Panicking:

Disclaimer: a) This post does not serve as a source of definitive information. I write from my personal experience, not diagnosed by any medical professional.

b) This is a long one.

What are panic attacks? These are periods of intense fear or apprehension of sudden onset.


How do you know you’re having one? You might feel palpitations, sweating, shivering, shaking, numbness, nausea or a feeling I’ve imagined as a boulder rolling around inside my stomach.
Can you foresee an attack? Like mentioned before, they’re sudden. But through experience, you can tell the signs of an approaching attack.


Are you given medication? According to my not so extensive researching on google, there isn’t a sure shot way of avoiding a panic attack by popping pills. But there are ways you control the frequency and if you’re lucky, completely stop its occurrence over time. However, the medication you receive in case you do find it necessary, goes only as far as reducing your symptoms but not prevent a future attack. Talk therapy is something you can look into for counselling.


Source: Google reading.


I’m 21 and memories from school are starting to become a tad hazy now. (What are you a grandma, Anya?)
It was 6 years ago. So, spare me for not remembering details of the events leading up to it, but I was in the casualty of a nearby hospital on the first day of tenth grade. I remember having the last bed, curtains drawn, a tall doctor pressing into the sides of my stomach and my dad at the head of my bed. I needed the doctor to tell me 3 things: how to stop my limbs from going ice cold, how to stop myself from throwing up and how to stop my head from spinning like the Pulsar.


He found nothing, obviously. I didn’t have a disease; I was just scared. I feared something so trivial; I need to go back in time and shake that girl that hooked her two big toes and slept on that bed like the world had fallen on her head. I had to give my dad an explanation as to why I’d behaved so unusually that he had to drive me to a hospital at 8 in the morning, so I blamed it on the human body and it’s way of making me bleed a few days every month with accompanied cramps. And as for the doctor, he probably thought he knew what a kid with a case of the ‘school scare’ looked like. He didn’t.


My dad gave into it and let me stay at home for the next three days since I WOULD NOT budge.


That, I believe, was the first time I ever felt genuine fear for something I’d never felt in all my years of attending school. Yeah, laugh all you want at my 15-year-old self. I would too now because I can’t remember how it felt. I didn’t hate school. I had excellent attendance not because my parents wouldn’t let me sit at home but because I liked going to school. I had straight A’s (Almost), I played a couple of sports that I wasn’t the worst at, and I enjoyed my time there. There was no reason for me to take off three days to calm my head. When I did decide to go back, there was not even the slightest bit of apprehension at all. It was like those three days didn’t happen.
I forgot all about it after that because like I said, I was one of those that liked going to school and mostly I liked knowing. What I had pulled on my first day wasn’t something I understood and while it made me uneasy, I accepted it was best not knowing why it happened.


What was once safely shut off in a safe that I never intended to open, I forgot existed, bounced open again one morning during my physiology practical revision classes in college. It was the end of my first year of medical school, we had to go in batches to look at instruments in our practical lab. That was all that was expected. Look and if you didn’t know you could ask around or ask a professor for help. I could make it out in less than half an hour. But…..


The jitters began right outside of college. I put it off for all of two seconds before it came back again with a vengeance. I was the last one left in the little classrooms we often used to place our bags in. I waited, managed to pull a book out, put it back in, and made a run for it back to my hostel room.


It was a two-minute run to my room, I would know because it was two excruciating minutes of swallowing back puke. My room was on the fourth floor, but I only made it to the communal washrooms on the ground floor to throw up in one of the toilets. That was my ‘crying in the bathroom’ moment without the overhead shower washing away the ugly tears that refused to stop.


Can someone pay me for the dramatics already?


It wasn’t the run back to the room. It wasn’t the fact that I had just hurled up. I was still retching and trying to catch my breath while dialing my father up. You’re never prepared to receive a call from your daughter, away in another city, sobbing bitterly over the phone, unable to breathe let alone talk. I know I was begging for him to do something or tell me something. I know I kept reminding him of tenth grade and I know I was asking him to help. As a father not knowing what was happening, you can only do so much as panicking and telling me to sit down somewhere and try drinking water.


