I’m a writer and like every other writer I can’t take things lightly, I can’t help but feel more than what others feel. Also, as a writer I like to imagine I have something going on my mind that is different than the rest of the world.
I should probably tell you the medical definition of panic attacks, but I’ll make it personal, and tell you mines. Panic attacks usually happen in stressful, anxious situations, situations where I do not feel comfortable, or situations which are trigger to previous time I had felt anxious. Then it all starts: heart pounding, breath quickens, tears threaten, feeling disoriented, and scary thoughts. Everything at once. Everything without a head ups. Everything without you knowing why. And everything stops abruptly, but like any strong feeling, the hangover reminds. Why? Why did that just happened? Why did I feel all that? Because you have panic attacks, because you have anxiety, because you feel too much at once.
I don’t think there is a perfect way to explain when I get anxious, of course I get before a big exams, or a presentation, but I also get it in a crowded cafeteria, I also get it when I have to talk on the phone, or when I have to ask for something in a store. It is not the normal before an exam anxiety, is “I have to deal with humans” anxiety.
It started around December/January when I struggling with sleeping at night, I will turn and turn but it wasn't just I couldn’t find the right position. I would close my eyes and my mind wouldn't shut up, at the time I didn’t have any obligations, so I was not struggling with exams or deadlines, they were just thoughts. My breath got quick, my heart beat loud… and so on and on. I thought it was only stress, but somehow it felt more than stress. I talked to my mother and she pointed out anxiety and panic attacks. I’ve heard of them many time but somehow they felt a little bit distance to me, like I was not allowed to deal with them, I was never involved in a traumatic experience, was I? It was always stress to me. But as I did more research (always trustworthy sources), I realize that everything felt real, I was struggling with how anxiety was describe by people. Being honest, it scared me. Was I going to deal with it always? Was it going to stop me? Does it sucks?
It does sucks. It sucks because sometimes you can’t go out, sometimes you need to leave a classroom because it is too much. It sucks because people don’t understand. It is so hard to explain to someone how you feel when you are anxious, just like someone suffering from depression can’t explain depression to someone, because it is not just sadness, it is more. It is not just feeling anxious, it is more. It is not just a final, it is more. Maybe that is what we can call it, “it is not just...it is more.” Not just a phone call, not just a photo, not just a message, not just pain, not just talking in class, it feels ten times heavier, ten times harder to proceed. It sucks, anxiety just sucks. Every word feels heavy, when someone brush you off, it is not just to the side, for me it is out of your life, you don’t want me anymore. We feel everything, ten times how a regular person does.
I am learning to slowly live with it. As I write this, I can tell you that last night I toss and turn for hours because my heart was loud, my breathing… I am in this slow process of understanding that is ok to feel everything, is ok to allowed myself to avoid a phone call, it is ok to allowed myself to have some nice tea and a book just to relax. I am learning to understand what are my triggers as well, since December is just a right around the corner and lots of memories and flashbacks are coming to me. I am learning that pulling away from some people has help me to understand why I was so suffocated a few months ago. I am learning that taking sometime off from your regular life and from certain people helps me feel better. I have yet to find an actual method to make myself feel better when the world is loud, music helps, writing helps, reading helps, swimming helps, even friends help. I am open to anyone telling me how they deal with anxiety and panic attacks as well. I hope everyone understand a little bit better why I sometimes need to be alone and understand that many things you do in your daily life, to me are hard. And I hope after finally opening up about this I can feel a bit better about being scared of making a phone call.