I’m a Mum of 3 (Evie is 8, Travis is 5 & Betsy is 1, she is our last baby & has definitely made her mark on the family. Mostly because she is usually trapsing mud or dog food around the house – don’t ask). I have a lovely Husband & a pug puppy! Oh, and a cat who doesn’t like anyone, called Kitty – original huh!
A few months ago my life changed. I don’t know how permanent this is but whatever the outcome, my life really HAS changed.
I was diagnosed with early onset Agoraphobia and Panic Disorder.
How has this confident, outgoing, opinionated & bubbly woman become a recluse, an almost house-bound nervous wreck within the space of 5 days? Yes, 5 days…
It all started with a self indulgant trip to the GP after I’d been caught in the middle of a drama at the school gates – completely unintentionally, and over the Easter holidays. I won’t go into detail (I probably will) but let’s just say I wasn’t expecting to then feel nervous about returning to do the school runs. But I was, very much so & so I sought help from a Locum GP who was very quick to prescribe me Sertraline to help me through what I thought would be a short spell of anxiety.
Days 1-3 : I felt no different really, just a little nauseas but nothing I couldn’t handle.
Day 4 : Still nauseas… 🤢
Day 5 : My friend’s wedding – woohoo! How excited I was to be getting all dressed up & put some ACTUAL HEELS ON MY NEGLECTED MUM FEET! Make up all did, brows on fleek – obvs. Totally fake btw, my brows are actually a diabolical sparse mess. On route I started to feel a bit car sick. I suddenly started sweating, almost asking Hubby to pull over, my legs were jelly & I was feeling very jittery. I didn’t even feel like this on my own wedding day.
We arrived & I couldn’t even get out of the car. My Hubby was waiting by the passenger side looking like a massive tit while I was sat with my head between my legs trying to breathe & not vomit. I did eventually get out, I stumbled in and quickly made my way to the toilets (they were VERY posh, too posh to throw up in really, I did feel immense sympathy for the marble tiles knowing they’ll probably have the contents of my breakfast splashed all over them at some point). I sat in a really comfy but very fucking awkwardly positioned chair which faced both the sinks and all 6-7 toilet blocks (just what you need when you feel like shit!) & I tried to compose myself.
I walked back out and nodded at my Husband, who was very confused. I mean, he is used to my weather like changing mood and handles that well, but this was confusing for me too. We queued up ready to enter the ceremony and I looked at my Husband with pure fear and told him I couldn’t go in. “What? Are you serious? Come on, you’re being silly now”. “No seriously, I don’t think I can go in. I feel sick, I think this is a panic attack!” He put his hand over his mouth (not in a ‘awww, my poor Wife, how can I help her’ kinda way, but a ‘we look like absolute twats standing here in full on guest gear and we’re next to go in, and shit, now she’s grabbed a random man & told him she’s having a panic attack…’ kinda way). That random man was the bride’s brother. I handed over the card and we walked back to the car with our heads hanging in shame. If anyone saw us I bet they thought “how embarrassing, turning up to the ceremony to find they were evening guests, ha!”
Then I did what any other 29 year old independant woman with 3 kids would do; rang my Mummy whilst sobbing down the phone making absolutely no sense and rambling on about feeling sick, leaving a wedding and ruining the make up I’d worked so hard on.
As soon as we got home I googled ‘panic attack’, confirmed what I thought & napped. I then read about Sertraline and discovered it can induce panic attacks, a main symptom being nausea.
I stopped taking them and waited for normality to resume. Well, I’m 3 months in and it’s not resumed!
I pretty much cannot leave my house without the anticipation of an anxiety attack now. I have managed the Post Office, our local shop & the school run (just, although that has been hit & miss!). I’m on my last batch of diazepam as the GP are being really ridiculous and claiming I’m becoming dependant, even though I need them (note the sarcasm). In all honesty though – I really do feel like they only just take the edge off the school runs to make them bearable.
In a nut shell, I’m battling. I’m having CBT, on Mirtazapine & trying REALLY hard to get through this. I am determined & strong, I know I can eventually get where I need to be (ironic considering I can barely travel anywhere), but I’m going to beat this. With a massive fucking confidence stick & then I’ll shove it right up Agoraphobia’s arse…
… when I can manage to go outside to find a stick… obvs.