September 1, 2021

Matt W.

It’s been a long day. And week. Really, a long year. But I am driving home now so I can relax…

An hour and ten minutes from Lacombe to Edmonton. Only the fourth round-trip this week? Did I forget to do anything today? Sent that email about the new beer. Check. Finished the invoicing? Yeah, pretty sure. Scheduled that meeting for… stop it, Matt! You are not at work. Leave it for tomorrow. Just get home. Relax. Breathe. Let the CBC take you home. Just listen and drive.

Shit! I forgot to order the labels. Shit, that is going to make it even tighter. This release is already going to be last minute. Better figure it out. And what if this one doesn’t sell? Or doesn’t taste good after the transfer? Nothing tasted off after fermentation. Should be fine. What is going on this weekend? A tasting in Calgary. Meeting up with Steve. Crap – laundry. Better get that on tonight. Car needs an oil change. I’ll do that in Lacombe next week. And we are camping next weekend. Cool. Lots to get sorted though. Better check out the tent. I remember the fly was a little bit…

My chest. Shit. You are in your head, Matt. You are fine. Look at the lights of the car in front of you. Red. Round. Maybe more oval. Mostly clean. Bright. The driver’s window is nice and cold. Feel that feeling. Think about it. Get out of your head.

Okay this is not working. Window down. Cold air to the face. Turn up the radio. VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR; LA LA LA LA. Fuck. This is not working. Is my hand numb from the cold air? Nope. Dizzy. Pull over you idiot. Call 911…


A mostly accurate recount of my worst anxiety attack. Driving home at dusk from Blindman to Edmonton, I freaked out, had chest pains, and my left hand went numb. Checking my pulse did not help, even though it was obviously there. I called 911 and an ambulance met me on the side of QEII Northbound between Nisku and Ellerslie. After the paramedics checked my vitals, they helped confirm my suspicion of an anxiety attack. Before this, I had other, smaller attacks. Episodes that required me to pull over, to calm myself down, to put myself to bed early, or take myself away from a fun time. But having a panic attack while operating a car on a busy highway is still my scariest moment. The racing thoughts led to an episode that left me with an overwhelming feeling of dread that was truly terrifying.

This is a small and intimate peek into my head. I entered my 30’s feeling stable, but not understanding a lot of the underlying things going on. The highs and lows, the anxiety and depression, the need for control. Luckily, I have been surrounded by support, and willing to talk about what I went through. What I still struggle with. Understanding my brain and my body and the things that make me feel certain ways. And the mechanisms to deal with and understand those feelings. I have found that talking helps. More conversations are a wonderful place to start.

Want to share your story?
 Email us at
Stigma 86 is an initiative that brings attention to mental health and wellness in the hospitality and craft producers industry.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram