because you have years of stress to unwind. We all develop patterns of tensing up, rushing about, keeping the mind constantly worrying, never learning to deeply relax and leading lifestyles that never allow for moments of peace or doing the things that really nourish us.

The logic of recovery is what will help you get through this, especially when doubt sets in. Your brain needs to keep getting really strong messages that it's OK to stop sending out emergency chemicals. In the face of panic you need to do the counter-intuitive thing - let go. It can take time, you may often doubt you are getting anywhere, but you can definitely recover. Take on board as many of the tips from this site as you feel able to, they will help you along the way.

All the best.

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