Keith’s Story – Panic Attacks

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.

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2 thoughts on “Keith’s Story – Panic Attacks”

  1. I know a bit about bipolar as my father has had it most of his adult life and has been in and out of the hospital for years. He is also on an array of medication as am I for my OCD I know how much of a crippling illness it can be… And as Bob Marly said you got to keep on struggling on- I hope you have more good days than bad days now that you are medicated

  2. Keith I could relate to your experiences with depression periodically throughout my life and can not thank you enough for sharing your story as it has helped me to not feel so alone as no one in my life has experienced depression /anxiety.This is the first time I have been on no panic and it is so reassuring.I wish you well pam

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