How to Manage Panic Attacks
I was on the phone with my mum the other day and was telling her about how crappy my weekend was and that I just wasn't in a mood to talk. "Why?" she asked. "I saw your pictures on Instagram and you looked so happy and fun!" As she said that, I suddenly realized that I have been putting on a mask. As a blogger, you constantly worry about creating the right content and putting up a happy front, when in reality I should have just been honest with my viewers and show what I was really going through. I realize that this is my own fault, I only share with what I want people to see, mainly because sharing my struggles shows my weaknesses. But if we have no one to talk to, how else do we weather the storm?
Whenever I am super stressed, my chest closes up, I get tunnel vision, and everything is insanely overwhelming to me, to the point that I need to sit down. Afterwards, I always have some shoulder and neck pain and just feel like crying, or sometimes I just want to scream. As it turns out, I have been suffering from panic attacks, about three to four a week. As an insanely busy person who still makes to-do lists as I am going to sleep, panic attacks was literally the worst news for me. This mental illness was disrupting my days and rendering me helpless multiple times a week! I cried and cried about how I couldn't put my life on hold, and just decide that I would just fight through it. I have school, I have work, I have billions of to-do lists and I couldn't take out twenty minutes a day to focus on my own mental health. As I am typing it out I am realizing how stupid that sounds, but that was my initial justification of not acting on this.
I believe it is important to use my platform to share this because I wish that someone would have told me that it is not just okay, but NECESSARY to take time off for yourself. I had to leave work multiple times due to my panic attacks; because I had not taken any actions except ignorance.
So here is what I actually now DO:
1. Breathing Techniques
Managing your breathing isn't just beneficial for yoga. When I am feeling like something is about to happen, I try to step to the side, close my eyes and take some deep breaths. I have informed my colleagues about my issue so they're not weirded out by me suddenly stopping, and they have respected this. I use my Apple Watch breathing app to help me find the right pace. Additionally, I found this link to help you start on breathing exercises.
2. Morning Yoga and Meditation
Understanding that this is your body that is creating this can make you feel out of control and disconnected from your body. Starting your day with mindful yoga can help you feel more powerful and at ease with your body.
3. Take Time Off
If you have a busy day, take 30 minutes to do something you enjoy. I don't care if you have four tests and a project deadline, find the time. You will not be able to do any of these things if you don't take care of your own mental health, and you WILL regret it later on.
4. Talk To A Doctor
Although I try to do these things, it could still be that your attacks are ongoing. That is okay. You are not responsible for what is happening, but you owe it to yourself to try to seek help if needed. It is not embarrassing to have anxiety or panic disorder, and there is nothing more important than your health. Schedule an appointment to find out what can really work for you long-term.
I want people to do these things if they need to so that you can go travel the world and see sand dunes and jump off cliffs into the ocean and fly away in a hot-air balloon. Life is a beautiful thing, and not taking care of yourself will cause you to miss out on many magical moments.