Background, situation, personality seem to have nothing to do with it - admit to anyone that you've suffered from mild to extreme anxiety and the floodgates open - everyone it seems has a story to tell.
I had my first peep into the world of anxiety about 8 years ago when I found myself in a packed conference room with a large number of my then colleagues. Despite having had numerous similar meetings in the very same room, with the very same people, I had a sudden urge to get to the door and get the hell out of there before I collapsed. The more I thought about collapsing in front of everyone the harder and faster my heart began to beat until I sure I was going to pass out. And there I was - stuck in a vicious circle of fear feeding fear.
After that, every time I had a meeting scheduled in that room I would be anxious the same thing would happen again.
I have no idea what brought on that first attack. And to be honest I still don't know if it was an anxiety attack or a panic attack or even what the difference is really, but once the evil little creature had found it's footing it lived there at the back of my mind, biding it's time until it felt that another appearance was warranted.
The next time it was in a church in the middle of mass. Again a packed room. Again the door too far away. And so I began to recognise the possible flash points and would try to avoid them as much as possible (apologies God and past bosses).
Over the years those moments all but disappeared, but in recent months I've started getting the same feelings again - this time in much more random places. Talking to friends, walking down the road, on a beach with the kids - an intensity of the moment sweeps over me and I begin to feel dizzy, then my heart and mind start racing until I manage to either talk or breathe myself down. Fortunately my moments are mostly mild, fleeting, and controllable. I doubt very much observing me that you would have any idea what is going on inside my head at the time.
It seems odd admitting to it in public. It's still a bit of a shameful secret amongst sufferers I think. It's almost like an admittance of not coping with life. Although I believe strongly that I am. If I'm honest I don't consider myself the type of person who would suffer from such things. Whatever that 'type' is.
But there is it. Not my fault, but my problem.
And I'm not the only one.
Lilliwhiterose told me: 'I suffer from Panic attacks, they got so bad earlier this year that my daughter started to imitate me when they happened in front of her. I got a good doctor so they have abated for now. I never ever felt ashamed of it. It is the most frightening experience to go through in that moment and time seems to stop so much so that I feel that my mind and my body are going to stop.'
Sara, who writes openly about her diagnoses on her blog Where is my Mind? also went through major issues with her condition: 'It was a surprise finding out that that was what was wrong with me, I thought I was dying, my attacks caused me to go unconscious each time. I felt like I couldn't tell anyone outside of my immediate family, and only now after 7 years am I starting to open up about it'.