What’s Happening? Is This Real?

A conference is a pretty harmless place to be, you would think. Maybe boring in some cases, but pretty harmless. For the average attendee, you sit there, pay attention and take notes. I am doing just this for now.

Yet I don’t know when IT will start. When IT will come into my mind….. Now IT IS COMING! I sit here and focus on something, anything, not to let IT get to me. Yet the more I battle, the worse it gets. I scribble down faster; I bite my hand; I grab a bottle of water. This is becoming intense now.

My breath is becoming quicker and quicker; I can hear it getting louder too. I must be in a dream; I am not in a dream though. I start punching my legs, just in an attempt to make my surroundings become even more real.

A couple of people look at me on my row, as if I am strange. I feel like a stranger amongst all my surroundings. I am a stranger in what appears to be a nightmare.

I can’t cope anymore. I don’t care what they think. I have to get out of here. I run. I run down the aisle of this surreal scary place, out of the door and outside, hoping that the fresh air will snap me out of IT. I rest against the wall as my heart keeps racing.



Six months later…


I sit here in the office at work typing on my keyboard. It’s not been too bad today or for the last couple of months. I know what IT is though. IT is derealisation. I know this as the doctor diagnosed what IT was, when I visited her for the second time. At my first consultation, she told me that I might just be tired.

Then, when my days became worse and the symptoms continued, my doctor finally gave me that diagnosis. I felt relieved to finally be able to tell someone this. I’ve been to see various professionals since and have been working on these panic attacks, as I try to manage my anxiety. I don’t know how it started but it did.

A few months back, my life was absolute hell. Some days were bad days, but some days were a living nightmare. I would have days when I felt like I was not me at all, as if I was in a dream (or nightmare); even anything close to me did not seem real. My mind was playing some kind of trick on me.

This would just cause my body to pump blood faster, to make me sweat more, to speed up my breathing; there would be great anxiety too. I was fearful of everything and everyone. Since I’ve learnt what this state of mind is and have discussed it with people, my derealisation has not gone away but it has certainly improved. Some days I can even forget about it just for a while.


Important notice:

If you or anyone you know, are experiencing any of the symptoms or issues experienced in the story today, please encourage yourself or the individual to talk, and to see a professional if necessary. In lots of cases, people hide or keep their mental health challenges to themselves and it gets worse. I know from experience when faced with difficulties, that when I’ve talked to people it has always significantly improved my well-being each time.

Speak to family and friends where possible but there are some other sources available if you wish to talk to someone independently. There are many but a couple of key ones for the UK:




Jonny Pardoe


Jonny Pardoe © June 2019

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash




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