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What an anxiety relapse feels like and what you can do about it

It can be awful when it’s back (Picture: Ella Byworth for

My big anxiety lapse came back after almost 10 years’ respite.

For me, it was like the Tories coming back into power after two general election defeats.

8 things you should never say to someone with an anxiety disorder

You settle into life without the drama and then it explodes again, like a volcano that lay dormant before spewing hail and brimstone onto an unsuspecting public. Where the hell did that come from?

Of course, during my decade of relative calm, there were ups and downs.

We can never protect ourselves completely from the anxiety demons, which is the same with life generally when you think about it.

In 1997, D:ream told us that ‘things can only get better’. And they did for a while. Better in some respects anyway.

But we still fought a war. The s*** still hit the fan. We just had a slightly different perspective on it – we were more forgiving.

(At this point I should say, if my political bent doesn’t sit quite comfortably with you, just turn it around – change can have the same impact whatever side of the fence you sit on.)

(Picture: Ella Byworth for

Anyway, back to anxiety.

Sure, I still had fits of panic if I felt a lump or a bump. I still googled every symptom and found myself among the doom and gloom hypochondria forums where I felt very much at home.

Fear was my norm. But I’d kept it fairly under control for some time.

Then one night, after a couple of beers at the comedy club with my mates, I went to bed only to wake up at 3am. I had a dry mouth, so I drank water from the tap. But I couldn’t quench my thirst.

Then it hit me like it did all those years ago – a full-blown panic attack of catastrophic proportions. In panic attack terms, it was about a nine on the Richter scale.

I was shaking, my mouth was dry, all I could see was death.

I couldn’t take my mind off it by watching TV downstairs because nobody would know if I spontaneously…

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