You can’t always tell when I’m anxious. It’s not very dramatic or obvious, I rarely have panic attacks and generally it happens more internally. When my anxiety reaches its peak, I’m not really in any position to be able to fight or flight.
Anxiety causes all of my blood to drain from my body, I become hot and a little dizzy; my heart begins to pound until I can hear and feel it in my hears. Then I can’t move. I don’t want to move because it feels to much to bear. The idea of hiding in my room, curling up into a ball or my favorite position of face down starfish splat on my bed, seems the safest option until the internal panic subsides. From the outside, there may not be much of a sign that I’m having a wobble. I might be quieter, a bit paler or distracted looking but it’s not totally obvious. The best thing is, it’s not always the same and sometimes I panic in differences ways too! It’s funny but it reminds me of a cartoon I’ve seen on a number of occasions where there’s someone drowning in the sea and people on the shore think they’re swimming and waving.
For new, the best thing to do when I’m feeling like this is to try and keep things normal. Encouraging me to talk through what I’m feeling is good but patience and support is the most valuable help, that and getting my snuggly pink blanket or the cat; even sitting or laying beside me in my splat helps. I guess it’s about riding the wave until I feel better which I have evidence to prove happens. I find mindfulness really helpful too, especially counting the breath, I will write more about my experience of mindfulness another day.
This week Casey Throwaway bravely uploaded a video of himself having a panic attack to YouTube. I’m so pleased that people are talking about their mental health openly and trying to fight against the stigma associated with these conditions. I wanted to talk a little about different manifestations of anxiety and panic and hopefully encourage others to talk about how their anxiety rears its head and how others can support them at times when they are struggling.
Stay strong and keep talking recovery warriors! Xx