Recently, I stumbled over a song by Biffy Clyro I could absolutely, totally connect with. I’m sure you’ve experienced something like that before. When you listen to the words of someone, be it in a song, a book or whatever, and you just wanna scream “yes” from the top of your lungs because you feel like that person is exactly speaking your mind. In the case of that song (which is called “Machines”) it doesn’t feel like my current self is speaking. But the self of a couple of months ago. When I was going through my rough patch.
I’ve started falling apart, I’m not savouring life
I’ve forgotten how good it could be to feel alive
That’s exactly how I felt only a while back when I was trying to cope with the aftermath of my breakdown. I don’t think I realized back then how little I was actually living. And how much I was just functioning. I recently talked about that time with the boyfriend and he said that I seemed sad all the time. And I think I was. Even though I tried to have a good time. I tried to enjoy life. But it was SO hard. I seemed fine on the outside, but inside there were demons fighting. Those demons are called panic attacks and I was no stranger to them.
After my grandpa had died when I was 13 I had my first encounter with them. And they accompanied me for years. Years in which I gave up on almost all my hobbies and social life. I was still trying to do things teenagers normally do, but fear was a constant companion for me. Until I decided that this wasn’t the way I wanted to lead my life. And they magically disappeared almost completely. I can tell you the human psyche is a tricky thing! To be honest, I didn’t expect these attacks to ever come back again. Yet they did. During the worst time, I had minor attacks on an almost daily basis, usually on the way to or from work (which tells you a lot about the reasons, I guess). It felt like a weight was pushing on my chest, I wasn’t able to breathe properly and I felt like I was gonna pass out any second. I was close to crying many times. And I just wanted to go home and curl up on my couch. Instead I went to work and functioned the way I was supposed to. In a way, my breakdown came as a relief because it was telling people something wasn’t right with me. It was a cry for help of some sort. People at work were very supportive and I had the greatest support from the boyfriend I could ever imagine. Especially since we hadn’t been together for a very long time back then and I am forever grateful to him for sticking by me. But despite all this the panic wasn’t completely gone for a long time. I forced myself to ignore it. To just do what I wanted to do despite the fear lingering in the background. Sometimes it worked well, others it didn’t. And it took months until I felt that I didn’t have to be scared of life anymore.
When I’m trying to think back to my last panic attack now I can’t even remember the time it happened. It must’ve been some time in early summer. I got through this rough patch. And I can tell you it wasn’t easy. I think the fact that I need to talk about it here now and then speaks for that. It’s something I still need to process. But I gained back my grip on life. I can live my life to the fullest again. I enjoy it with all my heart. I can smile and laugh and fool around again. I wasn’t able to do all these things a while ago. But things have changed so much for the better and I’m glad I didn’t give up hope. And I want to tell you that you shouldn’t either. Whatever it is you’re going through, don’t give up. Hang in there. Get some help if you need to. It’s ok to not be well. There’s no shame about it. It would only be a shame if you gave up on this beautiful live. So just don’t. And let me know if you need to talk.