Monday, 23 October 2017

The Uniqueness Of Panic Attacks.

Time for a little admission: I've been really naive about panic attacks.

I have experienced panic attacks in their typical form. I'm talking hyperventilating, shaking, struggling to breathe, your heart feeling like it's going to beat out of your chest and then the general feeling that you're definitely, absolutely, positively dying but this was when my bipolar was unmanaged and when I became medicated and started visiting a psychiatrist every 3 months I became calmer and the panic attacks fizzled out. I'd experience panic but not full on attacks.
I figured that that's what a panic attacks was.

But I have recently learned that panic attacks come in many different shapes and sizes. They are very skillful shapeshifters and can manifest in many ways.
I had naively thought that I would only ever experience a panic attack one way and that would be the way I was familiar with but I was so wrong.

After the loss of my uncle I started experiencing weird symptoms every time his name was mentioned or after seeing a picture of him. When I felt the grip of grief tighten around me I'd know what was coming.
 Every time I was triggered I would feel a tingling feeling begin to creep up my neck. The way I describe that feeling is it's like the moment you're about to be sick. That anxious wave and knowledge of what's to come. I would then feel my fingers tingle and begin to feel as if they're trying to detach from my body and float away. Sometimes I would feel feint and as if the room was spinning. I'd often feel very cold and as I took a breath in it was as if the air was ice cold too. I'd feel the cold air fill my lungs and take my breath away.
I would feel distant from my own body. I felt as If I'd come out of my body and was trapped just outside of it. Yes, it felt as weird as it sounds.

These episodes could last up to 15 minutes and would leave me feeling so strange and disorientated.
I was experiencing these about 10-15 times a day and it began to severely impact on my life. I was seriously worn out and my whole body became achy and on some days it hurt to move. I wasn't sleeping very well as they would often happen when I was about to fall asleep and sometimes IN my sleep. If they happened while I was asleep they would be intensified. I'd wake up feeling very confused and nauseous and in turn my heart started to beat so much faster through fear.

Image result for quotes about high anxiety

After about a week of going through this I decided to google it (obviously) and the results all led me to one thing: Panic attacks.
This was then confirmed by my psychiatrist who told me these were common symptoms of a panic attack which really surprised me.
I had no idea that panic attacks could be so very different.

Once I realised they were panic attacks and that I wasn't going to die I started to work with them, breathe through them and just accept that that is what they are.
A lot of the time I just had to ride them out.

As for now, I am still experiencing them but nowhere near as regularly and though they are still all-consuming they aren't heavily impacting on my life as they were before.
I am sleeping much better as thankfully they seem to have stopped happening during the night.

So to finish, I just wanted to say that I have such admiration and love for those who experience panic attacks on a daily basis. They are so debilitating and dictate so much of your life. They can happen when you least expect it and sometimes a trigger can't be identified.

Image result for quotes about panic attacks
You're all bad ass.

If you have any tips for coping with panic attacks please leave them in the comments and if you'd like more information on panic attacks then click here.


*Images taken from Google


  1. I’m so sorry you have to go through this, it really sounds terrible so I can’t imagine what it would be like to go through one! I hope you can get through it and thank you for sharing something so personal! 💗

    1. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment x