It all started when I was 12 years old, I can remember it exactly, what I was doing and where. Not the day it happened, but the month was January of 2006.
Me and a friend both went to see the King Kong movie in Collingwood, that starred Jack Black, and others. My mother was in another theatre, watching a different movie. It was near the end of the movie, where King Kong is on top of the Empire State Building, and the planes flying around. That is when I started to feel hot, my heart beating fast, dizziness or light headiness. I got up from my seat, telling my friend had to go to the washroom, wasn’t feeling well, so she came with me. I walked quickly out of the theatre and up the stairs to the washroom where I put cold water on my face and was breathing heavily. I came back downstairs and my mom was there. I told her what happened, and we just went home.
That was the first time ever that I experienced it, but we didn’t know at that time that is what it was. After that day it started happening it at night, either before I fell asleep or waking up in the middle of the night I would suddenly just be shaking, teeth chattering, breathing heavy, hot, dizzy, heart beating fast. I would run down stairs to my dad and mom and they would hold me and tell me to breathe. After a couple of nights of that, my mother was the one that probably searched up the symptoms I had and told me it was hyperventilating. And at that time she was in my room, because I wanted her to be there… and even then I still would run down stairs to my dad, with her following behind, they then proceeded to give me a bag and it would help me, as I breathed in and out into it.
It never happened during the day, then one time I was at school, or going to school and I felt it. This was near the ending of my public school days, before I would be going into grade 9. My mother would pick me up from school. My principle was very understanding and helpful, same as my teacher.
I graduated from public school, where the graduation ceremony, had a problem, where I had to walk out, with my mother and catch myself, which I did, and went back inside. I didn’t go to the dance. Also at that time me and my friends got back together, as friends (but that is another story I’ll talk about in my blog)
During the Summer, I had a few episodes of course, and it was getting worse. I started carrying things with me.
- Water bottle (I’d either drink it, but if I was in an anxiety attack I would pour it over my head.)
- Purse (Normal thing to carry)
- and a few other things I cannot remember.
Then High School came and I had problems there. On the orientation day, I had trouble I had anxiety attacks, and I think we still thought it was hyperventilation. Then the first day of High School came around and I had one on the bus, and I couldn’t sit in the back where the High School were suppose to sit, so I was allowed to sit in the front. I couldn’t get to my math class on the third floor, because I was having trouble. After a couple weeks or months, the teachers asked what was wrong. I started to explain what I was feeling, then this one teacher that helped with the special ed High School students, told me and my mother one time that I had this thing called anxiety attacks, and that she would try to help me get to class.
This was also the year that I had my first crush, and met some of my friends that I am still friends with. They would eat in a certain part of the hallway at lunch, and I didn’t show up and they came and looked for me and sat down where I was sitting and asked what was wrong. I already told my one friend, the first friend I made there, already what happened, because this was a few months or so into High School, and I told the rest of them, and they were supportive and didn’t put me down or anything. Christmas came around and everything was fine.
By this time I was talking to a therapist for teens and learning techniques on how to handle anxiety attacks.
In January of 2007 my family and I went to Orlando, Florida to Disney worlds. This was the peak of my anxiety attacks. We were walking onto the plane and I was already beginning to show signs of my attacks coming on. My mother could tell as well. As we sat down I started crying and screaming, “I can’t do it!” the stewardess came and talked to my mother about what was wrong with me and if I were a danger to the other passengers, and my mother told her no and that I had anxiety attacks. Soon I calmed down, as my mother had a little battery operated fan and had it on my face as I held my dad’s hand as we took off. Once in the sky, the stewardess brought me a pillow and a blanket and I fell asleep. When we landed the stewardess told me I did a great job, and a woman told my mother, how I was so brave and that she was afraid of flying and seeing me, who was screaming and crying, and staying on the plane, though I was scared, helped her through it. She also before we took off gave us her bottle of rescue remedy. I’ll always remember her telling my mother that, which my mother told me later that day in Florida. It makes me proud to know I helped someone with their fear of flying, just because I was having an anxiety attack and stuff and staying on the plane. Through out the trip in Disney, I would have the odd anxiety attack, but not much. Soon we were home and I got a new hair style and clothes and started wearing make-up, and I started feeling better, but I still was having trouble.
I couldn’t go on the school bus, and my mother would drive me to school, and some times will get into school, but my mother would have to sit in the parking lot of the school, before she would leave for work, and other times, I couldn’t get into the school and we would have to go home. One time my mother was angry, or maybe more frustrated, that I didn’t get into the school. I was crying all the way home. Once we arrived she went up stairs and I went to the kitchen and sat at the table crying. I remember thinking about taking a knife and you know stabbing myself, I actually grabbed one, because I thought I was a disappointment to my mother. (My father was overseas) but I quickly put the knife down and went upstairs to talk to my mom, which I did. And when I told her about the knife, she started laughing, because we both know that I wouldn’t because my anxiety attacks are because I am/was scared of dying. Which made me laugh, and I never had those thoughts again. Also what stopped me from going into depression was listening to the Beatles, and that is why I became a major Beatles fan, buying every movie about them, made by them. Every book I could get my hand on, and posters.
I really have to thank my mom for her support, she would leave her job and come pick me up or bring me to her work, and her boss understood.
Then my therapist said that I should go on pills, which I did, after I learned a lot of the techniques and though it helped, I still would have problems. I still couldn’t get to the third floor of the school for my math class, and at this time I was able to go into this room called the DI Unit, and work there. The teacher bringing me my work.
It was in grade 10 when, still having problems, that I was assigned a helper, who would walk with me to class and stay there and then she would slowly stop staying in class, and then she just would walk with me to class, this helped. We would also go to the third floor slowly on the period I would have it. I have to thank her a lot, and if I did good, she would take me out and buy lunch with me. I miss her, and would love to thank her for what she had done for me. So thank you Katie 🙂 You helped me a lot back then. I also got an IPA (I think that is what the initials are) for school, where I could leave anytime during the class, without asking, if I had a problem, and if I were late it would be okay. A lot of times, even thought I knew I had that in place for me, I still asked, and even though some teachers didn’t understand why I kept asking, I would tell them I’m sorry and that it was a way to keep myself calm (this especially went for my last year of high school in my math class on the third floor).
In grade 11 I was having no trouble, going to class, getting my first boyfriend, and did the normal skipping of classes, having one teacher annoyed at me because she knew that I did.
In 2009 before school, on August 9 to August 18 me, my mother, father and sister went to England. We traveled from London, to Liverpool, to Carlisle, to some place in Scotland where mom’s relatives lived before going to Glascow taking a plane from there to London, in the morning, then to Toronto.
In grade 12 I was fine as well, walking downtown from the school still like the year before, hanging on the third floor, and getting to all my classes. And I passed every single one.
I graduated in 2010. And inbetween then and now, not much has happened.
I do get those odd attacks, but it is usually during my PMS stage and that’s it. Or if I’m nervous or excited and I’m holding it all in… I think I get the feelings a little confused and it turns into an anxiety attack, but it doesn’t last long, because either I start singing or I cry (which to me feels good because it releases all the stress right away) and then I’m better. Even listening to my mother saying I can do it, when I call her when I’m walking past my comfort zone.
I am very thankful of my entire family, and my friends who have helped me. My therapist I had when I was 15-16 Melody Robinson, you were a great help!
To all the teachers I had that were patient with me and tried to help me as best as they could, thank you.
Thank you for reading, and I hope that my story can help you.