A Peek Into an Anxiety Attack

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I had the first anxiety attack that I have had in months this morning. It wasn’t a full blown panic attack which I used to get, but it was sort of a mini attack which caught me by surprise considering I have been doing so well anxiety-wise. It also had/has me feeling angry and disappointed. I was almost feeling ‘cured’ for a while there. As I have learned through years of suffering from this horrid affliction, journaling is a wonderful tool in dealing with anxiety and the attacks especially. I journaled as I was going through the attack and I will share with you that journal entry in hopes to give some people an insight to what happens to some people during an anxiety attack. But please keep in mind that this is years and years after having been dealing with anxiety. For many (and even myself not so long ago) the attacks were much longer and more intense then the one I am about to describe. This entry is after a lot of therapy, reading, and even while on medication.

Thursday February 9th 9:55am

After I got out of the shower I felt a weird sensation in the back of my leg. That went away within a minute or so, but then I started feeling strange aches throughout the rest of my body in various places lasting only very brief moments. First in my left hand, then in my right foot, then my back..there seemed to be no pattern or reason. The pains were slight, just like a quick dull ache. But as they happened, I began to focus on my body and how I was feeling. The more I thought (worried) about these feelings, I also started to notice difficulty breathing and tightness in my throat and chest. My tummy also started to feel upset. I then started that same obsessing I used to get about the baby being left alone if something were to happen to me and I was not able to call 911 in time. The more I worried about this, the worse the physical symptoms felt. I did read an article last night that I knew I should have stayed clear from…it was about young women and strokes/heart attacks. So, of course, as usual, this is what I was fearing. Blood clots of any kind – heart, abdominal, head, lung – are my biggest fear. I put Cassidy in her crib hoping she will nap as it is near her naptime. At least that way, she will be safe if I were to pass out, or God forbid, die. I do realize that the more I start to get anxious and worry about my physical sensations and aches, the stronger they get. I realize that the anxiety causes a Physical and chemical reaction in my body that causes my muscles to tense which creates the tightness in my throat and chest. Also, I think that I unintentionally and unknowingly hold my breath when I become anxious and this is what causes the difficulty in breathing. I need to remember that I am basically a healthy person and have no rational reason to believe that I am in any life threatening danger. I also need to realize that when it is my time to die, I will have no control over that and I need to be at peace with that fact. I have taken all the rational, necessary steps to take any control I can – live a reasonably healthy life and educate myself on the possible dangers. Aside from that, there is truly nothing more I can do. I need to be okay with that lack of control and the truly unknown. I am a very sensitive person, both emotionally and physically. I feel a lot of aches, pains, and sensations that typically people would not even notice. Having the heart condition makes it more noticeable as I can feel arrythmias – but I must remember that they will not kill me. I have to remember that I have this habit of catasrophizing everything I feel and automatically assume I am in danger. As real and as scary as these feelings are, I must remember this habit because the older I get, the more aches I seem to get. As I have been sitting her writing for the past 30 minutes, my breathing has been normal, heart rate normal, and I do feel more relaxed. Though journaling does help a great deal, I need to work more on the CBT techniques so I can stop the obsessive thinking before it even reaches the point of even these ‘mini’ attacks.

End of entry.

Thanks to the medication I am on and my wonderful therapist, I have been basically anxiety free for months. But I must realize that I have a long way to go before I can consider myself ‘cured’. Perhaps there is no cure and it is just a matter of dealing with a life with relapses and remissions. For years I cried, why me. But I must remember that having to deal with this has also given me many opportunities I would otherwise not have. I have a greater understanding and compassion for those who have conditions many do not comprehend in the slightest. I have the opportunity to help others who are just learning about how to deal with anxiety/panic. I have the opportunity to look at this extra sensitivity as a gift in many ways. I won’t get in to all that now, but it has given me some power I would otherwise not have – I am not only sensitive to myself and my own body – but can actually empathize more than I think most people can on many different levels. I have also had the opportunity to meet some people that bring a lot to my life. Especially my therapist who helps me in ways I wasn’t even searching for.

It is unrealistic and even unfair to expect someone who has never had to deal with an anxiety disorder to even remotely understand what it is like to live with. But I think it is important to discuss these things so that not only can the people who suffer gain some skills and commrodary, but so that those who do not understand can at least begin to gain some insight.

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About Heather Rayne

I am a mom, wife, writer, volunteer, eater of food, lover of animals and avid TV enthusiast. I am opinionated, honest, compassionate and sensitive. I can also be difficult, hard headed and emotional. I consider myself to have a great sense of humor and am very attracted to that in others. I am striving to live an authentic life. I am attempting to learn how to find happiness in the now. I always have hope to be a better person. That being said - I can be vulgar, negative and even a little bitchy at times. I say what I mean and my filter is often dysfunctional. With me, what you see is what you get. I have strong opinions and am quick to speak my mind. This can cause problems from time to time but I do not ever intend to hurt or offend anyone. With that - be warned. I do hope you enjoy my site. Thanks for visiting and have a swell day.

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