I was 9 years old and on holiday with my parents and my sister at East Runton on the North Norfolk coast. We were taking an early morning walk to Cromer, all of a sudden I felt the need to run and run combined with a feeling that I was going to die, I now know that I had experienced my first panic attack.
This panic attack was the first of many that blighted my life throughout my school years until I was 19.
I was fortunate to have a very good soprano voice and passed an examination to become a chorister in Peterborough Cathedral Choir. I soon became Head Chorister and Soloist. To this day I do not know how I managed for whilst I was in the choir I never had a Panic Attack, my voice broke when I was 15. I went on to take my O levels and passed 9. I then joined the upper 6th form and studied for 2 years for my A levels. There were countless occasions when I had a panic attack during a class and I had to excuse myself to go and hide in the toilets until the panic subsided. Despite these interruptions I passed 2 of the 4 A levels that I sat and on leaving school I took on a full time job as a trainee Pharmacist whilst continuing my studies at a Regional College. By now the frequency of my panic attacks had considerably subsided.
I soon became bored with my job at the chemist and applied for a job as a Production Controller, I was successful and stayed in the job for 5 years. Soon this became the pattern, I would get bored and I would apply for a more senior position in another company. My panic attacks had by now almost disappeared but were replaced by bouts of depression.
I got married in 1966 and 3 years later we had been blessed with 2 children, a boy and a girl. My life became a pattern of changing jobs getting bored and occasional bouts of depression.
I now skip to 2006 when my world fell apart.
My wife and I started arguing and I was going through a period of aggressive behaviour towards her, she finally left me and went to live with my daughter.
I made friends with an Asian taxi driver and soon I was taking loans out to support him and his family. I was made redundant from my job and existed by borrowing more and more money.
To cut a long story short, my family arranged to have me sectioned under the mental health act. I remained in hospital for 3 months during which time I was diagnosed with having Bipolar affective disorder.
My wife and I divorced and I now live in a small 2 bed bungalow very close to my family. My wife and I remain friends and my 2 children and 5 grandchildren visit regularly.
I am taking a regime of drugs to keep me stable and lead a very happy and independent life.