Today’s post is a bit more serious than my fashion posts…
I have Panic Disorder, which means that I have panic attacks a few times a week can lead to having panic attacks because I’m afraid of having a panic attack.
It got so bad that I went to my doctor to find some sort of treatment. She gave me some advice on how I can tame my panic attacks on my own. I tried her advice for a month. It didn’t work. She then put me on Celexa.
Once I started taking the medicine, my anxiety diminished greatly. I don’t even care if it was mostly the placebo effect, I felt so much better than I had in a long time!
I’ve been on Celexa for several months now. I am taking the lowest dose because I don’t want to have to rely on this medicine, especially since I can’t take it while being pregnant and I’m sure having panic attacks during pregnancy won’t only not be good for me, but will also potentially harm the baby. So, I had planned on weaning myself off of the medicine soon.
For those of you who read my Coffee post, you know that change is something that triggers my anxiety. As I mentioned in that post, going back to school this semester made me extremely anxious and I almost had a panic attack on my second day, so I gave up caffeine as a result.
Giving up coffee worked so well! I was honestly surprised! But also a little sad because that means I have a reason to not drink coffee now and I LOVE coffee.
However, I was very tired a few days ago so I decided to indulge in some nice warm coffee. I thought, it’s a Saturday. I’m not doing anything. Nothing will happen. I deserve this. No, Paleeza. You were so wrong.
Matthew and I dog-sat for my friend, Kristina, on Sunday and Monday. We went to her apartment on Saturday so she could show us what her puppy needed. On our way to her place, I began to feel anxious. I had already felt jittery that morning because of the coffee. I believe that the jittery feeling triggered my anxiety since they feel so similar. As we got closer to the apartment, my anxiety got closer to panic. My thoughts were fine, I wasn’t stressed about anything; my body was just out of control.
We got inside and my hands immediately began to tingle. This is similar to the feeling you get when a part of your body loses blood circulation and “falls asleep”. Then my legs got very heavy and my lips went numb. Finally, my vision was filled with red spots due to lack of oxygen. Classic panic attack.
Since I’ve had my fair share of panic attacks, I was able to appear like everything was completely normal. No one knew that I was having a full blown panic attack right next to them.
How was I able to do that, you ask? Well, here’s what I’ve learned after having a decent amount of attacks:
This is extremely important! The lack of oxygen is what causes most of the symptoms. When my arms start tingling and my legs feel heavy, I focus on my heart beat and breath. I make sure I am breathing in and out at a regular normal pace and that my heart is staying calm.
It is easy to feel like you have no control over anything when you’re having an attack, which is why it’s so important to remember that God does have control and that He will take care of you! God loves you!! And he created you, panic attacks and all, for a reason! He doesn’t make mistakes, which means that He made no mistake in making you the way you are.
I know that God gave me this anxiety for a reason. And I believe that reason is for me to talk about my personal experiences like I am doing now. It gives me a chance to help others like me and to share my faith in the process.
3. Remember that you aren’t dying
The first time I had a panic attack I thought I was having a stroke. The second time, I went to the hospital and thought I had MS. Panic attacks are terrifying and I cry every time I have one. But what helps me get through it is by remembering that I am OK. The attack won’t last long (even though it feels like an eternity at the time) and I will come out of it as healthy as I was before.
When I remind myself of these three steps, I can quickly get out of my attack. Usually, I can use these as soon as my symptoms start in order to stop my attack from ever happening.
These three steps keep me calm when I’m in public. They keep me from becoming agoraphobic (fear of leaving home). They remind me that I am who I am for a reason and that I shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed of my attacks. I should embrace them as a part of who God made me to be and to be patient if treatment doesn’t work as quickly as I would like.
For those of you who struggle with panic and anxiety, I sincerely hope this list will help you. The biggest and most important thing to do whenever you feel helpless, no matter the circumstance, is to pray. God is always with you.