Anxiety Attacks

My Journey with Anxiety Attacks

Writing about my experiences helps me process them, and I hope that by sharing my story, I might connect with and help some of you who may be facing similar challenges.

The Unexpected Return of Anxiety

I’ve had my fair share of anxiety attacks over the years. The last significant wave hit back in 2018, and I thought I had it under control. But recently, anxiety has made an unwelcome return. For those who haven’t experienced it, imagine being in a room full of friends or family and suddenly feeling an intense sense of doom. Thoughts like, "No one likes me," or "Everything I say sounds stupid," flood your mind. I’ve had countless moments where I was too afraid to speak up, convinced that no one cared about what I had to say.

Overcoming the Fear of Driving

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced due to my anxiety has been the fear of driving. The thought of being behind the wheel often filled me with a sense of panic, worrying about what might go wrong and how I’d handle it. This fear made it difficult for me to even consider driving as an option.

The Height of My Anxiety

Let’s rewind to 2017, a year when my anxiety reached its peak. I had just been promoted to a manager position at a tech company. While it was an exciting step in my career, it also came with immense pressure and expectations. I often stayed at the office until 11 PM, not because I had more work than usual, but because I felt I wasn’t doing enough. The anxiety of facing another challenging day made it nearly impossible to sleep. I’d often get just an hour of restless sleep before waking up at 8 AM to start the cycle all over again.

During this time, I felt a profound sense of worthlessness. The mere thought of planning to meet friends for drinks or meals filled me with such overwhelming anxiety and dread that I would make excuses to avoid it. Instead of enjoying time with friends, I found myself sitting alone in coffee shops, watching life go by, regretting how my mental health struggles were making me miss out on so many moments.

What is an Anxiety Attack?

An anxiety attack is like a slow build-up of worry and fear that grows over time, often tied to a specific stressor or situation. It’s less intense than a panic attack but can last much longer.

How an Anxiety Attack Feels

  • Restlessness: You feel constantly on edge, like you can’t sit still or relax.
  • Increased Heart Rate: Your heart might beat faster, but not as intensely as during a panic attack.
  • Muscle Tension: Your muscles, especially in your neck, shoulders, or back, feel tight and sore.
  • Fatigue: You feel tired and drained, even if you haven’t done much physically.
  • Difficulty Concentrating: It’s hard to focus, and your mind keeps jumping from one worry to another.
  • Irritability: Little things might make you more easily upset or frustrated.
  • Sleep Problems: You might find it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get restful sleep.
  • Excessive Worry: Your mind is filled with worries about everyday situations or future events, often expecting the worst.

Anxiety attacks can make you feel like you’re carrying a heavy load of worries, making it hard to enjoy the present moment.

A New Chapter in 2024

Fast forward to 2024, and a lot has changed in my life. I’m now married to an incredible woman, and Helperbird, my project, is making a difference for over 900,000 people every week. My new venture, Coffee & Fun, is exploring exciting new technologies. I have wonderful friends both back in Ireland and here in the USA.

Tingling Hands and Overwhelming Dread

But despite all these positives, the past few weeks have been tough. I’ve been waking up with tingling hands and a heavy feeling of dread in my stomach, and all I want to do is go back to bed. This might be the stress from house hunting and the pressures of being self-employed, but I know something isn’t right. This creeping anxiety is different from what I’ve experienced before. It’s more insidious, slowly taking over my mornings and making even simple tasks feel overwhelming. The tingling in my hands is a constant reminder that something is off, and the dread in my stomach makes it hard to find joy in my daily activities. It’s like a dark cloud hanging over my head, and some days, it feels almost impossible to shake off. The anxiety has been so intense that I’ve felt like crying and found myself not wanting to do any work. I’ve also recently started learning to drive again and I’m determined not to let this anxiety interrupt my progress.

That’s why, after years of trying to control it myself and keeping these feelings to myself, I’ve decided to make an appointment with my doctor. I’m hoping to start medication to help manage this overwhelming sense of dread and anxiety. I have so much to be thankful for, and I don’t want this anxiety to hold me back any longer.

Sharing My Story

I decided to share my story because I know I’m not alone. Many people in the tech field struggle with anxiety, and it’s crucial to talk about it openly. My goal is to eventually wrap up my work with Helperbird and set it on a steady course so I can focus on getting my mental health back on track. I want everyone to know that it’s okay to seek help and take steps to improve your well-being. We all deserve to live our lives fully, without being held back by anxiety.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my journey. If you’re experiencing something similar, remember you’re not alone, and it’s perfectly okay to ask for help. Let’s support each other and make mental health a priority. 💖

Feel free to reach out or share your own experiences. We’re in this together!