This is personal. Wow, looking at it now it seems more like a threat. I meant it in a happy kind of way like: “Yay! This is personal! Smileyface!”.
Recently I had a panic attack. If you’ve had one you know what i’m talking about. If you haven’t, well, no fun to be found there kids! Basically the brain and body react as if you were in serious danger.
The symptoms vary from person to person but here’s the most common things that can occur: heart races, dizziness, pressure on the chest, hard to breathe, tingling feeling on the skin, every sense is heightened, feeling cold, sweating, a sinking feeling in the stomach and the a sense of impending doom.
Yeah, so, nice it is not.
So, what’s my reason? Basically just doing too much for others, the damn do-gooder that I am! Also doing many things that I find interesting. The weird thing is that I haven’t thought about it like that, most of what i’ve had to do was fun and…
There it came friends, a Freudian slip o’ the keyboard: “i’ve HAD to do”. Funny how the mind works sometimes.
What I was about to say, before realizing what i’d just written, was that it was fun and given the choice i’d want do it again. Maybe change it from a big-gulp to a demitasse.
But that’s kind of where the pickle comes barging in. Usually we’re really good at not listening to the signals that our body is sending us.
It could be something we find interesting and fun or something that we feel that we “should” or “shouldn’t” do.
Otherwise we’re a nefarious villain with a handlebar moustache (that goes for you girls too!), cape and a tophat to boot.
Each person’s threshold is unique, what causes panic anxiety is individual. There is NOTHING to be ashamed about. If you’ve had it, or still have it, it doesn’t mean that you’re wrong or that you’re weak. It just means that the system is on the fritz and needs some attending to.
What’ll work for one person might not work for another. What you need is support and understanding, work from there and try to find out if there’s any way to manage it.
I’ll tell you why I realized that I really need to take a chill pill right about now. Back in the early 2000’s I was working in the automotive industry and trying to make it as a musician. I gave it 110% at work since i’d been “on the dole” before that. Also, kept giving it 110% with the music. Well, that’s nice in theory but it didn’t work out that well.
One day at work while cheerily putting together a turbo my stomach just turned into knots. I had to sit down. I stood back up and it was like having grumpy cat in my stomach, it went: “No”.
What else to do? I went home. Basically looking like a frickin’ questionmark. Not as in “I was surprised” more like the actual shape “?”. Don’t worry, the dot below isn’t what you think it is. It’s a pebble. Or is it?
When I got home I just layed down and took it easy. A couple of days later it’d passed and I merrily went back to work. Bad idea. After a while I started getting pains in my left shoulder. One night while not thinking about anything at all and… Voila! Panic attack! After it was over I cried and cried. To cap it off, I cried some more.
“Well, that was completely horrible!” I thought and went to the doctors. Ding-ding-ding! Congrats, dude! You’ve got an inflammation in your shoulder and you’re burning yourself out! I got anti-inflammatory medicine, some time with the shrink and went on the sick-list long term.
Great! I’ve got of the dole and now THIS? Well, let’s make some use of the time and focus on music. Oh, right. I can barely carry my stuff to and from the rehearsal. I’ve got so much free time and nothing to do. I stayed in a lot. It was winter. Cold Swedish winter. Played a lot of videogames, saw a lot of TV, wrote a lot of depressing songs. Hello actual depression!
It took about 6 months to get my stuff together. It took a relatively short amount of time but I attribute it to having great support from family, friends and my psychiatrist.
I’ve sometimes imagined what it’d been like if i’d listened to what my body was trying to say. I’m happy to report that the anxiety saved me in some weird way. My body knew what my mind and/or will didn’t. That it wasn’t the way I was supposed to go.
That said. I will NOT be getting on that ride again. This time i’ve actually listened to what my body is telling me instead of going: “Whoa, that’s weird. Aaanyways, back to the grind!”.
What triggered this whole shebang was an article I read about a blogger/vlogger called Zoe “Zoella” Sugg who’s released a novel called “Girl Online”. In it she tells the story of a blogger who goes through life and all that it entails, including panic attacks. No doubt it’s based on her own experiences. If you’d like to know more check her video on the matter a little bit further down!
I’d like to leave you with the knowledge that you’re not alone. Maybe the anxiety is telling you something that isn’t all that easy to understand. I’m not giving any other advice than to try to find out what it is and why it’s there. The process might be hard, uncomfortable and sometimes painful but it’s worth it.
I hope that maybe something in the videos below can help you on your journey through life whether you have anxiety, panic attacks or are depressed. Also good if you know someone who has it or you just want to understand it.
Much love! =)
Zoella – Dealing with Panic Attacks & Anxiety
TEDxReno – David Burns – Feeling Good
Panic Away – Interview with Dr. Harry Barry
Dan Harris – Panic Attack on TV