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 full of around 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 ha d 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 have a problem with alcohol which started when I used it to self medicate. The anxiety used to get so bad that I just wanted something to try and make it stop.
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 in the improved state that I am in if it was not for her.
There are also some other pretty awesome people who are, and have helped me along the way to whom I am eternally grateful.
My journey is still a work in progress; where it will take me? I have no idea; all I do know is that my life is going to be very different from now on.