PANIC!

Before I begin this blog post, I’d like to let you know that this is a personal thing for me to write about, but I wanted to share this because I might be able to help someone who is going through anxiety attacks even if that’s only one person. Anxiety is an ugly thing, it takes control of your life while giving you little to no breathing space (no joke). Some people are better controlling their anxieties than others, for those who don’t know how to control them tend to fall into a dark hole. The greater the anxiety is the worst things get, aware or not you could be experiencing a panic attack sooner or later. I’ve suffered with panic attacks for 2 and a half years, and so I’m writing this blog post for those of you who struggle to understand, feel alone, need advice or need someone else to understand. It’s understandable for people to not understand how a panic attack feels like, it’s one of those things you have to experience to understand. No matter how many times you explain to others they don’t seem to get what you’re going through, the usual response I’ve gotten in the past is “You’re overacting, just chill.”  So how does a panic attack exactly feel like, the best way I can put it is imagine you’re at party and all sudden you get this bad gut feeling causing you to become jumpy and antsy, you have this urge to find the nearest exit and all sudden everything starts shrinking and spinning and in a split second, without you anticipating it, or knowing it’s happening, your body releases adrenaline. This adrenaline is released as your body is preparing for “flight or fight”. Our brain automatically tell us to either escape the situation or fight it. Here’s the thing with panic attack suffers their body produces adrenaline in unnecessary situation, its normal to release adrenaline when we trip on the staircase or when we get on a roller coaster but when your body is constantly releasing it can take troll in your life. What exactly happens to you when you have panic attack? Well for starters your heart starts to beat faster, and your muscles tenses up. We breathe in more oxygen, which our muscles use to turn sugar into energy. Blood is diverted to the muscles, making you pale and light headed. This also causes you to shake. Your digestive system shuts down, making your throat dry and feeling sick. Your senses are heightened, you become more aware of sounds and smells around you (It’s like someone turned up the volume, and in a busy place, it was loud enough anyway). The following are symptoms of a panic attack:

  • very rapid breathing or feeling unable to breathe
  • rapid heartbeat
  • pains in your chest
  • feeling faint or dizzy
  • sweating/Shivering
  • ringing in your ears
  • tingling or numbness in your hands and feet
  • hot or cold flushes
  • feeling nauseous
  • wanting to go to the toilet
  • feelings of absolute terror
  • feeling smothered
  • feeling claustrophobic
  • being extremely emotional/uncontrollable crying
  • feelings of unreality, called depersonalization and deserialization

Most people report that their panic attacks last for 10-20 min but there is that 5% that report their last up to 2-4 hours. If you’re panic attack last more than 20 min you’re most likely experiencing a series of panic attacks. Unfortunately most of my panic attacks are cycles lasting up to 6 hours. I don’t exactly remember what triggered my first panic attack but I remember it being my freshmen year in high school on my way to school, without even realizing I started balling like a baby for no reason and I can clearly remember not having the ability to breath and being rushed to the nearest hospital. Nothing is pretty about having a panic attack and I wouldn’t wish it even on my worst enemies.  I felt as people judged me because of my panic attack and my random walk outs of class and I hated how teachers treated me differently and my friends always thought I used it just as an excuse. At first it was very difficult for me to be around people or going out with my friends because I was afraid my attacks would ruin everything, I avoided hangouts, family gatherings, vacations, after-school clubs, and parties (basically if it involved more than 2 people I tried not attending). I realized I couldn’t continue living this way. So I started experimenting with different techniques to minimize my panic attacks to its bare minimum. After months of searching I found a technique that helped me the most and that’s by me first taking in 3 deep and slow breaths and releasing it out and automatically get myself out of the situation as smoothly as possible, next I take a walk outside. Anybody who knows me, knows how I love my swings no matter how bad the weather is I will forever love swings, night or day, it calms me like no other medication on earth, and it’s truly a miracle. Though panic attacks are scary always remember that they are never fatal. I learned this the hard way but take things easy, stress is #1 cause of panic attacks. Do not force yourself to go somewhere you don’t feel comfortable, you and your health are far more important than keeping someone else happy. I know times can get tough but never forget you’re never alone in this.

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