I had my first Anxiety Attack when I was 19.
Me and my then boyfriend, let’s call him E., were going on a camping trip to the South of France. This was our first vacation together, and we were excited. To make the trip we had borrowed my Mothers little Rover. I remember what I wore the day we left. I had a G-SUS skirt on that was made from a white material that was a bit plastic like and came to the ankles with big zippers that you could open on each side. Early 2000’s sexy.
We went on our way. After navigating the Paris tunnel system that gets you to the Route du Soleil, things started to get a bit uncomfortable. First, the car did not have a sound system so we brought a boom box that I had on my lap. Secondly the car did not have airco and it was 35 degrees Celsius on the highway, so it was hot hot hot in the car. At some point, I noticed that the battery from the boom box had leaked battery fluid on my skirt and for some reason that scared me. Somewhere in the back of my mind a little demon kept saying that the battery fluid would make me sick, it would penetrate my skin and kill me.
We were still driving when I noticed that I could not talk anymore, I did not have enough breath to talk. I actually could not breathe, or move. My heart started pounding and an overwhelming nausea came over me. I thought that was it, I would die right there in the car. Then I could move again and just wanted to get out of the car and run, run away, from the worst feeling I had ever had in my life.
E., by now, started to notice that something was wrong with me. Mostly because I was screaming that I needed to get out of the car NOW. Since the gas stations on this route are far apart it took quite some screaming before we finally reached a place where I could get out. Poor guy. Not knowing what to do he called my parents who immediately recognised that I was having an anxiety attack and assured him it would pass. It did not.
I do not remember much of the rest of the vacation, except that it got worse. I could not relax, I seemed to be stuck in anxiety and I mostly remember not wanting to get in the car. Quite problematic when you are on a camping holiday. In the end my parents and E. decided that I would be put on the train in Orleans to Utrecht where my Uncle would pick me up and deliver me to my parents on Terschelling.
When I got on the train I had eaten next to nothing for 4 days. In the train, next to me sat this big beautiful African woman. She held me in her arms for most of the trip saying “sweety, it will be ok” over and over again, all the way to Utrecht. And then gave me a Snickers because I needed to keep my sugar levels up. This really happened. People like that do exist.
After that it took me three more months on Terschelling in my mother’s arms before I could face the real world again.
Anxiety is a Bitch