It’s closing on two years since I got my real diagnosis of Generalised Anxiety Disorder. I’d known for a long time that something was wrong. I’d waken in the morning with a heavy body. By that I mean a body that is wanting to stay in bed, stay safe and not have to deal with anything. This didn’t happen every day but just now and again.
Before the diagnosis I couldn’t explain why. It just happened. The year before the diagnosis – early 2014 – I had gone through a trauma at work and the stress had caused a chest infection that would take six weeks to resolve.
I hadn’t thought that stress could cause a chest infection but I mentioned it to a friend and she said that stress manifests itself in many ways and causing the body to slow down for a bit was a way of dealing with it. On thinking about it…I agree. I could have powered on but my body said no. It said I had to stop and take care of myself. It was almost a warning in a way.
The chest infection had taken me to hospital at first. Me mother had phoned NHS24 who wouldn’t come out as it was my chest and wanted me to be seen in person. So off me and the faither went to the Western General. I thought it was the flu but I was over-ruled by the doctor there and and put on antibiotics. The wrong ones it would turn out.
Two more doses of antibiotics and I was ready to go back to work. I didn’t think I was coughing but colleagues told me I was, and badly. Amazing what you get used to!
In the final quarter of 2013 I had a problem. A change at work. Not a change I agreed with at the time but which was forced upon me. This was the stress that caused my chest infection and six weeks later I started my new placement within my job.
September 2014 I hadn’t been feeling great for a long time. Something wasn’t right. I couldn’t put a finger on it. I wasn’t living. I was going to work and coming home and isolating myself. I was going out on my weekend off and whenever I could and making an arse of myself, every time. I was angry. I didn’t know why. I was in control and then the switch clicked to off. A stupid time in my life. We all have them, I don’t regret it. I just don’t want someone else to live it.
Everything should have worked, I believed. I thought a couple of weeks off work would be fine. I was wrong.
September 13th 2014. Cowdenbeath at Easter Road. Half time 1-0 for the Hibees. I was gone. The panic attack had taken over. I couldn’t sit still, I couldn’t stand still and I sat in First Aid. I sat and I stood and I wandered about. The paramedics came in and did my obs. I went to the toilet, I came back out. I heard the cheers from the fans. I was lying on a bed when the score came in. We’d won.
I was still in a panic attack. I was asked if I wanted to be taken to hospital. I wanted to mostly because I thought the journey would also put in time to ease off the panic attack.
When I arrived at the Royal Infirmary my awesome paramedic handed me over and I was sat on a seat in the ED. I was aware that there was a bit of an emergency going on as a few rugby players were in. A clash in a game, I assumed at the time.
Well, me, cowering in a cubicle was nothing compared to that. A nurse/doctor – no one said who she was – came in and introduced herself. I don’t remember what she was. She took my obs. She handed me a urine collection kit and sent me to the toilet.
I did my duty and returned to my cubicle to find another patient and his wife there. Busy? Yes. Need to relegate me to not being able to find out my result? None.
I was sat on a chair in the reception area when a nurse? doctor? came over and didn’t introduce themselves and said that my urine was clear and I was free to go if I had someone to pick me up. Not wanting to spend a moment more there I said my dad was waiting on me.
I didn’t know that the buses from the Royal had moved from one side of the Infirmary to the other. I asked the very helpful guide inside the hospital where the buses were going from now and he helped me. Thank you, I wish I knew your name.
I found the buses waiting for departure. I asked one driver if he went into town. He said no and offered no help. He drove off.
For a moment, remember that I am a person who has been hospitalised because of a panic attack. In my current thought of mind at the time, I was happy to sleep at the side of the road. All I wanted to be was home and asleep. Asleep would have done it.
Thankfully a driver told me he went to the Waverley and I got on that bus and that night I got home.
I was exhausted.
The following day at work I would get in trouble for being off sick.