Monday, February 23, 2015

Panic Attacks are Uncool!

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Panic attacks are uncool.

Back in 2012, I had the most uncool episode. I had to quit my job. I was faced with a horrible feeling of being beside myself. I was laying in the ladies room at my work place with a good friend/co-worker trying to calm me down. Paramedics filled the bathroom and asked of past history. As I write this I tingle and get clamy. It's not cool ya'll! It's the most horrifying feeling ever. To be in a room but nothing makes sense. Your breathing shortens. Your mind clouds and the moment seems endless. I wasn't dying so I went from work to an ambulance to sitting in a downtown ER for hours. Before being sent home with the diagnosis of "crazy person". Not literally but you know what I mean. It was not the most pleasurable experience. And, it was bit embarrassing.

To this day I see people from my old job and they tell me how that was their last memory of me. Me being wheeled out on a stretcher. 

It's not something that I had warning signs for or that slowly came up with different symptoms. I was a Momma of Dos {2}, working full-time with a Husband who was a student and away for almost 2 months in Utah on an Internship assignment. One day I was in "total control"; running a home and getting occasional help with the kids, living alone for 2 months, working as a full-time Assistant Supervisor helping run an office of about 50 employees and "making it all work".  And, the next day I was sitting in my office in a meeting with my supervisor and a group of other employees when I couldn't breath and had lost it.

It's been over 2 years since that happened. I "took it easy" for a while as recommend by my doctor, but how long can you really "take it easy"? Life is hectic. It's hard to always be in relax mode. Despite doctor's recommendations, I never took medication for my "condition". Instead I got a new job, less stressful, and started a new type of lifestyle. Still, life is life. 

These days, the moments of panic come and go. I have learned to control them and manage my day to day with them. I have learned that if  a place is too crowed or stuffy and small, I get a little more nervous and anxious. But, overall I try to make my "overwhelming" situation into one that I can control.

Here are 3 simple ways that I control my panic attacks;

1) ::Breathing Exercises:: Some times I know it's all in my mind, I take deep breaths slowly get up and walk away from the room or what I am thinking and try to relax my mind. It's a rush of nervousness that fills my brain and it quickly travels to all other areas of my being. So, I feel it coming on and I sit back and tell myself it's going to be OK. Some days that works, others I have to get up and walk around or find a quiet place to just relax for a few minutes.

2) ::Asking for Help:: I used to be scared to ask others for help. I hate being a burden. I don't like bothering others, everyone is busy. But, I found that for the most part if I simply ask, people are more than willing to help me. I don't do it often but when I do I make sure that it's for something important. These days, I am always scared people will say no, and they do but I just keep asking around and eventually someone will be available and can help me!  It's also not easy if you don't have too many friends or family that live close by. I have also learned to voice my need for help to my Husband, who then will give me a hand or take on extra time with the kids.

3) ::Take Time Off:: I have learned to just have days where nothing is going on. To relax, catch up on sleep and enjoy the nothingness. It's hard to do as a Momma and some days are better than others. But, even if it's a few extra hours to sleep in or just lay on the couch and relax, I do it. I try to because life becomes busy, very quickly. That's exhausting and draining. And, it affects my level of anxiety. Taking advantage of down time is key in getting your mind clear.

All of these changes help me, the biggest help is seeking medical assistance and/or counseling. I would never have thought of all this on my own, it's something I have learned from different health care professionals.

It has been easier to  manage my everyday. Life can be so stressful but there is always a way.  Never give up on yourself. It might not be easy but it will be worth it. 

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