Sunday, 31 July 2016

Don't Panic!

Even thinking about the words 'panic attack' makes my heart pound.

Even thinking about the words 'panic attack' makes my heart pound. 

So here's another mental health related post. I'm sorry. I promised myself I wouldn't make my blog into a personal diary, but somehow they seem to be my most popular posts! I love reading other people's stories and advice, being able to relate to someone can help massively so thank you to those that got in touch.

I am unsure of when my very first panic attack occurred, but I do remember the most significant. 

I was 16 and working in retail. I had minded my own business, and suddenly my chest became tight, I felt like I couldn't breathe. I had many a panic attack before this moment,  but this one had no cause.

Somehow the idea of having an anxiety attack for no reason at all panicked me more. Not one anxious thought had crossed my mind before that moment, yet it came on so suddenly I was petrified I was going to die.

That sounds insane, doesn't it? I honestly believed I was going to lose all oxygen in my body, through no trigger. I could feel my face turning white, and my vision became blurred as I tried to get off the shop floor. 

I felt everything and nothing all at once

It's almost as if I forced myself to cry. Perhaps it would make me feel something; then I could understand what was going on. 

No tears. My insides were crying, and the outside said nothing at all, hiding away in a tiny cupboard didn't help, the walls were closing in on me with each breath. 

They say panic attacks can occur when somewhere or something triggers a negative memory, in my case, it all happened on its own but this occasion caused a lot more trouble than I had anticipated. 

After experiencing my first 'No cause' panic attack, I was petrified to go back, thinking it would happen all over again. 

It did, in fact, it happened every day for a good month. Every time I entered the 'danger zone' it was as if an alarm went off in my brain, telling me to go insane again.

Just because you're clean, don't mean you don't miss it.

I'm better now. The panic attacks still like to pay me the odd visit, reminding me that they are still here. But that's okay. You can overcome a mental illness, but that doesn't mean it doesn't miss your company from time to time. 

There will always be a passing thought; the ' I'm losing my mind again' one liner that sits comfortably in the back of your mind, ready to pounce at any given moment.

You just need to tell it to fuck off.

My top three tips for taking control of a panic attack

So... you're chest becomes tight. You suddenly start to feel as if you can't breathe. You may come across these symptoms too:

Increased heart rate ( This is my worst...)

Inability to catch your breath


Tingling feelings

Intense feelings of anxiety

Always have an escape plan. Sometimes knowing we have a plan to leave a situation helps us not be so afraid of the unknown. If I know I'm staying at a friends place after a night out, I'm known for taking their house keys, so that I know I can leave when I want.  I am afraid of being out of control. Configuring an exit plan will make you feel more in control, and this will counter the anxiety.

Talk. You have to be honest with yourself and the people around you, otherwise, they will never understand. It's not that they don't want to, you just haven't given them a chance. Stop shying away from your issues and confront them, that way your friends can begin to recognise your fears and triggers. You need all the support you can get.

Just breathe. Just like my tattoo says, just breathe. That's all there is to it. There are some great breathing exercises out there that will do you the world of good. 

I always get the odd joke about my tattoo and how I might forget to breathe if I don't read it (Ha ha, no. *rolls eyes intensely*) But I do forget to breathe, and after reading this post I hope you can understand that.


1 comment :

  1. God, yes! It's horrendous and people don't understand, but you get there in the end. Thanks for sharing x