Living with Anxiety – Karl part 4

What is a panic attack / Anxiety situation?

A large percentage of people in the UK will suffer from a panic attack at some point during their life. and pretty much everyone will have felt the feelings of anxiety. So what is Anxiety? well its a total normal natural instinct, you may have heard of the “Fight or Flight” response, you know when you feel the flutters of fear in your belly and really need to get out of that situation. Most feel it before maybe an exam or perhaps a driving test. Well imagine your sat happily watching your favourite TV program, nice and happy at home, then you get that sudden feeling and start thinking to yourself “hmm I’m a little scared right now, and I don’t know why”. That’s Anxiety. It is usually brought on by a thought process or trigger. You may not (usually) be aware of that thought but it has visited your mind and its there to stay.

Now a Panic attack is a totally different animal. A panic attack is sudden and uncontrollable fear. A feeling of impending doom. your heart races you feel like you are going to die (in my case anyway, I will get to that later.) As I said in my last post my first panic attack was in the hospital. I would say that was a pretty normal response to what had happened in the last 12 hours.

I am going to tell you how I feel during my episodes of Anxiety and Panic. I can’t and won’t say this is the same for everyone who suffers, I can only speak from my experiences. so here goes.

My first (none hospital) panic attack happened in possibly the worst place possible, It was aboard a fishing boat in the north sea. (I don’t do things by half.)

Three of us (me along with two good friends) had gone for a week away, a week of sea fishing in Filey. we did some beach casting, we had a few beers, it was a jolly time. We decided that we would book onto a boat of of Bridlington for a day catching Cod and Mackerel.  We turned up at 6am at the harbour to meet the captain and set off on our voyage to the fishable waters of the north sea. I remember most of the trip out, it was quiet pleasant until. Well I felt something stirring in the pit of my belly. then it hit me like a train. I was not going to return. I was about to die. I then pretty much lost it.  It all starts with biting my lip, and looking around for a safe place, a way to escape.  They had to pin me to the deck of the boat, my friend later told me he thought I was going to jump overboard. I remember it very clearly, it was as if my mind no longer had control of my body. My whole body shook, my breathing got faster and faster, and with several people holding me down, I could hear the Captain radioing the mainland. As was the practise then I was given a bag to breath into (this isn’t done anymore, it increases CO2 in the blood) now remember this was a fishing boat, they don’t carry a whole load of brown paper bags, so I got a plastic bag with fish guts in the bottom (yummy.)

Fair play to the RNLI they where pretty quick (I think). I was put on oxygen and transferred to what I can only call a dingy. (that was pretty scary on its own) and I was whisked across the sea to a waiting ambulance parked on the beach. then onto a the hospital for a dose of Valium before I was released to fight another day.

Now this moment in my life (I think) has more influence to my problems today then when I was stabbed. I was suddenly afraid of having panic attacks. A fear of fear sounds pretty silly to me but its the truth.