This is a bit of a personal post and I am sorry about being absent but my first year university exams took over my life. SO SORRY, I LOVE YOU ALL.
A few weeks ago I went out on a night out with my university flat mates and in hindsight I really should not have gone because I wasn’t really feeling a night out. I am an introvert at heart and some social situations really drain me and all day I was feeling drained from reality. Drifting through the day in a dream like state, my mind was overwhelmed with perplexing thoughts and crippling anxiety with regards to my coursework load and the dreaded aspect of exam looming over my head. However I am also the type of person that cannot say no to people if they want to me do something (within reason) , so I put on a happy persona and acted like everything was okay, when in reality all I could think about was crawling into a dark corner and crying for a while.
So as the night progressed I continued to act happy and focused all of my attention on making sure my flat mate Natalie was okay (both of us had just returned to university after our granddad being terrifyingly ill). My mum and step dad always joke around that I am like an agony aunt because my friends always seem to come to me, I know everyone hates to see other people sad but when people I love and care about are trapped within their own sadness I feel like I HAVE to make them happy. I feel compelled to make them feel loved and know I am there for them because I know what it is like to be consumed by complete and utter loneliness.
I continued to participate in the drinking games while keeping an eye on my flat mate, she seemed like she was having a really good night so I just backed away and made sure I was there for her if she needed me. This one particular flat mate is prone to walking off on a night out and finding other people to be with, which I never mind due to the fact we are students wanting to met new people (definitely more her than me) and there was a group of us going out so I would be with someone…(or so I thought).
A while after arriving at the club, two of my friends went upstairs to the rock and roll floor and Natalie and I were downstairs with the more mainstream club songs dancing, at this point I was briefly enjoying my night, while dancing like a fool. One paradoxical thing about me is that I act like I really do not care what people think of me, so I can cut shaped like a fool on the dance floor but then seconds later my mind catches up with my actions and shouts at me to act normal.
I think this is what triggered my panic attack alongside with the feeling of suffocation due to the fact it was soo busy. If you do not know a panic attack is a sudden rush of adrenaline caused by an uncontrollable amount of anxiety. My friend also walked off with a boy so I left alone being pushed and shoved by drunk people which was making me feel really helpless, lost and suffocated. My heart began to palpitate an uncontrollable amount which was making it impossible for me to breath and steady myself. I remember becoming really dizzy and begging myself to find people to help me, I was trying to see through the tear in order to text people. I felt like such an idiot for being in the middle of a club and being nearly curled over with fear, with make up all over my face, while struggling to grasp any breath I could. I somehow staggered upstairs to try and find my friends and when I did I nearly collapsed because everything had gotten too much; I could not see, hear or speak through the pounding of my heart, the lack of oxygen and the constant pool of tears. A bombardment of negative thoughts acted as constant reminder that I was being an embarrassment and that my friends would not like me anymore. I had the urgent feeling that I needed to escape, I had to undo my shirts top buttons in order to gain some control and calm down. For some reason whenever I have a panic attack I find it comforting to rub my neck, maybe in that state of mind I think it will help to rub my neck with my shaky hands, I know it sounds silly and I cannot explain why I do it.
Part of me wanted to leave the venue but the other half did not want to ruin my friends night so when I regained control over myself I went to the toilets and cried there because I felt so weak and embarrassed by my actions. Later I found my friends again and acted like everything was perfect when in fact the whole night was eating at me and my anxiety levels were still on high alert, I felt too fragile.
We later found Natalie again after she walked off with a boy and she was crying about her granddad and although I desperately wanted to leave and be alone to wallow in embarrassment, I had to put my friend first and make sure she was okay. So we got a taxi and I tucked her up in bed safety because she was far too drunk to collect her thoughts properly.
I just want anyone who is reading this to know that it is okay if you suffer with anxiety / panic attacks. Did you know 1 in 4 people suffer with a mental illness like anxiety? You will be okay, I promise. Normally I am a happy, chirpy person but sometimes my anxiety takes over and if that happens to you, please seek help because you should not suffer alone. Even if you want to talk to someone and feel like you have no one, drop me an email and I will try my hardest to help you out. For a while I think I will stick to my books rather than going out to a club.