Most of the time I have my anxiety relatively well under control, but every now and then it slips out and I find that I am entirely overwhelmed by my situation.
Such was the case today. Victoria station, rush hour. I normally avoid rush hour, or plan ahead, but today I was exhausted, my legs were already wobbly, my breathing already shallow and, whilst it shouldn’t be a contributing factor, my phone was dead. I had totally failed to consider that when I got off my train I would be entering the mayhem and anxiety inducing chaos of Victoria station in rush hour.
It is hard to adequately explain what happens when an anxiety attack hits, but here goes.
It starts with the image of hundreds of people, many with suitcases, ahead. Then you are amongst them, all walking at different speeds, some pushing, some dawdling, some deciding to stop directly ahead. A ton of noise all bouncing around and the battle to find the exit.
All of this causes my brain to freeze, the oxygen is apparently sucked out of the air, my legs get wobblier, my vision goes slightly blurry. Each bump and shove causes me to mutter and mumble aloud – nothing distinct really, but a vague sort of panic bought on by the chaos of the situation.
I find a quiet (ish) corner and breathe slowly for a few minutes, convincing myself that the world isn’t actually falling apart, it is possible to reach the bus and then the safety of home, and that actually if I just take a few steps I will be fine.
When I got home, I was all wound up. Writing this has calmed me down. Now I might have a proper conversation with my husband, and a cuddle with the dog and admire the rainbow and stunning sky out of the window.
Interestingly, in the midst of this panic, I overheard a snippet of conversation, and it stuck. So, to the man running a half marathon on the 29th November, I hope it goes well!