My first panic attack

I come from a home where mental health issues have always been something we have known about but never really discussed. Growing up I was determined that I would never allow myself to be stressed or be “depressed”.

When I became a manager, I had to regularly deal with mental health challenges. Except I didn’t really understand what they were. As a result, all I saw was that people needed to give themselves a shake and get on with things. Finally there came a time when I realised that I needed to be more empathetic and more aware that people struggled with things.

About 3 months ago, I was dealing with a situation, and  I was feeling stressed and anxious. Hence my first panic attack at the grand old age of 41. Visually I could see my arm moving, mentally it felt like it weighed 30 stone and I couldn’t move it. I felt myself catching my breath and the person in the room with me reacted and got me a glass of water and after a few minutes it was fine. But I laughed it off that I was “an old man” and then moved on with my day. When I went home that night and it was massively on my mind.

I had a chat with Be supported the next day about what happened. They were the first ones to make me realise that I was genuinely struggling. I ended up calling them again, realising that I needed to speak to my doctor.  I called my GP and went and had a sit down. It was one of those light bulb moments for me. Even the simple step of talking to someone made me realise that I was not in a good place. I then took the step of contacting my line manager and having a conversation with him around what I had going on and how I was feeling. He was superb, related to me in terms of issues he had dealt with himself and helped put some things in perspective for me.

Over the next few days I was able to take the time to myself and I took a few days off and spent some time with my kids and spent some time in the fresh air. It was brilliant. I genuinely felt better and got a sense of perspective.

I think the best thing that happened for me was that I got to realise how many people are so willing to help. From my manager, to Be supported, people couldn’t have been more supportive. I was actually caught off guard at how decent people are. I underestimated the power of a chat and it’s effectiveness  in helping you move forward.

If you or someone you know needs support call this number. 08000728090

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