Skip to main content

Panic Attack

4 min read

This is a story about feeling overwhelmed...


Four days is not enough time to rebuild an entire life from scratch. Four days is not enough time to get all the little pieces that make a complete life into place. Four days is not enough time to cope with the stress and upheaval and not have a nervous breakdown.

In my kitchen sits a washer/dryer which needs unpacking, plumbing in and sliding into place. It's heavy. I'm not sure if I can move it on my own without scratching the kitchen tiles. I don't feel well enough to tackle this job today.

Also in my kitchen sits an enormous pile of cardboard, which needs to be taken to the recycling centre. There's too much here to leave outside my house, getting soggy and wet in the rain. I don't even know on which days the bins get collected anyway.

In my hallway sits a load of Ikea flat-pack furniture which requires assembly. In my haste to order the basic things that I need, I chose a chest-of-drawers that does not fit in my bedroom very well, so this will have to be returned. There's nothing here that I urgently need... I just wanted to try and get this part of the moving in process done and dusted, but I rushed it and screwed up. Now I have created more problems for myself.

In my dining room are the assorted boxes and bags in which I moved my possessions I've managed to hang onto over the years. I've rummaged in the boxes to pull things out which I needed - like saucepans, plates etc. - and otherwise just left this room as a total bombsite, because I don't have any furniture in which to store any of my things yet.

In the space of four days, I've had the heating fixed, the electrics fixed and the telephone and broadband installed. I've had two Ikea deliveries, two deliveries of white goods for the kitchen, plus some other visits that I've probably forgotten in the melee.

Theoretically, I go back to the office tomorrow and act as if nothing has happened. Tomorrow I have to carry on as if everything is normal and under control in my life.

Things do not feel under control.

I want to hide under the duvet for a month.

But I can't afford the time off.

Theoretically now I can begin to find a bit of rhythm and routine. As soon as my washing machine is hooked up, I'm pretty much self-sufficient - I'll be able to cook, clean, sleep and somewhat relax. I have a comfy couch and a comfy bed. I have figured out how to operate the central heating and I've had a couple of log fires.

I am not at all happy about going back to work. I feel very unwell. I feel certain that I'm going to have a panic attack and have to leave, shortly after arriving at the office.

My stable settled secure little world has been rocked by mighty forces and I'm quite disturbed by it. I feel sick.

My feelings are perhaps illustrative of why people don't move house very often and prefer to stay in their comfort zone. It might sound like an enviable ambitious exciting adventure, but the reality has been that most of the time I've felt extremely stressed and anxious.

I guess I hoped to have two settled sorted things in my life - my home and my job - which would allow other things to fall into place, like my mental health, my social life, my physical health and my love life. In reality, I have nothing settled and secure at the moment, but perhaps going back to the office tomorrow will instantly restore a bit of normality to my shattered life.

There are many enviable things about my situation at the moment, so please don't think I'm churlishly complaining... I just bit off a lot more than I could chew.