Let's talk about anxiety & panic attacks

Monday, February 06, 2017

Hello! 

Today I am going to be talking all about anxiety & panic attacks. I have been experiencing anxiety for well over a year now and have quite recently have started to have really bad anxiety attacks. I have attempted writing this post for a very long time now and it has always been hard for me to write because I haven't understood what was going on. Plus, it is quite personal. But today is exciting because I finally am! I have been inspired by one of Zella's old youtube video about her anxiety. So let's begin! 


The beginning 
For a very long time I have been letting anxiety get the better of me. Slowly, as I experienced more panic attacks and more anxiety, I have been becoming an anti-social nervous wreck. But I haven't always been like this. I used to be the most confident and care-free person. So it really does suck for me that I have so much fear, about pretty much everything. I get anxious about simple everyday things such as being in a car, having conversations with people, being in loud or crowded places, being in a line at the registers, being stuck in places... the list is endless. Basically, I feel trapped in these places and can not escape.

Deciding I need help
It was only in December that I realised that I needed to seek help. On one particular night, I had experienced the worst panic attack that I had ever had. I was working for the first time as a supervisor on the registers. I had worked on the registers many times before but I was feeling extremely anxious all day before my shift. Whilst during these I had felt a panic attack coming on and I ignored it. Then, before my shift I looked at the clock and seen that I would need to leave the staff room in another 5 minutes, so this is where I started my first panic attacks. I panicked for a couple of minutes and it was the usual. I was hyperventilating, my legs where like jelly and every thing around me heightened. I spotted a friend from work who talked to me to take my mind off the situation and told me I was going to be ok. 

Walking up to the front of the store was dreadful. Honestly, I felt like I was out of my body and every step and breath felt weird. I knew I was going to have a panic attack. And I did. In the space of around 30 minutes, I had multiple panic attacks. I could hardly stand, I couldn't breath, I was going to be sick and I was crying. This was in-between of serving customers, which I can't even remember any of the transactions apart from one lady when she asked me if I needed to go to the bathroom because I was so shaky. Thinking about it now makes me laugh, but boy at the time it was the end for me. 

After I battled through the rest of my five hour shift, I went home and I cried, and cried, and cried. It was the worst that I had ever felt. I was scared of what happened and terrified of myself because I was "broken". I cried just about all night. 


Zoella's video 
I had first watched this video when it first came out 4 years ago and thought nothing of it- which is super crazy to think of! But now I have watched the video again, everything makes sense.  Every thing that she says in her video is what happened to me & every other time that I have had an attack or anxiety... And it has given me so many answers and has made me understand what is actually happening to your body. 

Zoe explains how it's like you are a parked car in a street. A small gust of wind will come through and set off your alarm. Whereas, any other car wouldn't notice it. She also describes exactly what it is like to have an panic attack. It also explains of why you have anxiety at the same places. And most importantly, how to change the way you think about it. 


Ashy Bines & her advice
A while ago, fitness guru Ashy Bines posted a video on youtube about breakups. I know that this post has nothing to do with breakups, but she gave a piece of advice that I will never forget. 

In her video, Ashy said something along the lines of how when you are going through a breakup, you feel both depressed and anxious . You feel depressed because you are worrying about the past. And you feel anxious because you are worrying about the future & what is going to happen. I have linked the video below to start playing where Ashy talks about this. 


I think what she says is completely relatable to anxiety. I defiantly do not believe that I am depressed, but there have been times where I have felt sad because I didn't get to do something and I regret that I missed out on that. When I think all the times where I have been too anxious to jump into car and drive somewhere, or go out for the whole day, or that I can't get my nails done, or all the times where I wished I did that with friends or family, or on holiday really makes me feel horrible about myself. 

Or then there is the opposite of depression, where I get anxious. When I think "ok, let's just go do this... or let's go eat here" and my brain tells me "you can't... what if this happens... what if you have a panic attack... what if the car breaks down... what if you need to go to the bathroom..." 

It really is such a vicious cycle. 

Out of sight- out of mind
When speaking about mental illness I defiantly believe this is true. Many people may not think I have anxiety because I try to betray that I am a confident and happy person. And people can act very strange about it when you tell them. Simply because, they can not see you in any physical pain (like bleeding or bruises) they may think that it is not real. 

I think about how many times I have had an attack and have been told "you're fine" or "just breathe". And it's really not that simple... because if anything I am breathing (too much) and I am (not) fine. 

Changing the way you see it*
This is where Zoe's video has been so helpful in describing what you body is doing when you are having an attack... you're body feels like it is in danger and trying to protect itself. That's why you breath faster and have that huge amount of adrenaline. And now I know this, I am doing everything I can  to change the way that I see it and try to deal with what I am feeling. 

So I have made a promise to myself that I am going to completely push myself out of my comfort zone and change the way I see anxiety. Last weekend was the first weekend in a very, very long time that I had almost spent a whole day out somewhere, instead of coming home multiple times. And it felt so good to know that I am going to get through this. 


I mustn't forget to add that I have give up coffee! I used to drink one coffee almost everyday, but it is a terrible contribution as the buzz makes you feel 10x more anxious. I didn't think I would be able to do it, but today was the first time since December that I have had a coffee and every though it was amazing, I certainly don't miss it (well, only sometimes.) 


Please send me your though & comments in the box below. 


Thank you for reading this very wordy post. 

Emily xx 

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