ANXIETY- MY STORY LYNDSEY HESTER
“Anxiety comes in all types of guises. An inspirational story of strength and courage written by one of the strongest women that makes me stronger every day!” - ‘John Hester’.
Anxiety - My story by Lyndsey Hester:
The Doctor was updating the family in the waiting room after my Sister was taken into intensive care. I felt the sudden urge to go to the toilet and ran through to it shaking and sweating and not realising what was happening. I know now that was my first proper panic attack.
That was 14 years ago and I’ve had many since then, all feeling different in many ways but with the typical symptoms. Upset stomach, sweating, heart pumping hard and trying to rip out of my chest, breathing heavily, crying, feeling very flushed, hot and feeling such fear.
Why do people have panic attacks?
About a third of people have one in their lifetime but most of them don’t have a panic disorder. A panic attack is an intense wave of fear characterised by its unexpectedness and debilitating, immobilizing intensity. Your heart pounds, you can’t breathe, and you may feel like you’re dying or going crazy. Panic attacks often strike out of the blue, without any warning, and sometimes with no clear trigger. They may even occur when you’re relaxed or asleep.
A panic attack may be a one-time occurrence, although many people experience repeat episodes. Recurrent panic attacks are often triggered by a specific situation, such as crossing a bridge or speaking in public—especially if that situation has caused a panic attack before. Usually, the panic-inducing situation is one in which you feel endangered and unable to escape, triggering the body’s fight-or-flight response.
You may experience one or more panic attacks, yet be otherwise perfectly happy and healthy. Or your panic attacks may occur as part of another disorder, such as panic disorder, social phobia or depression.
The same year I had that first panic attack I started getting treatment for anxiety and panic disorder. I didn’t Know much about Mental Health then and for the first couple of years I didn’t know how to deal with it. I actually thought I was dying and the Doctors weren’t taken me seriously, I would ring them most days for reassurance but the dose on my medication just kept getting changed. The first medication I took had really horrible side effects and didn’t actually work well for me, I thought I was going crazy. Eventually I was given a medication that suited me better and I had to start the hard work of trying to get back to some normality. I had a young family and I hadn’t left the house in nearly two years.
So I took small steps - literally like just to the car and back or around a few set of houses. With therapy, medication and understanding Mental health better I managed to do more of the normal things again.
Would you believe in the 14 years of having a panic disorder some of the things I have managed to do has included:
- Going to Las Vegas
- Going to Paris
- Going to Crete
- Going to college
- Being a Senior care worker
- Camping with friends
- Starting my own business
- Moving house twice
- Visits to family
- Being the Captain of a rugby team
- Meeting the Scotland International team after a game in Edinburgh.
- Being the President of a rugby club.
- Small things such as going to the hairdressers and shops.
And I have also had to deal with:
- Breaking my back
- My husband having to drive to London to get me after I arrived to see family and broke down.
- My husband having to save me from many situations.
- My Mum passing
- My Sister dying
- Having a major set back with my Mental Health which Included being bed ridden for 16weeks, losing my hair and developing long term gastrointestinal issues from not being able to eat or drink properly.
- Having to cancel our dream family trip to New York two weeks before.
- Not being able to take my daughters to important appointments.
- Not being able to go to the cinema with my family.
- Missing meals out with my family.
These are just some of the things I’ve experienced over the years but I think the point I’m trying to make is that Mental Health problems don’t define who you are. They are something you experience. Yes I have a panic disorder, yes I still have to take medication and work on myself daily, yes some days I don’t want to get out of bed but some days I get out of bed and absolutely smash that day.
If I could tell myself anything from those early days it would be that “your going to face tougher days then you are now but your going to be ok”.
I’m writing this because more people need to hear that they are not alone, that their struggles are real but they too will be ok maybe not today but one day.