Someone tell me they got the joke????
Lovely readers, we’ll be talking about the always fun panic attacks!
It is hard to explain what a panic attack feels like to someone who hasn’t experience one. I will try my best and hope things make sense. If not, at least I tried. I welcome comments or questions if things are confusing or you’d like to know more.
So here we go…
I have two panic attack types: spontaneous and self-induced.
Generally, all panic attacks are spontaneous, and those that have a panic disorder don’t really know when they maybe be coming about. The other side of my attacks are self-induced. Meaning, I literally work myself up into a frenzy and cause my own panic attack. Those tend to be more mild because I realize what I’m doing and can either stop it or shorten it.
My spontaneous attacks are terrifying. It feels like I’ve been side swiped by a Mack truck at 100mph. It is this wave of unreasonable terror dropped on you at once. My heart speeds up but it feels like it’s not beating at all.
I tend to hyperventilate too. I feel like I’m being slowly suffocated as the walls (or objects around me) close in around me. My vision has whited out on occasion or my ears will pop and it’s like I’ve gone deaf. The outside world becomes my biggest nightmare and I’m trapped. During those times I am reduced to sobs and screams.
The longest attack I’ve had was almost an hour. I was alone in my dorm room during college and I was wrecked. It came out of nowhere and there was no trigger or anything. Just blind panic. It rolled in like a storm and destroyed me. It was the middle of the day and I didn’t care what was going on, I went straight to sleep.
Recovering after an attack is different depending on where I’m at. When I worked at Subway, I would usually be led to the back stock room. When I worked at the call-center I tried hard to never have an attack at the office which often left me with severe physical symptoms like nausea, dizziness, and dry-heaving as the anxiety increased.
Trying to cover up or suppress an attack is like pulling teeth with no pain meds; possible and extremely painful. By suppressing that panic I face physical consequences that are often times worse than just having the damn attack. Vomiting or dry-heaving, dizziness, stomach cramps, headaches, tremors, blurred vision, and a few more. The physical symptoms are sometimes unbearable yet I struggle through it all.
I do make sure I hydrate and eat some type of snack after each episode. I usually keep chocolate around for such instances. Chocolate does help with anxiety and depression, and I’ve also found it good for the after effects of a panic attack. I’ve also have success with fruit, crackers or pretzels, and/or ice cream. The sudden coldness of the ice cream slams you back into reality and kind of evens you out.
An integral part of my coping involves talking to one of my anchors. Anchors are people that I have found completely understand my mind set, thought processes, quirks of my mental illness, and have either seen one of my panic attacks or seen me at my lowest of low points. These people have been carefully chosen and understand their role in my well being. They are my most trusted confidants and incredibly important in my life. They help keep me here on this earth. Talking out an attack or when I’m in a downward spiral help me focus on what’s important.
I want to point out that a panic or anxiety attack doesn’t always have to be the characteristic symptoms: increased heart rate, hyperventilating, intense fear, sweating, or chills or hot flushes. These attacks can also be: unexplained rage or irritability; talking too fast or not at all; sitting rigid or not being able to sit still; and/or staring off in to space, “zoning out”.
Every one experiences panic or anxiety attacks in their own way. Each experience is just as terrifying and horrible, but if we were to speak out about these maybe we can help each other find ways to beat them and cope.