I had a panic attack today. An earth shatteringly scary panic attack. I couldn’t breathe, my face was tingling and numb at the same time and moving my fingers was harder than I thought it would be. It was terrifying.
And I have never felt more alone than I did in that 20 minutes.
People talk about anxiety a lot. There are hundreds and thousands of posts and videos on how to deal with it, on what it is and what you can do to resolve it. There is so much out there on how to deal with attacks but I promise you none of it matters when you are in that place.
I was told I had anxiety this time last year. I had a minor fallout with a friend around this time and I was stressed with college so I had blamed it all on that but when I had a proper breakdown and cried for the hour bus journey home while struggling to breathe and talk to the old lady next to me I realised it was probably more than being a bit tired and stressed. Originally my doctor said, and I quote, “You’ve just got a few messed up wires in your head then don’t you?” which in hindsight definitely did not help. Because I ended up thinking I was a nutcase and had attacks more and more.
These attacks came in all different kinds of ways. From small woooahhhh moments to huge get the f*ck away from me because I don’t want to be alive anymore panic attacks. I have cried until my head hurts and pushed so many people away. Some people I pushed away for positive reasons, others because I didn’t know how to tell them I was struggling.
I stopped phoning my family as much. Stopped celebrating exciting times. Stopped feeling excited about amazing accomplishments and instead overwhelmed and terrified of doing anything good for me.
So today, as I sat in a lecture learning about defamation I was fine. I was fine for approximately 23 minutes until I received an email that should have thrilled me and made me smile.
Instead I stopped breathing. I held my breath thinking the feeling would pass. And I only realised I had been holding my breath when I my face started to tingle. And then when I started breathing it was short, shallow breaths.
I walked out of my lecture. Straight down the middle of the rows of chairs and smashed through the door thinking about running out of the building. Getting as far away as I could possibly think at that moment. I thought about messaging someone for help, but they would ignore it. Because of course they would. And then I fell on the floor and cried. I cried so hard and I couldn’t breath and my body ached and my hands tingled and I couldn’t feel the tears running down my face.
I didn’t realise there were strangers holding my shoulders because I couldn’t feel them. At that moment as I looked down I could literally see no way of getting past it. I felt alone while I was surrounded by people. I thought I was going to pass out and I didn’t care. I didn’t want to wake up to this feeling. I didn’t want to wake up at all. I wanted the black hole to just close behind me and then I wouldn’t feel anything.
But I got through it. Granted I left uni and I still feel drained and sensitive but I am fine. My throat has the weird swallow and the pain will go or you will break pain but I am fine.
Anxiety is a horrible feeling. Everybody suffers from the anxious emotion. Everybody gets that feeling of loss or loneliness. But some people don’t understand how terrifying suffering from a severe panic attack can be. I have done everything I can think of to tackle my anxiety. I’ve started exercising regularly, I eat incredibly healthily and I am getting rid of negative toxins in my life whether it be relationships, clothes or habits. But it doesn’t mean that I will suddenly be alright.
There will be a lot of people who think I shouldn’t but in all honesty, it’s because they don’t understand it. It sucks so bad but it does happen and it scares me sometimes. But I can get through it and it is important to remind myself that I am stronger than whatever it is that takes over my head to try and break me.