In bed at a reasonable time for once and happily snuggled into the back of my snoring husband, last night I drifted off at around midnight, pondering Caitlin Morans thoughts about shoes (‘If I am going to spunk £500 on a pair of designer shoes, it’s going to be a pair that I can a) dance to ‘Bad Romance’ in, and b) will allow me to run away from a murderer, should one suddenly decide to give chase’.)
At 1am I woke up. My heartbeat pounding through my body, reverberating off my ear drums and so strong it rendered me immobile. My breath caught in my throat, unable to either fill or empty my lungs enough to stop my head spinning. Shaking and covered in sweat I was trapped and could think nothing.
About half an hour later I managed to get up and cling to the banister in a bid to stop myself passing out and tumbling down the stairs in my attempts to get a glass of water. Water and a sit down will make it all better. Yes, a nice cool glass of water and a little sit down. Nothing makes it better really.
Time passes and two hours later I find myself able to breathe steadily again and deeply angry at how unfair panic attacks are. Never mind waking up in the middle of one. No, that’s really not fair. If I had woken up with a murderer standing ominously over my sleeping body, wielding something that glinted in the moonlight, ready to dice me up, only to discover those designer shoes I have on will in no way facilitate my speedy escape…now that would have constituted in a very valid panic attack (no, please, don’t ruin the shoes. Anything but the shoes!). Instead I wake from a dreamless sleep, body reacting to something terrible that just isn’t there.
And so begins the two day slump. Panic attacks are draining buggers. It takes at least 48 hours to catch my breath again, to get my heart rate back to normal. I can still hear it echoing through my body.
Where are they coming from? And the eternal question: WHY?