Over Christmas I had two panic attacks; horrible ones. The first occurred in Cambridge out of the blue. I was in the hotel room in the morning, just about to go to breakfast and something in my mind triggered it. I sat on the edge of the bed, my head went dizzy and I sweated profusely. My friend was aware that I had this, gave me a towel to wipe off the perspiration, which was coming off me in torrents, and left me alone to calm down. My friend was still in the room but knew I needed space to be totally alone to try and focus on my anxiety and try and relax. I felt awful for the rest of the day to be honest. I was walking around Cambridge but I felt queasy, giddy and full of worry. It kind of ruined the day, but I wouldn’t confess, I just kind of coped.
My nerves have been on edge ever since. It’s quite difficult to describe. There are not many moments in the day where I feel content and calm. I seem to have an under-currant of high alert just waiting for the next one to hit me. I know I need to get to the doctors again to address these issues, yet I feel that just upping my dosage of happy pills only masks the underlying problem of being out of control with my thought processes which is at the heart of the issue. I need to get the CBT up and running. I’m trying my hardest to not convey a sob story to you and searching for sympathy, because I am aware that there are millions of us in the world that suffer with this.
The reason I am writing this tonight is because I feel quite proud of myself as I achieved what I would consider to be the impossible the other evening.
If you happen to suffer with anxiety and panic attacks then I hope that this post will help you in some way. We are all different of course, yet the panic sets in as having similarities with all of us don’t you find? The rush of adrenaline begins, our bodies may heat up, sweat uncontrollably, painful headaches hit, breathing accelerates-which we cannot control- the frenzied panic of feeling like you want to run as fast as you can away from where you are. I cannot bear people trying to talk to me when I’m going through this, I know they mean well, but I’m trying to cope with the feelings that are out of control! It’s hell.
So, I did something that worked for me the other night. A relaxation technique that I’d read about in the past which I’d tried to do but failed. It’s extremely difficult to try and relax your body when you are having a panic attack, no matter what counsellors or Doctors may say; it’s easier said than done. But I did it finally, and it worked!!!
The panic attack hit me at about 11.30 pm last Monday evening. I was laying in bed, over-thinking about this and that, and my head started to really hurt. The squeezing sensation that is the sign of a tension headache. It got worse and worse as I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. I began to panic, and the cycle slowly began. My heart was fast, I began to sweat, to breathe out of control, and I didn’t know what to do. So I laid on my back on the bed and started to try to relax.
I don’t know if you have ever read about this technique before, but you begin by working through your body from the tip of your toes to the top of your head. You tense each body part and then release. Feet, legs, hips, lifting arms and relaxing (like just dropping them down in total relaxation), hands stretched and resting, lifting head and dropping onto your pillow. Squeezing your facial features tight and releasing until your body feels more relaxed. You then need to breathe in slowly for 4 counts and out through your mouth for 4 counts, and you keep doing this whilst thinking of nothing, or something peaceful. I imagined sitting on a beach. You can then use your fingers and slowly massage your face in a circular motion, using soft strokes around your eyes, forehead and temples. If you have a partner to do this for you then so much the better.
My headache slowly wore off and I felt far more relaxed and in control once again. So this really worked for me for the first time, yet it’s very hard to take control when you are in the midst of this awful feeling. I hope that if you do suffer with this, that you get help from health professionals that can give you the correct support, and please have a go at my suggestion, because it really does work!
Take Care x Pip