Thursday, 6 September 2018

LET'S TALK ABOUT PANIC ATTACKS

Okay so I’m not discreet about my mental health and I do talk about it a lot, but after a panic attack the other day I really wanted to discuss what they are, what they feel like, and why people get them. I will attach a link to the NHS page for panic attacks at the bottom of the page, plus other factual stuff. 

WHAT THEY ARE
A panic attack is essentially what it says on the tin; an attack of panic. Your body goes into 'fight or flight' and releases a bunch of hormones, such as cortisol, causing you to feel panicked, frightened, anxious and alarmed with no explainable, logical reasoning. They are comprised of a series of physical symptoms including (but not limited to) irregular heartbeat, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath. According to the NHS, panic attacks usually last somewhere from 5 to 20 minutes.

WHAT THEY FEEL LIKE
As someone who spent their college years experiencing panic attacks on an almost daily basis, I can confirm that they honestly feel like you are dying. People often mistake panic attacks for heart attacks which only proves the severity of how it feels when they happen. 

WHY PEOPLE GET THEM
People get panic attacks for a multitude of reasons and the reasoning behind each one is often unknown. Getting panic attacks can be a sign that you are suffering from stress, panic disorder, anxiety, depression, grief and so so much more. Essentially it means that emotionally you are dealing with a lot

Now let's discuss my most recent panic attack...


 TOP - MONKI (OLD)
SPARKLY SOCKS - PRIMARK
COAT - H&M

So, despite the fact that the photos in this post were planned, I didn’t exactly plan to have a photo shoot during the end of a panic attack. I haven’t had a panic attack in a while and certainly not one that bad.

This time it was due to my timekeeping... I’m an incredibly punctual person. I am early for everything because I hate being late. So when I was on my way to a work meeting, 10 minutes away with 5 minutes until it started, I went into fight or flight. My heart was racing, I felt like I couldn’t breathe, I was dizzy and nauseous and faint all the while knowing this was illogical and feeling like I was failing as an adult. 



I’d like to just point out that this is not at all an indication of failure and I don't think of it as that. But at that moment I felt like utter crap. I felt as though I was letting everybody down like I should be better by now, I should be able to juggle a million different things and that being a little bit late shouldn't send me into a frenzy. But it does. and that is ok. I am still a grown up, I am still fully capable of doing everything I want to do and I accept that sometimes things aren't going to be as peachy keen as I'd like and that, that is also completely fine. 

You'd think a photoshoot would have enhanced the panic but it did actually calm me down. I had something small to focus on, that I knew I could do, and it genuinely made me feel a bit better about myself for making the most out of a shit situation. Of course, I didn't attempt this mid-panic attack with tears streaming down my face behind my sunglasses. No. What I actually did mid-panic attack to calm down was call my Mom and she helped me to breathe and to calm down and she told me to hold Finn's hand and sit down. And I did and it helped. Finn hadn't witnessed me having a panic attack before so he felt like he had let me down but him just being there made it a whole lot better.


As promised, there are a few links below if you want to learn more about panic attacks as well as links to things that may help you or a friend who does experience panic attacks. I know this post wasn't particularly empathetic but rather descriptive and factual but that's how I wanted it to be, to just outline what panic attacks are, particularly what they are for me.

NHS Understanding Panic Attacks
MIND Help A Friend
MIND Information and Support

If you know of any other useful resources, please let me know and I'll add them to this post.

IWx
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