Friday, March 3, 2017

What My Panic Attacks Feel Like

I don't recall ever getting panic attacks until recent years. I think it was right after I came back home to NorCal that I started having them. At first they would feel like episodes of extreme negativity and I just thought I was having a bad day but they would become more frequent and less expected. Almost like an unwelcome guest who knocks on your door when you are least ready. Eventually they became something I realized I couldn't control and when they would come I'd have to just sit through them and cross my fingers for them to pass quickly.

As I'm typing this, with tears flooding out of my eyes uncontrollably, I'm having a panic attack. I tell myself to breathe, as methodically as I possibly could, in through the nose and out through the mouth, repeat..."deep breaths, you can do this, deep breaths..." I repeat to myself over and over again.

The one I'm currently having started off with a decently normal morning, followed by some work, then some lunch time high intensity interval trainings with coworkers (which I quite enjoyed), followed by an afternoon of restlessness and an influx of uncontrollable negative thoughts. I told myself I'd go to happy hour with a co worker and try to fend off this uneasiness I feel. But within that hour behind my mustered laughters I'd feel miserable, and wanted to go home immediately. It felt crippling. I felt uncomfortable and couldn't control the pounding negative thoughts taking over my brain and telling me to suffer. I rush home, immediately take off my makeup and change into something more comfortable, without sweat from lunch time workouts. My brain feels jumbled, my mind continues to race, I feel lost and frantic, I text someone I trust and tell him to give me a minute of comfort because I don't feel well. He calls me, I begin to explain how unwell I feel, and the tears would not stop. I feel despair, hopelessness, and alone...abandoned. I feel like I can't get better. I feel like this journey of self discovery and self love isn't going to have a good outcome, and I feel like I am wasting my time in trying to "be better" on my own. Everything feels miserable and I feel beaten, I feel like I can't make it. In my mind no matter how much I tell myself these are transient feelings that I should just witness and not react to I cannot find and end to this despair. He asks me if anything happened, and I manage to answer no, that I am having a panic attack and I can't control this feeling of hopelessness. He tells me to breath and things will be okay. I continue to tell myself the same. I tell him I will write this down and try to be calm.

As I'm typing now I realize the tears have stopped, and I feel a bit more calm. I still feel in a daze but because I'd let myself cry I don't feel as miserable. The scary part of having one of these episodes is not being able to control it. The self help books and the ideologies don't come in handy when your mind is going haywire. I have been trying on a daily basis to practice a positive mindset and self love from the moment I wake up in the last few weeks but when these panic attacks hit I am rendered absolutely useless. The last time I had one of these was awhile ago, actually a long while ago, so when today's episode came by I wasn't prepared for it. Now I feel an immense amount of tiredness. My eyes want to close and my breathing slows down.

I continue to breathe with an intentional methodical pattern, and I wait...

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