Sunday, 12 April 2015

Panic Attacks

January 2009. Boarding Cunards Queen Victoria leaving Southampton for New York

The goddess drove me to the cruise ship terminal in Southampton as I had decided the only way to write this story was to make it part of an adventure. So off I went, all alone, on a big scary ship.  As I placed my hand luggage on the security scanner I started to shake, more on the inside than the outside.  I felt hot, my chest was beating and I felt dizzy. Shit I am having a panic attack.  I walk through the scanner and as my hand luggage pops out of the scanner it is taken to a desk and I am beckoned over.   

They search my bag.  I smile; my heart is trying to explode, sweat is running down my armpits and my legs are weak.

At last I am free. I to rush to my steerage class cabin, lie down on the bed and use my panic attack abdominal breathing technique to calm down.  My acupuncturist says rubbing the soles of your feet on the ground whilst sat stimulates a reduction in anxiety also, but I hadn't met her at this point. Panic Attacks have been a feature of my life from an early age.

My first recollection of such an attack was at the age of 8.  We lived in a council house in Featherstone West Yorkshire.  A small mining town with a population of 15,000 famous for its Rugby team which had won many honours against the giants of the game.  My father was captain of the team.  This particular evening my dad was out.

I was watching telly with my two younger brothers in bed asleep.  My mother, heavily pregnant was somewhere.

‘Colin’ she shouted ‘quick get the phone number from the mantelpiece, go next door (we didn't have a phone) and call the midwife.  I am going into labour’.  

Shit I am alive, I felt my heart beating in my chest for the first time ever, my knees felt weak and I couldn't breathe.  I ran, found a scrappy piece of paper and ran next door.  ‘Can I please use your phone my mum is having a baby’   I dialled the number only to get the answer 'Yorkshire Imperial Metals'; my dad’s factory.  'My mum’s having a baby' I screamed. 'Sorry son I can’t help your dads not here' came back.  Why the neighbours did nothing at this point I do not know to this day.

Panic, home where my mother is now on the bed saying 'please help I need the midwife'.  No other number.  The doctors, I know where it is.   I ran half a mile, banged on the door and yelled ‘help my mother is having a baby'.  

A woman came back with me, no car, we ran all the way back.  The woman said 'boil the kettle and wait outside the door'.  I remember thinking this must all be my fault and should 8 year old's really be boiling kettles.

At approximately 10pm that evening my sister Mandy was born. 

Two weeks before sailing I had sat with Mandy  while she had chemotherapy following the spreading of her breast cancer.

And the point I am making is:

If you are going to take 2 grams of weed away with you it’s best not left in your hand luggage, no matter how well hidden.

Have a good week.

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