Then suddenly everything fell apart. 

I was in the road to recovery for the flu. I was getting much better and my days were getting busier as I could do more. Then that evening, it could have been the Tuesday or Wednesday, something strange happened. I couldn’t sleep. And not the normal tossing and turning but a panic sort of not being able to sleep. 

After the first night, I wasn’t too bad. I was a little sleepy during the day but then slowly theses panics would come at different times of the day. 

Now, I was confused. This hasn’t happened to me before. Unless there was a meeting I had to go to that I overanalyzed, then once done the attack would go away. 
The second night, the same thing happened. This time the attacks were a little more worse than before. I kept running to my moms bed telling her that I’m dying and that bad stuff were going to happen to me. She got me to calm down and I went back to bed but didn’t sleep again. I just asked my husband to hold me. He could see this was becoming a habit and he was starting to worry. 
Let’s just say that by the third night I didn’t sleep, I was a wreck. The panic attacks were all day and all night. I could not relax. And my appetite decreased to the point of nausea. Just thinking of sleep bought on a panic attack. Thinking of anything really also brought on a panic attack. I felt terrible, my life was over. I really thought this was going to be forever. 
Sunday evening we came back from church and people prayed for me and It was awesome. On the way back home though, such an intense panic came over me, so much so that I was shaking. I just knew I couldn’t go home so my mom drove me to the Blaauberg Netcare 24 hour emergency. They did some normal checks on me and I had to fill out forms. This was the first time I’d even been to a hospital for myself. My husband was there too. 

I messaged my younger sister to tell her were I was, and she said she was headed that way immediately. 

By the time my two younger sisters arrived, there was no way that was my little sister going to miss out the action Lol. 
While the entire family was in the waiting rooms I was talking to a nurse who did an ECG scan for my heart. To check that there is nothing abnormal about my heart. this was just procedure she said and by the looks of things everything was just fine. She then gave me some pills to suck that would help me to calm down. 
After a really long time, well what felt like a really long time a doctor came to assist me. She asked a lot of questions and I explained all the symptoms and troubles I was facing. She asked if I even suffered from anxiety, I said that I did and I was on medication a few years ago. 

This happened all of a sudden. I don’t have a history of panic attacks or feelings of intense fear and helplessness. I have had anxiety before but I weened myself off that medication ages ago. I thought that all anxiety was gone forever. 
I mean I thought I was loosing my mind, that something bad was happening to me. That I needed help immediately. And although I did, the nurses and doctors were calm and collected and it made me feel that they’ve seen things like this before. 
The doctor was taking long and I was panicking again. So I kept looking out for someone to help me. They told me the doctor was busy with an emergency at the back and I said that I totally understood. But sitting there all alone and panicking was not really helping me. My lovely nurse came in and asked if I was doing okay, I said that I wasn’t, that my attacks were coming back. She told me that she’s coming back with more of those pills for me to suck and was wondering if I wanted my family with me. I did not object, I really wanted to see them. But they were only allowed In two at a time. 

I was laying on the hospital bed, my mom having my feet rested on her. After I took two more of those pills, let’s just say I can’t remember much of what happened. Everything was a blur. And that was the night that I truly slept. And for that, you have no idea, just how happy and grateful I was. I was wheeled out in a wheel chair that I don’t remember, I was talking to a Doctor I don’t remember meeting or seeing, I don’t even remember how I got into bed. Just that hands were undressing me and after that I remember nothing. Although, I slept. I really slept. 

Every day i have been getting better. 
Today was a much better day. I can say that I’ve maybe had 10 or so panic attacks. Which is a little considering a while ago I had them all day and only maybe 1 or 2 hours a rest if I was lucky. Today was definitely better. I started back onto the anxiety medication I was previously on. This evening was a little harder. I was crying, I really felt emotional and truly sad. My mom was there for me, talking to me and supporting me. I had a bath and I am In bed now. I haven’t had any panic attacks in bed – which is incredible. I also have medication near my bed in case I do have an attack. 
I truly trust God that I am going to get out of this stronger and greater. I’m so grateful for everyone who has been there for me for these past few days. I can honestly say that I feel myself changed. I am extremely grateful to the point of tears and the fact that my family loves me so much and have been such a support. I tear up throughout the day for random things. But especially when I think of how much i love my family and what they have done for me. 
To anyone who has experienced or still experiencing what I have been going through, I want to tell you that you’re not alone. I thought I was alone, I felt alone. I thought my life was going to be over but it’s not. I know with medication, God and changing my thinking, I can overcome this. And so can you. If it wasn’t for that hospital trip I don’t know what I would have done. So for that I am so grateful and happy to all this people who helped me and where there for me. 

This is really personal for me but I know that being honest and open about tough situations is better than keeping it to oneself. In the end we do need support and help and all the love we can get. 

So thank you for letting me share this with you. And hopefully it can spread awareness on difficult topics like this. 

This experience has humbled me and touched me in such a way that I feel relatable – this weakness gives me a sense of humility, if that makes sense. Living in a sort of hell for the past few days has made me value life and family like I never thought possible. I need them and for the first time in my life I’m accepting help and saying something. Hiding what we truly feel only ends up hurting you mentally or physically. So this experience has really opened my heart and don’t eyes. I feel vulnerable and although it can be scary, if feels good. I’m not ashamed of what happened. Because I know there are others out there who are suffering alone. Please know that you’re not alone. And you are stronger than you think – anxiety is not the end. 

N. A. Valentine xx