Although it may be in bad form to start my post with “although”, I think I need to clarify a few things. I’m currently working on my self-esteem, which is a bit hard since it’s not something you simply have from one day to the next – it’s a way of being which needs to be worked on every single day. I really do like myself, and I feel very confident in my own skin. I could never imagine wanting to be anyone but myself as I am my own best friend.
Nevertheless, I do suffer anxiety attacks from time to time. In the beginning, I didn’t know what they were since, in my country, it wasn’t even listed as a health issue; instead, it was only thought of as nervousness or hysterics. This is not an easy experience and isn’t often understood by others. Even I don’t want to accept it many times, explaining away all my issues with a temporary bad day.
But still, it is true that I have moments where several factors come together in my life, and my body starts to react with panic. Thankfully, it only happens when I’ve undergone a high level of stress from several sources for a long time. Even so, I’m not always aware of when an attack is going to start. I usually only notice when it’s already too late, and since forcing your body to stop the anxiety can only make it worse, the best thing to do is just let it go.
My last one started when a security alarm rang out in a store where I was shopping. The sudden noise made me feel very uncomfortable, so I decided to leave ASAP and go back home. I knew that I need a safe place to calm down. For 20 minutes after, I felt more and more scared, my stomach twisted, and my skin broke out in goose bumps. My heart began beating very fast and irregularly, and I worried that I would faint on the street. The sensation of being in danger quickly gained momentum. I felt paralyzed by being surrounded by so many people, even though it was quite natural seeing as I was in the middle of the city. I kept going as fast as I could to get home. Arriving at my stairway did help me to calm down quite a bit. When I’ve been under tension for too long, I naturally react by crying, so as I pushed the button for my elevator, I couldn’t stop the tears. I recovered lying in bed in my room, where everything was familiar and I knew I was absolutely safe.
In the moment when it’s happening, I am absolutely aware of it; this awareness, however, does not lessen the attack. The only way I see which might help is physical exercise which, besides relieving mental and physical stress, helps me to keep my breathing and thus my body under control. The only thing is that I used to train 2-3 times per week, but now it looks like I should consider training every day. That’s nothing to really complain about, though, because as my body gets better, so will my brain.
With that said, my advice to anyone else dealing with the same problem is to simply allow your body to go through it. Recover by finding a “reset” spot where you feel safe and comfortable. Then, do some activity that will help you to relieve tension still hidden in your body. Above all, remember that it will pass, and you will stay just as awesome as you were before!
photo by Katarina Wolnik-Vera
Great thanks to Ellielove for proofreading