A couple of nights ago, I had, for the first time in years, a panic attack. I hadn’t been feeling great about my anxiety for a while and it just all came to a head.
It starts as difficulty breathing, followed by an unbearable pain in my chest. Each muscle in my body intensely tightens and it is difficult for me to sit up straight. In between panicked breaths, I let out hoarse coughs that hurt my chest even more. No matter who is with me or how long I have struggled with this, no matter how much I learn or the different coping techniques I try, when a panic attack happens, the fear of dying is as real as the first panic attack I had when I was in high school.
In short, it’s chaos.
Within minutes of taking my anti-anxiety medication, I can feel my body start to calm down. After panic attacks, I feel exhausted and my body is really sore. I also feel this wave of sadness and defeat come over me. I feel complete disappointment in myself for losing control and I cry. It is safe to say that for at least the next 24 hours, I am not going to be myself. I am very hard on myself and that is something that I need to work on.
Yesterday was a really hard day for me. I struggle with the fact that this is just how I am wired and is something that I need to take care of for the rest of my life. I was thinking of writing an entry to the site but felt nervous to share this with everyone because it is not the usual uplifting stories I promote. But, I think it is important to tell the truth and for the people that read these posts to know that I continue to struggle—and that’s okay. I think that is important for me to realize as well.
Writing out what happened and explaining in detail what goes on with me is my therapy. I know it sounds weird, but I feel like some of the tension, anxiety and sadness is lifted from me when I just take my time and explain what is going on. Today is a much better day. I took care of myself yesterday and I have this awesome roommate who never runs for the hills when these things happen. I got some much needed rest and I feel almost back to myself today.
Life is never going to be smooth sailing; I continue to learn that every day. I am learning to cut myself some slack when I stumble. It is not a bad thing to breakdown from time to time and it is not defeat, it’s life. We all need to continue to pick ourselves up afterwards and keep moving. It was just a bad day, not a bad life.