"From the couch I was lying on, I looked up at the curtains and began trying to follow the embroidered patterns to keep myself distracted. It did not work, and I started to feel my chest tightening and breathing increasingly difficult. This did not feel like fibromyalgia, and I began panicking even more. Was I having a heart attack? Was this the end of my existence on earth, aged 36 on a sofa at my wife's family's home on Christmas bloody Eve?"

This is a difficult topic for me to write about for various reasons, the primary being my pride and self image -- both of which have changed as a result of what I am about to discuss. As a person who has always been largely in control of their emotions and anxiety, experiencing a panic attack was not something I ever expected to have to handle...

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