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I had my first experience of stress induced panic/sickness a few days ago. I was worrying about something I thought was spinning out of control and I felt helpless to stop it.
I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It must have been creeping up on me for a while, but I was either in denial or didn't realise what it was.
Looking back, I think part of me was realising or at least aware of the symptoms getting worse.
I didn't sleep right, I had poor appetite. I was thinking more and more about my situation.
My stress was relating to money, or more specifically, debt.
A few days ago I was waiting in the -6°C weather; my train has just been cancelled due to a technical issue.
I thought, definitely not waiting 30 minutes for the next one, and there's no guarantee it'll show on time. So I started to head home; luckily I live close by.
As soon as I started back, I felt ill and vomited on the street. My first thought was, I'm going home and I'm not leaving my house today, I can't face it. It all came crashing down on me.
The first thing I did when home was feel sorry for myself, brush my teeth, and sat for a few minutes in panic.
Then I did what I recommend anyone does soon as anything like this happens.
I told someone.
Now luckily for me, the best person in the world lives with me and hadn't gone to work yet. My wife.
Now, let me preface to say my wife has depression and anxiety disorders. So if anyone gets it, she does.
We've been together over 5 years and while there are bad days and good days, we always deal with it together. We had been dealing with this debt/money situation together since it had started, and it was making her worse at times, but we always get through it. I don't think either of us realised until then how it was affecting me.
I explained to her how I felt, I explained to her my worries and she listened and showed understanding, which sounds like a small thing, but right then it was the biggest most important thing in the world.
Now being the compassionate person she is, she wanted to just make sure I was OK. We talked and I phoned my work.
I let them know I needed a few days.
My wife also got her practical hat on (and put mine on, too) and we planned how to make things better, even if temporary, to get some breathing space.
- Call creditors
- Call banks
- Get financial advice
The act of taking some practical steps was such a relief, I could see the light again.
My wife was even more positive and upbeat about it. It was helping her, too.
So I say all this to let you know:
It's OK to not be OK.
My advice, though, would be:
- Tell someone, find someone in your support network (friends, family, co-workers)
- Take practical steps, even if it's very small
- You are not alone
- Seek advice
If I didn't have the support I have or advice I've had, I know things would be a lot worse.
There is always light at the end of the tunnel, sometimes you just need help finding it.
Now, I'm not saying everything is perfect; it's not. But compared to how it was when I first got him, it's night and day.
We just to keep making the practical steps, keep communicating, and focus on moving forward.
One step at a time.