Nicole’s list of experiences where she was convinced she was in grave danger

At this point I went over Nicole’s emails and copied and pasted all the experiences she had described where she was convinced she was in mortal danger. Each experience can seem like the first and ONLY time we have felt that way. It can be quite a revelation to see how many times we actually feel the SAME way.


I just feel like this is me for life now, any positive thought just feels like me tricking myself, I’ve got something wrong with me but I don’t know what and I’m just waiting for it to kill me.


I honestly thought I was going to die today, I came home from work and couldn’t even speak to my mum, I felt sick. I admit I used a ‘safety behaviour’ and lay down for a couple of hours, then I got up, had a chat with my mum and felt better.. but I felt so horrible I really honestly thought I was about to die… like I say it didn’t feel like the throat ‘globus hystericus’ I could swallow, my words caught in my throat but the fear/tension was in my chest.


When the emergency buzzer went off today I just felt sick and rooted to the spot – like running towards it was running towards certain death or collapse. I just feel like I’m going to sink to the ground spouting jibberish or breathing very jerkily, or begin choking and convulsing with a heart attack. It feels SO real I can’t believe that my panic is “just” panic…


I recently had a cardiac event monitor for 5 days (GPs request not mine, after an ECG at the surgery (that WAS my request lol) that showed tachycardia of 154bpm…because I was scared stiff! hahaha) anyway the results came back and the GP said there is “nothing scary” on there,

Anyway she asked me if I would like referring to a cardiologist ‘to make sure’ and I said yes, as I was unsure if she thought I really needed looking at so I thought I’d better go just incase! 


I’m trying to accept but I just feel ill, it feels like no matter how I try and accept it anxiety tries to catch me out and throw things up unexpectedly. Writing this email has made me feel worse! I suppose because I’m giving it attention when I should be carrying on with my essay.

But moments like this really make me think that I am ill, I know adrenaline can be released randomly and strangely but when I feel like this I feel very weak and scared 


I was getting some nail varnish off my nails, and I suddenly felt rather panicky. Like, very strong, not felt this for AGES, impending doom panic. Where everything else drowns out, you feel like you’re in an alien world, no family will be able to help you and infact they are about to witness your horrific, terrifying death-panicky.

So I was a bit unnerved!! I caught my thoughts, changed them, they still reverted back to “no this isn’t right, why did it just come out of the blue? was it the acetone? or is it these iron tablets you’re on sending you funny? IT MUST BE SOMETHING THIS CANNOT BE JUST PANIC, yes you’re panicking but it HAS to be for a reason to feel this severe and other-worldly…”


the thing is it can be worst on waking!! like my joints will hurt, grip feels ‘weak’ .. which confuses me! perhaps its to do with my circulation as i feel better once im moving around

it just another one of those things that makes me thiink iv got something ELSE other than anxiety. I think female hormones also dont help lol


I still find it hard to ‘accept’ that anxiety can make u feel so tense and just rubbish! I can’t really describe the feeling, but the SECOND I wake up, I feel tense and just bleurgh… sometimes random muscles just twitch involuntarily. And I hate it when I get numb lips!! I’ll feel like I’m breathing just fine, and they’ll be numb.


But the tingling lips / tip of tongue are really bothering me!!!!! lol. 

I just worry that its permanent nerve damage or something, I know its plausible perhaps some healing is going on, but it doesnt feel like ‘healing’. Did you ever get numb lips/tip of tongue?


What keeps bothering me is the tingly lips and tongue – even when I don’t feel particularly anxious, they’re THERE!!! I know how you said the mind focuses in on symptoms, but the lips/tongue is really prominent at times and just doesnt feel like anxiety – it feels like my body saying IVE HAD ENOUGH!

Taking it as a sign my nerves are burnt out and I shouldn’t be overloading them with situations like labour ward lol


The only thing is last night when i went on shift, I suddenly felt really panicky at the start…. like a level of panic that only gets reached very rarely for me… but when it happens I feel really out of control and like it MUST be ‘something’.


I then felt as If I was going to start choking, or be sick… whatever it was, I was sure my body was building up to “something”. I could barely talk to my mum because I was really scared and sure ‘something’ was about to happen to my body. 


I felt very warm (Think some of it may have been due to and got a sudden feeling of impending doom. I just ‘felt’ like my heart was going to stop. So of course, I got a shot of adrenaline. My breathing went shaky, and I just felt like I was going to start choking at the wheel. 

I just still cant quite get to grips that this stems from a psychological thing!! the whole impending doom/choking thing is SOOOO unbelievably scary it feels like nothing can do it justice whn describing!! I guess that is most people’s problem, the fact they don’t believe anyone else has quite felt like they do. 


Heart attack fear is running very high right now!! to the point I feel sick..

Its because the shifts were on labour ward, I remember how stressed I feel sometimes on there anyway despite good days. I just didn’t want to add extra stress to myself. 