I’m a generally anxious person. I’m on the edge for the slightest of things that don’t go according to plan or even if they do go according to plan. I barely scrape through with sudden improvisations. The unknown doesn’t sound adventurous (It’s changing.) and most definitely doesn’t excite me. If by excite, you mean rile me up in the worst way possible, then okay, yeah. It excites me. I have my fair share of adventure, don’t judge me; I’m not a wuss.
I’m not proud of it but I’m not done with it. It’s become a way of life to try and have most things in control or know what path I walk. I need to know direction. I’d lose my shit in a game of ‘Blindfold me, spin me and let me go find people’.


But through years of getting worked up at very tiny things and letting my mind go into overdrive, I’ve learnt to be prepared. Prepared for when I know and prepared for when I don’t know.


But then there are times I surprise myself and catch myself off guard. That is where the problem lies. That is where my panic attacks crouch, waiting. You don’t anticipate panic attacks, obviously. How do you know you’re going to freak out on the first day of your last year in school? How do you know you’ll flip out looking at an empty classroom? How do you know you’re going to hide AFTER the dance performance that the team won, teaching yourself to breathe not because you just danced but because your body won’t let you enjoy that brief happiness?
Having said that, it’s still a debate between momentarily losing my cool and panic attacks. But, to be prepared, here are some things that I find could be useful if I remember it the next time around, for anyone that wants to know.


Personal tips from the author: 1) Breathe deep and long breaths.
2) Get on the floor and lie down flat. Trace patterns or focus on details.
3) Force self to grab a book and read. Or color. Put your mind into something else.
4) There’s always one person you can call, right that minute to calm your nerves.
In these trying times, for anyone that has panic attack or anxiety attacks, while I definitely don’t understand the full extent of your battle, my heart goes out to you.

For more tips you can find a post on it here.
Thanks to Caz from Mental Health From the Outside for writing a more detailed post on tips to managing panic attacks which you’ll find here.

39 Comments on “Panicking:”

  1. I have panic attacks now due to my PTSD. My son, who was 19 and passed last year, had panic attacks similar to what you describe. He missed almost a full year of school once because he couldn’t get out of the car and walk into the school. It was a lot to deal with and I wish he were here because I would take days like that over what I have now, but I do have his memories and his stories to help others. One of the things I would add to your list of what to do is to give in to your panic a little. I have found that some of the stress is the panic that you are going to panic! I think if you give yourself a break and let it flow in and out of you, there is less stress.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I am so sorry for your loss, Christine. He’s resting easy now.
      I was skeptical of adding panic attacks because it’s not something that’s been diagnosed and I’ve only had a couple of these episodes where I can’t pinpoint what I could’ve done or what triggered it. I just get panicky without any reason and it’s extreme to me.
      But thank you for your advice, maybe I should just let it pass through in its time.
      I hope you’re doing well. Stay safe.

      Liked by 2 people

      • With only 2 instances, it’s really difficult for “logic” to find the cause. But there must be a reason. And there is a way, but unusual and could be risky if you do not have the practice, that is if you are not “introspective” enough, provided the cause was mental. There might be physical causes like deficiencies but very unlikely due to as-rare-as-merely-two-cases.

        Liked by 2 people

      • It isn’t frequent and it’s easy to often forget that it can happen but it’s still at the back of my mind that a crowd might set it off any minute. I’m generally not a fan of big crowds although I’m changing and I am getting used to that. But there is a nagging feeling when there’s a big crowd mixed with the thought of having to do something amongst that crowd

        Like

    • Thank you :’)) Those are just some of the things that I hope to remember next time if there is one.
      Please feel free to drop in some that you know of or have heard of.
      Hope y’all are doing well there.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I only experienced a complete panic attack once, several months after my 2 oldest daughters were born in Mumbai, India. I was in A&E at the time. They strapped me up to a heart monitor and oxygen mask to smother my screams and shouts! I don’t really recommend that option! A bit extreme maybe! They packed me off home with a prescription forValium – not really recommended either! I binned it…

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m sorry for replying to you so late, WP put your comment into spam and I only just found out.
      I’m glad to hear it’s gotten better. It’ll get even more better I trust 😀

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: