Anxiety Can Be Terrifying

This incident happened to me back in 1999 and it really shook me up on so many levels. I was working for a telecommunications call centre and the days were very busy and stressful because all we did was handle customer complaints all day long.

On this particular day, I hadn’t been feeling too well. I had a headache and was feeling a bit nauseous. I also felt somewhat dizzy and this combination made me feel quite disoriented.

I called my team leader over and tried to describe the way I felt as best as I could but I don’t think she really understood. If she had, maybe she would not have let me go out alone. She was also concerned and asked if I wanted to go to the emergency room at the hospital. I was very stubborn with regards to health at the time and said I just wanted to go home and sleep. So she agreed.

I went outside to the footpath to cross the road to wait at the bus stop because I did not drive. As I started to cross the road, I felt very dizzy and everything started spinning. I don’t know how but I made it across the road and staggered to the bus stop where I collapsed. I think I lost consciousness briefly but when I came to, three strangers were trying to help me. They were elderly. Two were female and one was a male. They were trying to find out what was wrong but my words were slurring as I tried to explain. I felt so strange.

They were talking and I felt their words were distorted. One of them went into a shop and came out with a chair for me to sit on. They said I should really go to hospital. They asked where my car was but I don’t have one. I tried to tell them I was trying to get to the bus stop to go home.

One of the women said she would get her car and drive me to the hospital. It was only a 15 minute drive. My legs were like jelly as they all managed to somehow bundle me into the back seat of the car where I could lay down.

Two of the three were husband and wife so together they drove me to the hospital and called a couple of orderlies to help me inside. They brought out a wheel chair and wheeled me inside.

I vaguely recall looking around to thank the kind people who helped me but I couldn’t see them anywhere. I was taken into a room and transferred to a bed. Within a few minutes, a doctor came in to see me.

I was still very disoriented but could talk a little better. I described how I felt… the dizziness and nausea and I felt like I was having a stroke or was maybe even dying because I couldn’t seem to function properly.

The doctor tested my blood pressure and did other tests which I don’t really recall because of the state I was in.

After a little while, he gave me a paper bag and told me to inhale and exhale into it a few times to see if it would help me. I thought he was kidding because it seemed such a stupid thing to do. But I did it and, to my amazement, I started to feel a little better straightaway.

I kept going for a few minutes until he told me to stop. He checked my blood pressure again and then explained that I had a major anxiety attack. At that point in time I had no idea what an anxiety attack even was. He explained it further until I gained a better understanding of what it was and how and why it had made me feel so bad.

He kept me in for a few hours just to be sure that there wasn’t something else wrong that he missed because of the initial diagnosis but that was all it was.

It was such a terrifying ordeal at the time. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I wished I could have thanked the people who had gone out of their way to rescue me in my time of need. I hoped I would see them again one day to thank them.

You just never know when the kindness of strangers will help you and might even save your life. You also never know when you might be in a position to help someone else in their time of crisis. If it wasn’t for those three good Samaritans, I doubt whether I would be here today. So I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

A few years after that, I was officially diagnosed with depression and anxiety but thanks to medication and other treatment, I am now much better.

Since then, I have gone on to help lots of other people via online sites for anxiety and depression. I believe in the concept of “paying it forward.’ You may not always be able to return a kindness shown to you but you can always show kindness to others in their time of need.

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