6 years after my Mum died, I was 22. I was like a champagne bottle ready to pop, pretty much a ticking time bomb. Did I realise what was going on, no. Did I know how to fix it, no.
At this point I hadn't really spoken about the past and what had happened. The people who knew my true feelings I could count on one hand, I felt trapped. The Christmas and New Year of 2011 changed my life. Work that was always busy went absolutely mental and I was taking on way more that I could actually do, working 14hour days with hundreds of miles of driving in between, this was the catalyst.
The symptoms started at Christmas when I had a few days off, I think I was worrying about what I had to do after the break but actually it was a culmination of deeper overriding factors. I was at my limit mentally. I started getting chest pains, ones you would attribute to what I can only assume a heart attack feels like. My head went fuzzy, my heart rate felt like it was beating triple time and my chest felt like someone was ripping me open from the inside. I panicked my Dad, he took me to A&E. They hooked me up on the ECG and sent me home. My results fine. I'm now confused. Symptoms went away for the next few hours, maybe adrenalin. Next day they were back and it was happening again, I just took deep breaths, hospital had told me there was nothing wrong already so I didn't know what I was supposed to do.
Symptoms persisted and I booked an appointment with my GP. He ran a few tests, all fine. He looked me in the eyes and asked me what was wrong, was I stressed at work? Then it all came out, for the first time ever someone had directly asked me what was wrong with me. I broke down. What came next was something that only a professional could have told me. "Look at your work hours and open up about what has happened in the past".
Firstly, I changed certain things about my job, I went to work for somebody else. But that didn't solve it. It took me a further 7 months to start writing this blog and opening my mind. Scary as it was, it changed my life, suddenly people who related were getting in contact, family starting asking me questions. I felt supported and included. Opening up was all I needed to do to push out the demons inside my head.
The NHS kept my Mum alive for 3 years more than she should have lived. A short chat with my GP changed the way I saw my life, more people need to maximise its services. Moreover, it was the family and friends around me that helped me when I needed it most.
Do not suffer in silence like I did for 6 years. Contact the people that can help and free your mind.
Thankfully I've never felt the same since.