On the heels of my first really hardcore panic attack in months, I feel the need to write it out. A lot goes through my mind in a short amount of time, and not a lot of it is great. In fact, most of it is scary, negative, and full of regret.
If you’ve never had a panic attack, let me break it down a little bit for you. Basically, your body goes into panic overdrive–adrenaline rush, fight or flight against yourself, and you have nowhere to go. Your heart pounds, your body tingles, you shake uncontrollably, you fight nausea, you have this overwhelming sense of doom, and your mind goes nuts thinking that your body is about to die. And if your body dies, what happens to your mind? Even falling asleep is scary because your body feels like it’s slipping away from your mind, but sleep is exactly what I need most of the time a panic attack hits.
Maybe that doesn’t sound too horrible, and right now, separated from the feelings, I can tell myself a thousand different things I could have done better. But in the middle of a panic attack, it’s so hard to tell your body to calm itself, that nothing is wrong, because I just can’t trust my body anymore to tell me if it’s actually something serious or if I’m just essentially faking it because I’m stressed.
It’s a scary situation to find yourself in. If you can’t trust your body to tell you what’s going on, what can you do?
I suppose I can trust my body. So far, the record is panic attacks 100%, other serious illnesses 0%. I know most of my triggers, so I try my best to take care of those things throughout the day so I don’t purposely put myself in harm’s way. But sometimes we get comfortable. Sometimes I learn a new trigger. Things happen and change and evolve, and I just have to go with the flow. Unfortunately, change seems to be a trigger, so I need to tread that water carefully.
The problem with last night’s panic attack is that my whole body went into ‘what if the depression comes back’ mode and started to fight that, which only recreated the emotions and physical sensations I felt last summer when I went through that whole debacle. For a half hour or so, maybe longer, last night, I was panicking over the possibility of the depression returning because I could feel it wrapping its tight grip around my bones. It was terrifying.
The depression strips me of ME. And it leaves the new me angry, sad, with no way out of my skin to find the rest of ME. The overwhelmingly uncomfortable feeling of not caring enough about life to want to stay here (because what’s it all for anyway?) creeps in while ME is still in there and threatens to take over. ME doesn’t feel strong enough to fight that, even after months of happiness or no panic. Because that doesn’t matter. The imbalance hits no matter what’s going on in life.
But that can be prevented through eating right and exercising, both things I haven’t really been holding up my on end of the deal. Of course I’m still vegan, but I haven’t been eating nearly enough fruit these days. Mostly rice and beans. Not enough water, and definitely NOT enough exercise. I’ve been working through new scheduling processes for work, so I am finding more and more time for myself, which is awesome. But in that free time, I want to write, relax, or snuggle puppies. I don’t want to run or lift weights or do anything where my heart starts pumping too fast because that’s a trigger (since that’s part of a panic attack’s symptoms).
However, I NEED to take better care of myself. If I want to be here for a good, long while, I need to eat right, de-stress, exercise, get some sun, sleep enough, and breathe. I need to stop worrying so much about a future that isn’t guaranteed. I need to be in a better place mentally, spiritually, physically. But I need to take it one day at a time. It’s all I have, so it’s all I can conquer.
Taking a few deep breaths this morning to honor the journey. <3