It was June 2012, I was 49 years and 4 months old and life was OK. Just OK, well OK is OK isn't it, maybe more on that later. Anyway this man, me, 49 years old and some months was driving to work on a Saturday morning like so many other Saturday mornings before, when suddenly as I was only minutes from having left home I knew I was about to die!
I knew there and then as I was driving my car, negotiating traffic and changing lanes that the next few short moments of my life would be my last, very soon I would be dead. I was also very conscious of the fact that I did not want to die alone, I thought of my family, my wife and 2 sons who right now were so far away from me. I was scared, nervous and terrified but knew that while I was about to drop dead I had to get the car over to the left lane to pullover and stop the car, I wasn't about to cause a traffic accident just because I was dying.
So now time is precious, I know I have only moments to live, not minutes but moments. I quickly get the car to the left lane without taking anyone else with me. I turn into a suburban street off the main road and pull over to the side, engine still running, car in park and now I wait to die. As I am waiting I look at the quiet suburban street I have just raced into. I note the serenity of the street and think about the people living there. I wonder who will find my body and what stress I will put those poor unsuspecting souls through as they discover my panicked corpse.
After just milliseconds of sitting in my car and suddenly without thought I push open the car door. I undo my seatbelt and jump out of the car in one hurried and seemingly choreographed movement. I literally shook myself off. I was jumping up and down shaking my entire body and telling myself to fight this, shake it off and be OK. And again, just for a moment as I am shaking off my impending death, my thoughts wondered as to what people living in this street must of thought of this crazy man who had burst into their quiet street and jumping around the front of his car.
All of this took about 15 seconds, 15 seconds of knowing I was going to die and having to get the car off the main road and to be able to jump from the car and shake it off. It was a terrifying personal experience and without doubt the most fearful and scariest moment of my life.
All this happened, all this fear and panic, the fear of dying because as I was driving I felt a muscle twitch in the top of my head. A simple muscle twitch, that's all.
I thought that feeling in my head, that slow moving twitch as I was driving my car to work was the beginning of some type of terrible cerebral occurrence. I thought my brain was exploding from within and I was sure I was about to die.
Truth is of course I wasn't about to die, but as I learned in time I was experiencing my first and terrible anxiety attack. This initial anxiety attack was the result or culmination of several personal unresolved issues that were building probably for some time and it was that moment as I was driving to work that anxiety chose to manifest itself to me. What a ghastly introduction that was!
Whilst I write that 'it was simply anxiety', there is of course nothing simple about anxiety, it has to be as complex as the human brain and life itself, but before you can deal with anxiety and all the horrible effects, you have to simply and maybe with difficulty, accept it. Anxiety can take a long time to resolve and maybe some will never overcome it completely, but the first step to dealing with anxiety is to recognize it, to accept it. You must be to be true to yourself and then you can start to resume and improve your life.
There is of course a lot more to tell about my battle with anxiety, a battle by the way I have 99% kicked and I will in time make it a short story of my battle with anxiety. The story will tell of the things I was sure were going to kill me, the many panic attacks that gripped me and literally tortured me. It will be a story of my bloody awful ride with anxiety and those who were forced to ride it with me, but mostly it is a story of how I could not overcome anxiety until I accepted it.
I accepted my anxiety, I accepted help from others and sought treatment and only then could I start to kick that bloody awful black dog we call anxiety. I am doing well now and want to let others know there is light at the end of the tunnel.