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  • rachaeldandy


Updated: Apr 5

One thing I've learned recently is that my story is so common and by me sharing it I have created a safe place for others to share too. I am probably too much of an over-sharer, but is that a bad thing when it comes to mental health? Let's see, feel free to comment in my fourth blog with my story.

My name is Rachael and I suffer with anxiety and now panic attacks following a pulmonary embolism in October 2023. It has been x days since my last panic attack. I feel like I should stand up like I am in an AA meeting. I am in recovery, I am following steps of self care. It has consumed my life at times, it has affected those around me. It has made my life small. I feel like a stranger. I live in fear of the next one.

My panic attacks on the scale are so severe that I was thinking of writing on a card that I could pull out to hand to someone if I had a panic attack in a public place reading ' i suffer with severe panic attacks, there is no need to ring an ambulance, i know how to manage them, just bring me somewhere quiet quickly'. I can't talk when I have them because I can hardly breathe, I have to sit regardless of the situation because I get so weak, I look like I'm dying from the outside holding my painful chest and sweating profusely and gasping for breath , I'd call an ambulance if I saw someone in that state! For me the embarrassment of paramedics being called would be too much to handle on top of what just happened with an audience of strangers looking on.

Eden was opened in November 2023, you see the maths, I am not looking for a medal..My nearest and dearest wanted me to postpone the launch but I was stubborn and pushed through despite being so unwell. I did not want to miss Christmas. I had real anxiety that I wouldn't survive the two thousand heart palpitations I was having on average a day with the blood clots in my right lung. By Christmas the panic attacks were coming in waves, 4-5 in a row, not too dissimilar to contractions. The pain in my chest is the worst pain I have ever felt, I can't breathe, they are traumatic for me and anyone around me.

When you suffer with anxiety you have irrational thoughts, its comes with the territory unfortunately. My thoughts however seemed very rational and they were. I worried about the business I just started - rational! I worried about my health, I just had a pulmonary embolism after years of ill health which had affected already weakened my heart and lungs - rational! It's no wonder I was in the state I was, waking up every morning to immediate feeling of doom.. oh that feeling is just horrific. If you have never suffered with anxiety you are a very fortunate person because it is up there with the worst of the afflictions out there. It's an unwelcome guest who overstays their welcome.

A typical problem solver that I am I was trying to figure out how to fix myself. It took me a while to get to this point I must admit, I definitely hit low point and didn't want to do anything but survive the day. I didn't want to do counselling, just felt it wasn't the right avenue this time. There are times were talking can be good therapy but for this I wanted to focus on wellness and jumped straight into Reiki and self care. I want to incorporate my journey into the business because like my anxiety it's now part of the story. This business was born out of illness. My recent podcast with The Wild Glen, Ann-Marie shares her story which is so similar to mine and we have truly bonded over sharing.

I continue to try and manage my panic attacks, going back to zero when the next one arrives and acceptance that they are still here for now. One day I hope that I will lose count of the days between. One can hope.

I'll finish by saying that I've made some lovely friends in Kilcoole since opening the store, lovely women who pop into the store for a coffee and a chat. It's turning into exactly what I hoped it would be.

Thanks for reading my 4th blog


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