AAARRGGHHHHHH I can’t believe I’m still doing stuff like this!!!   


so sorry to keep miethering you. But I’m SURE I’m dying 🙁 🙁

I just got the results of a blood test I had last week – they said all my platelets had clotted so they couldnt do that test, and also my haemoglobin (iron level) was very high

(16.4 – max for woman is 16.5) 

I know this might sound like nothing but to me its terrifying – i know that most likely the platelets clotted because i was extremely anxious prior to the test, and adrenaline etc causes platelets to clot. So to me, this is proof that I am at high risk for a blood clot 🙁 🙁 

and also, high hb is worrying – rationally it may be due to chronic hyperventiliation, but there are also several other diseases that cause high hb. I am worrying that it is a pulmonary disease as I am usually pretty short of breath!!!!!!!!!!


I guess I just look for the drama in everything. But its just with my symptoms of feeling short of breath, high HB is like evidence to me my body isn’t happy with my oxygen levels. 

Have you ever tried the “hold breath” test, where you inhale and exhale normally then see how long it is before your diaphragm/neck moves signalling your body wants more oxygen?

mine is less than 10 seconds which corresponds to severe illness!!! I’ve got a book on hyperventilation by Dinah Bradley, and it is good, but I do find it difficult to do the exercises. The “7-11” breathing makes me feel very out of breath so I feel between a rock and a hard place


Last night, I was chilling on the laptop and i had one finger pressed on my nostril (lol just a random resting position!) but I think it made me briefly feel i wasnt getting enough air, so i got an adrenaline rush but it made me feel crappy. So half of me was being logical, half was saying “oh god” at one point i thought i was going to be sick, and any movement or talking from my boyfriend made me feel worse. When I was dropping off to sleep, my limbs kept jerking as well as if i was on high alert.


The biggie is breathing. It can either be feeling I’m suffocating, breathing too fast, or my throat is tight. I’m a lot better with it than I used to be, and because I’m doing more exercise nowadays I use that as my interoceptive exposure – yesterday I did a killer workout DVD, and I realised that if I wasn’t getting enough oxygen I’d be on the floor!

Next symptom is the gaggy/tight chest feeling, this only happens when I am rather panicky or stressed , and it doesn’t feel under my control. I suppose its to do with me tensing a lot though.

The last symptom is a sudden “wash” of fear from nowhere that makes my heart race and makes me feel a bit sick – I’m slowly accepting that this is probably caused by a trigger, and it’s usually confrontation that does it. But I don’t like it because of how my heart feels “out of sync” with my body – like when I’m walking up a massive hill and my hearts racing I’m not bothered – but when its doing it and im doing no activity I get a huge feeling of dread and just feel plain ill.


I sort of included it in my last email – that ‘wash of fear’ where my heart seems to not be a part of me and just does what it wants. Well, just now, I was waiting for my mum to come home so I suppose I had a bit of anticipatory anxiety, then when she did and started talking about my brother at uni being a bit ill (fresher flu!!) I came over panicky, I know I always used to react like this to hearing family members aren’t well – the world suddenly becomes a strange frightening place – but it’s just so much worse when accompanied by feelings of being smothered and feeling like I’m building up to vomiting any second.

I’m not emetophobic – it’s just the idea of being sick means there is something ‘wrong’ in my eyes. 


basically, my sister has been off school unwell today, and it’s come up to tea time and my dad is asking her what she wants for tea. she is saying “nothing” but that she is wanting to go to the chippy for some chips instead (even writing this is making my heart pound, feel very sick and like I want to cry – I’m sure it’s an emotional thing..)

anyway that might sound weird – but when she said that my chest tightened – i was thinking a long the lines of “if she keeps eating all this junk she will get seriously ill” but then suddenly the emotion came over me like I wanted to be sick – or that I was going to start “choking” – sort of simulating a heart attack

I know it sounds very silly and it looks so OBVIOUS writing it down – but when I’m going through it words can’t even describe how horrible I feel. I felt very panicky and just plain ILL. It sort of feels like my body is sending me a message – “no more junk food or this is what will happen to you!!”


my mind is bouncing back an forth at the minute!!

I’ve got the really scary thought “call an ambulance” in my head – I think that is what causing so much anxiety – because I’m half-way ‘believing’ it .

Sounds silly but obviously the thought “call an ambulance” has emotional context to it – and so when I think “my mind/body is telling me there is something very wrong!!” im scared s***less.


I went on shift feeling a little bit sick, but not that bad. Then as time went on I felt my anxiety increasing – sudden waves from nowhere, which increased my nausea. Then, I went into a lady’s room to give her some discharge information – I THINK what happened was that I was speaking too fast and not stopping to take a breath – but suddenly I got that feeling that I’ve only ever had about 4/5 times in my whole time of having panic disorder – a feeling that I was choking and/or my heart was about to stop – it was OBVIOUS as I sort of choked over my words, and the woman and her family looked at me concerned. It was like my voicebox didn’t want to work. I took a couple of breaths and continued what I needed to say (Absolutely TERRIFIED) then left the room.

