Hi, my name is Paul Harris, since September 2015 I have suffered with anxiety, panic and depression.
Mental health issues can be triggered by a variety of things, but mine was initially caused by work related stress.
My journey started on a normal morning in September; I took the underground to work, got into the office and turned on my computer; next I went to open my e-mails and that’s when my life changed……
A wave of emotion hit me and all I wanted to do was burst into tears; I felt scared and I started struggling to breath. So as not to cause a scene in front of a room of 50 colleagues, I went and locked myself in the disabled toilet.
This was my first ever panic attack, and to be honest, I had no idea what was going on, all I remember thinking was that something in my head had broken, and I was going mad.
To start with I only had problems when I was at work. When I was at home or out with friends I was fine. This all changed in January 2016 when the anxiety and panic took over my whole life.
One morning I woke up to get ready for work, went to the bathroom to have a shower and my legs would not let me get into the bath; all I could do was go back to bed….. Since then I have been unable to work.
My journey has not been easy, I have been in very dark places mentally, and have really struggled to see any light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve had problems with alcohol, and constantly bring out the baseball bat of self blame and self loathing.
I am very lucky; I have a wonderful wife, Kim, who has stuck by my through all the troubles, to be honest I don’t think I would be where I am now if it wasn’t for her.
There are also some other pretty awesome people who have helped me along the way; to those people, I will be eternally grateful.
I’m originally from Gloucester, and I moved to London when I was 17 years old, and started work in the hotel industry; after many years (too many to count) I moved to the Residential Lettings world; you know what happened after that……
I now live in Bedfordshire with Kim, and our Westie, Leo. I was always a country boy at heart, and London just became too busy and claustrophobic for me, so we moved to have space and fresh air, where I could start my running journey, go for long walks and have a garden to potter in.
My journey is still a work in progress; where will it take me? I have no idea.
One thing I am realising is that for the first time, I love what I’m doing, so maybe everything happens for a reason……