No More Panic > News > Rachel’s Story

Rachel’s Story

It all started when my uncle died in December 2002, he was healthy, funny, a hard worker.. It was a week before Christmas exactly and he came home from work one night feeling a little ill, went to take a bath and a lie down. My aunty heard him fall and he couldn’t move, he was taken the hospital and died instantly. He had died of a brain haemorrhage. The whole family were devastated and how quickly it had happened was really scar

…… A year later I started having mild headaches, only 17 years old didn’t think anything of it at first. Then in January 2004 I went out one night,
got a little merry and stopped over at my friends house. The next day I had work, I worked at the local supermarket on the deli counter at weekends and nights whilst I attended college. I got there on the Sunday afternoon feeling fine, no hangover or anything. As it was a Sunday there is only one member of staff so I usually did the afternoons on my own and another girl did the mornings. After being there 30 minutes I suddenly started to feel sick, my hands started shaking, I felt dizzy and as though I couldn’t hold myself up. I thought I was about the faint, my legs went all wobbly and my mouth went really dry. I attempted serving two customers my hands trembling the whole time and both told me I looked ill and pale! I went into the back and sat down and colleagues asked if I was ok. I got sent home not long after- you can imagine how awful I felt leaving the counter unattended for the entire afternoon.I also got accused of going into work “drunk” and got threatened if it wasn’t for who I was, I would have been sacked!
I spent the rest of the day in my bed shaking and feeling frightened that I was going to die. After that day I had panic attacks very often. I seen the doctor quite a lot and told him my feelings, I felt like my world was falling apart and spent most nights crying in my room because I was still so
scared that what happened to my uncle would happen to myself. The doctor started off putting me on tranquillisers to calm me down, this actually
helped me but he took me off them so suddenly that I had withdrawal symptoms afterwards and took me back to square one.

I used to walk around town feeling as though I wasn’t actually there, It was a weird feeling. I felt as though I was floating. It was a horrible time for me, I felt as though I couldn’t talk to anyone as they never listened. My parents used to get really upset and I felt stupid talking to friends..
I was only 17, Isn’t this what happens to you later in life. I was the one always laughing and joking, no worries at all.
My college work started to get affected as I was missing lessons, I used to sit there feeling dizzy as ever, not taking in a word my tutor was
saying and I was too busy worrying about how I felt, and found myself going home. it’s the place you feel safe! I became over concerned about my health and noticed any tiny changes. I also avoided doing certain things and I changed my routine a lot. I always used to lock the door when I went to the bathroom for a shower etc, but I never locked the door as I was scared something would happen to me whilst in the bathroom and nobody would be able to get to me and help if the door was locked. I also went to bed with my door open so I could easily get out if I needed to. I used to go and sit with people so I wasn’t on my own as I as afraid.
I was even scared of going in the shower, I was literally in there for 2 minutes to wash my hair and straight out again. I remember one bad week
when I just didn’t care about anything, My hair was a state, I just couldn’t be bothered to do anything, I always cared about my appearance. This
wasn’t me at all.. I dread to think how awful I looked one day when I visited the doctors.

He then put me on an antidepressant, this didn’t help much. He put me on them in March 2004. He also referred me to a counsellor, who was really
helpful. I seen her for about 6 weeks and she made me much better. I eventually started feeling ok at the beginning of this year and reduced
my tablets to every other day. I came off them in June 2005, I did this by myself, I felt ready to come off them. I went on holiday with the girls
in July and started my new job as a travel agent which I really enjoy. The last year of college went really well and I enjoyed it much more.

The past month I have started to feel a little tense. Especially the last week. I’ve learnt it’s true that you can only eliminate these feelings
yourself. No kidding though, there wasn’t and never will be a day that goes by without me thinking of these headaches as they really do stay with

Symptoms I have felt are as follows (There’s a lot!) …

Headaches … These are the worst for me. It isn’t a usual everyday type headache. It feels stuffy, tight and unpleasant. You feel as though you
want to tear your hair out. I always rub my heads and try to massage it but never helps. It’s the type of headache that painkillers don’t help.

Dizziness… Another horrible one. You feel as though you’re about to faint. End up sitting down to take the fear away. Eyes don’t focus right. I
feel more alert and jumpy.

Numbness… I get numbness in the sides of my face which also affects my ear and strains the neck. Neck aches down one side. Shoulders ache and
skin feels really tender. It sometimes feels bruised when you press. My legs and arms sometimes tingle and stiff. I have laid in bed and not been able to move or talk sometimes which scared the hell outta me, that usually lasts no longer than 5 seconds but seems like forever.

Stomach pains…indigestion and heartburn from panicking.

Breathing… breathing is affected. Sometimes feels as though I can’t breathe.

Chest pains… Chest goes tight which makes breathing a lot harder. Then you think you’re having a heart attack.

Shaking… when I feel nervous I feel really shaky, and you get the “get me outta here” feeling.

Eyes.. They sometimes feel as though they’re about to pop out! Feel dry and tired.

Sleeping affected… Usually get scared closer to when you’re going to sleep. You panic so much that something will happen that you can’t concentrate on anything else. I usually panic that much my head shakes and then I have to snap myself out of it!

Feeling emotional… Feeling that nothing will ever go back to normal again, never be the same as you were before it all happened. It’s strange, no
matter how many times people tell you you’re going to be alright, you don’t believe them. I thought I was going crazy, dying, mental, losing my
memory… all kinds of things. Lately I’ve felt like it again but you need to tell yourself you’ll be ok, as it’s something you have to do yourself. I
even had a customer the other day and felt as though I couldn’t swallow and I wasn’t listening to a word the poor lady was saying as I was concentrating on how awful I felt, it was like I couldn’t wait to get rid of her, my toes curl up with how tense I feel.

I also think that these kind of web pages help and you can talk to people in similar situations and it’s good to realise you aren’t on your own.

I hope you all get through your panic attacks etc, I would love to hear from people in similar situations as me and the kind of symptoms etc you all
have as we all need a bit of reassurance. don’t we? Please contact at

Thanks. Rachel.