What happened today to send my plans and preparations so off course? After a fairly calm, productive and emotionally stable day, I suddenly found myself having a panic attack. I felt nauseous, trapped, and out of control. My heart was racing, my body temperature was up and down, I felt shaky, my mouth was dry and nothing felt safe. I was driving down a busy road with my kids in the car, so I wasn’t in a place I could take a timeout and practice my relaxation techniques. I was in panic mode. I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. By the time I could stop and relax, I was already over the tipping point and into panic.
What caused it? Your guess is as good as mine:
- a sound
- a movement
- a smell
- a thought
- a muscle twinge
- the traffic
- the song on the radio
- a thought
- a memory
- an idea
- something I saw out of the corner of my eye
- being over stimulated
- feeling tired
- the time of day
- being hungry
- having eaten too much or the wrong thing
- drinking too much water or not enough
- the effort it took to get three excited kids out of the house
- too many days of being out of the house in a row
- changing my medication
- not being consistent with my vitamins this week
- trying to do too much
- not meditating or journal or doing yoga for several days (or several weeks)
- doing too much exercise today
- not sleeping well
- working too much
- too much screen time
- back to school preparations
- big purchases
- or some complex combination of all of the above
I’ve calmed down now, though there is still a shadow of uncertainty. My legs don’t feel strong enough to hold me up and I don’t quite trust myself to do more than to rest. I’m alternating between distracting myself with Netflix and talking to myself in soothing, rational tones.
I could easily get caught up in the mental loop of trying to find a logical explanation for anxiety, which is about feelings and thoughts and patterns. It doesn’t make sense and I can force into a systemic mold, even though that would help pin point the cause of attack and allow me to feel responsible for whatever I might have done to contribute to it. I could abandon my plans for taking steps to build my business over the next weeks and months. I could doubt my ability to help anyone because I still have things to work on myself.
Trusting the Hard Work
So I have to trust the decisions I’ve made to improve my health, to seek combine medical and holistic approaches, to focus on my diet and supplements, to create balance in my life, to look after myself, to build a team of health care practionners of all kinds to support me, and to change my lifestyle so it supports what I need rather than I what I think I should do.
These long term, big picture, life altering changes are what will make the difference over time. These daily decisions, the recommitment to myself, the diet, the supplements, the exercise and self-care plan, the reflection and analysis, the trial and error, and the persistence to find a way to live that won’t always require medication are the hard work. They are what got me to this point where a panic attack was unexpected and unsettling rather than part of the daily routine.
This hard work is the foundation I can stand on to move forward, the solid ground I can trust to hold me up, the support system to hold me until I can walk again.
Now, I need to trust that this panic attack, after so many weeks of feeling better is just an anomaly. It isn’t my fault. I didn’t cause it. All I can do is choose how to respond, so I admitted I wasn’t feeling well, I asked for help, I came home and I made myself feel warm and safe, I expressed my feelings, and I’m going to do my best to not to make this bump in the road into an un-passable barrier. But if the mind chatter keeps building it into a massive road block, I’ll find away to dismantle it, or get around it, or climb over it. I’ll know I can draw on all the hard work I’ve done, the strength I’ve found and the tools I have to keep my healthy (diet, exercise, supplements, rest, support, and faith), to persist.
But, for tonight, I will listen to my body and stay warm and comfortable. I’ll hug my children and focus on their natural, authentic energy. Tomorrow, I will make time to meditate so I can practice the calm, relaxed grounded feelings I want to create and strengthen. And, I’ll keep moving forward in alignment with my vision for my life. I’ll put this panic attach behind me, where it belongs – and I’ll focus on what I’m creating.
Request your free checklist
Break Free From Anxiety & Depression will provide you with more than 50 holistic strategies to help you feel happier and healthier, starting today.