Today seems like a good day to talk about anxiety – starving off a panic attack isn’t for the faint-hearted.

Surea and I were sitting having breakfast at my dining room table, it was a Sunday morning, all my animals were happy and healthy, the day was beautiful, I was in my favourite place – my home – and one of my best friends was with me, there was nothing to be obviously anxious about. 

Mid-way through breakfast my racing mind completely ran away with me. I was panicked, all these words kept flying into my head and my mouth. Surea sat in wide-eyed wonder as I went from a rational human to a wreck. I insisted on going into the garden and picking up the dog poo, anything to keep busy and try to get ahead of my thoughts. I have no idea how long this went on for – my chest felt crushed, I couldn’t catch my breath, my thoughts felt like a runaway train, and I was convinced I was losing my mind. 

When I finally came to sit down again, as I remember it, Surea took my hand, very quietly and gently, and asked if I thought I had just had a panic attack. At that moment I didn’t feel like I’d lost my mind, I finally felt that – perhaps – I understood what was going on. 

Until then, I never entertained the thought that I had anxiety – I just thought that’s how I was – constantly rushing – in my head and in my world – I think, now, thinking back, that was a way of getting ahead of these thoughts – if I sat still I guess I thought they’d have time to catch up with me. The truth is, in some way, more complicated but in the same breath so much simpler. Once I understood what was happening, I was able to recognise it and ultimately, come to live in a way that – for me anyhow – was a far cry from the debilitating panic attacks that I had come to accept as part of my life. 

The way I describe my anxiety now is like living with a bully – my experience of bullies is that they need to be seen, recognised, then put in their place! As an action-orientated person, I work well with ‘to-do’ lists – a clear route to learning about, understanding, and then managing an issue in my life. So I’m learning to not only live with my anxiety but to, most importantly, not allow the bully to dictate my days completely.

When panic clutched at my chest today, here is what I did:

  1. I got out of the shopping centre, took off my mask – once I was in the car – and put my air-conditioning on!
  2. I then called my partner and explained what was happening. 
  3. I messaged another friend, somehow saying it out loud loosens its grip on me. Signs, for me, that a panic attack may be looming are; quickness of breath, shallow breathing, the feeling I can’t take deep enough breaths, fidgety, increased heart rate, sweaty palms, racing thoughts, I feel a bit like I’m losing my mind!
  4. Once I got home I kept busy; manual ‘stuff’ seems to move me from my mind into my body and the sense of blind panic abates, even if just moment to moment.
  5. I also take homeopathic remedies to help calm me, these include; Elev8, Relicalm, and rescue remedy

Please note: there are MANY approaches to anxiety and in no way am I advocating one approach over another, I am simply sharing what worked and continues to work for me. I would love to hear your thoughts on this tricky topic so please feel free to comment, I believe that together, we can do hard things!

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