Last night, I suffered from an anxiety attack and I thought I was going to die. I’m sharing this because in the light of day, when the attack has passed, it became easy to dismiss it as silly and embarrassing. It’s neither.
Suffering from an attack does not necessarily mean you are dealing with a mental health issue either. They can be symptomatic of things like hyperthyroidism, and inner ear complaints and other general medical conditions. Some are brought on by use of stimulants, like drugs, coffee or alcohol and some are generated through physical and mental exhaustion. Who can’t relate to that one!?
I’ve had them before, but not often enough to know what they are when they are happening. It’s only after the event that I can sit back and reflect.
Last night, I suffered from a severe migraine with aura, which I believe led to the panic attack. I’ve had migraines before, but this one had symptoms which I had never experienced like dizzy spells and cold, tingly hands and feet. That combined with the massive tension headache circling my skull, the shoulder pain and the nausea, I had very quickly drawn the conclusion that I was going to die.
At the time, I didn’t know why I was going to die, I was just overcome with the pain and unable to find relief.
This is not logical – obviously! If my train of thought was logical – I wouldn’t have been having a panic attack.
I suspect that feeling really unwell, not knowing why and failing to find relief in the things that have always worked, are what caused me to experience enough panic that my minds natural conclusion was “I’m dying”.
Surely I was going to die and leave my son motherless and my husband wifeless and all my craft projects unfinished. FUCK!
My super husband was there by my side the whole time, offering constant support but there was absolutely nothing anyone could do, except me.
I just had to breathe. And that’s exactly what I did.
It took maybe 1.5hours of slow breathing – in through the nose and out through the mouth to calm down. And eventually the migraine passed and my husband and I were left exhausted. I think he even joked at one point, comparing the situation to labor. He then realised his lapse in judgement with that one, as I failed to laugh, and he slinked away.
As I said, I’m sharing this because when it was all done and dusted, I felt an overwhelming sense of embarrassment. As though, the whole thing could have been avoided if I was just less dramatic and silly.
But I know that isn’t true and I know there are others out there suffering from attacks, who don’t have a supportive Bert-Bert beside them at night or someone to tell them it’s OK.
And I wanted to tell them that it is OK. And they will be OK!
You are not silly – you are amazing and human, just like the rest of us.
Sometimes life is overwhelming, for whatever reason, and the only thing we can control is our breath.