Well I was CONVINCED that it was heart related, I was about to collapse, etc. I almost went in to full blown panic breathing mode, but with my experience I actually managed to keep my breathing ok. I focused on my paper work, thinking “should I go or just ride it out?!” I really really wanted to ride it out, and began to feel a little better, but the nagging doubt saying “oh my GOD people don’t just feel like that for nothing. you seriously need to go to a&e before it’s too late”

I’m just worried that it’s a warning sign my body is stress-overloaded or something?? and if I push past it, I really will collapse


However, my anxiety feels like it’s taken on a new dimension!!!!! I was just out for dinner with my mum and this OVERWHELMING anxiety, like I was either going to burst in to tears or be sick, came over me. I managed to breath it away but I felt rotten.

It just felt like I had no control of it whatsoever – like an anxiety-vomit lol. It was the same sort of thing on Saturday when I came home from work. It’s worrying me because it feels so strong and out of my control. I know I’m putting a “story” to the sensations, but this hardly ever happens! I want to know why it’s just started to 🙁 because it’s making me feel really vunerable and scared of going anywhere, let alone work. I used to feel anxiety as a sensation but it very rarely tried to “override” my coping mechanisms.


SURELY this amount of stress must be damaging my body. I try mindfulness but it seems ridiculous when faced with dramatic scenarios. I just feel like everything is horrible and a potential for death etc. I was feeling quite happy last night and sat down to eat tea, then they started talking about bloody cardiac arrests on the news and defibrillators being installed into places and I nearly choked on my tea and felt like my heart was going to stop itself.

It’s like I’ve become immune to feeling relief!! I know I’m in a place of major stress right now but I CANNOT believe that my heart isn’t just going to pack up any minute due to repeated stress


I just feel rubbish 🙁 am seriously considering going to my GPs for another iron level test. Every month (it may be related to my menstrual cycle) I seem to get short of breath very easily – even speaking in full sentences challenges me. The last iron test I had showed ok levels – even slightly on the higher side – but the Dr forgot to check my iron STORAGE levels, which last time they did they were very low. 

I feel horrible right now. I’m struggling to even write this email. I think I’ve worked myself up in to a panic attack which is why I’m suffering with the shortness of breath. I was too scared to even speak to my mum about it just now as admitting it makes it feel “serious” and like “something” is happening right now – which will lead to me being carted off to a&e.

I’ve had this cold which is bugging me but I still just don’t feel ‘right’. I’ve got my tingly tongue again which I haven’t had for a bit. My panic just feels so PHYSICAL – so so related to do with my ‘health’ – its like my body is doing this, not me. My body is screaming out for something but I just don’t know what!!

But it’s mostly my breathing. It feels hard to talk in full sentences, even at rest I feel breathless. Surely this can’t be ‘just’ anxiety?!


I think I’ve developed an obsession with my iron levels since I was told I have low ferritin. Talking to women about iron at work makes me feel funny and sort of chokes my voice up. I went to the pharmacy today to ask for some Floradix- you would have thought I was walking up to death row!! heart pounding, globus, feelings of impending doom etc


I worry (Typically) that this ‘isnt’ panic and it’s something else. I never worry about lumps, bumps or cancer etc my fear is of feeling like I’m going to faint or just die mysteriously and suddenly, due to this weird constant anxious feeling.

I can’t seem to relax into life because (like everyone) I see and hear scare stories every day that just reaffirm my belief that everything may seem fine one moment then it turns upside down. It’s like it unsettles me to know that any bad exists in the world at all.


I’ve got a lot of fear surrounding the concept of a ‘breakdown’ – imagining not being able to work etc 


I have a focus on my heart, but mostly an overwhelming unease and a feel that I will just “drop dead”

But it is so unbelievably convincing, it’s untrue!!!!!! I truly felt whilst eating my tea, that I was about to make a strange noise and keel over.

Is that a common symptom with anxiety? it’s hard to explain, but I feel so scared sometimes I feel like the pressure is building in my throat and it sort of wants to let out a whimper?

I just can’t believe that I could feel like this and yet be truly fine!! I’ve convinced myself that I’m making myself panic so much that I will induce a heart attack or fainting from sheer fear. 


But last night, I had a good old panic attack. One of the old fashioned “ooh I can’t breathe, now my hearts racing and my breath can’t catch up, I feel VERY strange, oh god oh god no no I’m gonna start retching/collapsing, get in bed quick grip the pillow and pray not for death”

The thing that worries me (here we go) is that I just CAN’T accept in my brain that it is JUST panic. 

The memory of the fear is still very fresh and I just can’t accept that I am in no danger!!


My main one is being short of breath. I feel it CONSTANTLY. It fluctuates in severity but it’s really starting to scare me as in my mind I’ve had it persistently for a while so I can’t accept that it’s “just anxiety”

It makes sitting still feel uncomfotable. I have read “anxiety symptoms” over and over and despite knowing this can be a symptom, mine feels “different”

I seriously feel like I’ve got some blood oxygen disease or lung disease!! 

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