Feeling panicky is the worst.
I’ve only had a few major panic attacks in my life, but they were bad enough to haunt me.
Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States, with up to 40 million adults a year living with this condition. That is 18.1% of the population!
Thank you to my blogger friend from Not So Cordial for sharing her story, for those who need help with panic attacks. If this sounds like you, you are not alone!
Also, I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Just someone who has lived with anxiety for many years who is passionate about sharing her experiences and tips for success. If you are in crisis call your doctor, then click here for some good mental health resources.
What are panic attacks like?
I am sitting on my bed, reading a book, drinking my second cup of coffee for the day. I see it’s time for dinner. So, I finish the coffee quickly but then change my mind to eat dinner later.
I smirk at myself for being so fickle, so many thoughts invade my mind. It’s so strange how our minds travel the whole world in a blink of an eye.
I feel a thumping on my chest, a feeling of restlessness. It feels like something is pulling me from all sides, there is a tightening in the stomach. My hands and feet turn cold, yet I’m sweating. My muscles twitch and I feel queasy.
I realize my eyes have become teary. I am undergoing some really disturbing thoughts now. There is a chaos in my brain and I am scared. I feel loss, hurt and pain. I feel failure, detachment, and loneliness. All at once.
The sad reality about anxiety and panic
I know you can relate to this, but to those of you who can not- trust me, it’s good that you can not. On most mornings, I would open my eyes and lie on my bed, trying to get up. A shiver would pass throughout my body anticipating how I am going to go about the day.
A certain kind of fear would rise, worrying about things that do not exist, would never happen. “Never” scared me. My heart would sink when I would think about things that I have no control over.
The sad reality is: people going through anxiety and panic attacks have no idea what it is when it is happening to them. Since no one ever talks about it and it is not treated as a health issue, there is no knowledge of any precaution or diagnosis to this when it is happening.
When I first experienced this, I had no idea what was going on and why. I would twist and turn my brain cells trying to comprehend the reason behind this but that’d only aggravate the panic. A devious feeling of being lost and helpless, desperately trying to make myself feel calmer.
I had no idea that there’s a trigger to this. There is always a trigger. It might be as small as someone speaking in a loud voice or even as difficult as a broken marriage, but there is always a trigger. Finding that trigger is the first step. No one can help you with that but yourself.
You have to sit your chaotic mind down and ask the reasons for which it is dancing all over the place. Are you reminded of something from your past? Did you lose someone? Are you unable to focus on something? Are you unable to achieve something? Did you suffer abuse from someone? Did someone betray you? These are a few of the many questions you should be asking yourself before you figure out a trigger.
Asking for help for anxiety
Your trigger might be a cumulation of many experiences (like mine) too. But, you have to take the first step and figure that out first. It might take some time, don’t worry. Give it as much time as needed. A few days, weeks or even months. If you cannot do it yourself, take help. Talk to a therapist. They are trained to extract your deeper insights from your subconscious.
One thing we need to remember after we have found the trigger is- it is not your enemy. We have to make room in your head for all the thoughts that it triggers. There has to be an understanding between us and the trigger and we must share compassion with it rather than shoo it away.
When I realized what my trigger was, I made sure I didn’t ignore it. I wanted to make friends with it and co-exist with it in peace. We have to understand that it is our experience and thoughts and the repercussions of it that generated it in the first place. Would you treat something which is yours badly? When you practice making peace with your trigger, you will not be scared of it when it instigates panic attacks.
Need help with panic attacks
Oh, I almost forgot an important thing. Cut down on caffeine, alcohol, and drugs. If you keep giving supplements to your mind to function better or soothe down, you will merely suppress the problems but never learn to handle it with care.
One thing that really worked for me was maintaining a good diet, and having Chamomile Tea. If you need to choose, pick tea over coffee. I know all the coffee-addicts must be worried by now, but remember, everything that’s bad seems really good at first (and vice versa). Give it a shot.
Now, I know this might sound overstated, but meditation and a good 15 minutes of exercise before you start your day really helps. I think the science behind this is when your body feels good, your mind automatically feels better. A sense of good health and freshness is revived. The tension in the muscles release and it just makes it all better.Anxiety and panic attacks do not show prior signs and they do not leave a "Sorry" note after they're gone. Share on twitter
People who often go through this strange series of emotions know how excruciatingly painful it is. We have no idea when it came, how long it is going to stay and how many sleepless nights it is going to bring for us. Meetings, parties, even when we’re just sitting alone and sipping our cup of tea, it will knock at our door. We will open it, invite it, and it will leave us drained of energy, happiness, and good thoughts. Self-doubt, self-depreciation, and self-humiliation will lie on the floor and we will sit broken on the floor.
Hey, but this is exactly when we need to understand it is coming from within and we have the power in us to bring it under our control. We have it in us to not give in; not let it shatter us, burn us.
What are your best panic attack fighting tips? Share them in the comments below, and make sure to share this post on social media so that it might help someone else!
Anxiety does not need to control your life!
About the Author
It has been a long love affair between me and writing and we have often been in an On-again-Off-again relationship. It took me a lot of waiting and anticipating to finally commit to doing what I loved since forever. Expressing thoughts and connecting to people. I always felt ecstatic when people could actually relate to my words and I just wanted to give that happiness of mine some real shape of its own and connect to more people.