#Storytime | My history with panic attacks

Let’s talk about how common panic attacks are nowadays.

Usually caused by high levels of stress and anxiety, panic attacks can be vicious and torturous. It took me a while before I was able to talk about having anxiety and dealing with it. Now, I have no problem talking freely about it, but a couple of years ago I didn’t even want to acknowledge it.

When you’re under pressure for a long time by people, specific situations and obligations you tend to neglect your mental ( and sometimes physical) health and focus on solving any problem you might have at the moment, completely forgetting that you need care and attending too. Suddenly, your main goal is to get through the day and at times that seems like the hardest task on your to-do list.

During high school I had the most vicious panic attacks. It wasn’t just discomfort, trouble in breathing, shaking or sweating – it, literally, reached to a point where I would feel like vomiting when I had to go outside my house. Things were… tough.

The last year of high school, the famous senior year, seems like an old nightmare to me. I remember the pressure of going through finals and getting accepted to a good university, people over my head talking and arguing about it and, of course, my face constantly stuck inside a book. It was the year I didn’t see enough of my friends. It was the year I couldn’t even think about relaxing for even a moment. Nothing mattered more than making the people around me proud. Life, suddenly, was all about making sure that I was successful enough to be in my loved ones life – at least that’s the way I was seeing things.

That kind of pressure, along with the economical crisis that kind of messed up my family, resulted in me going through the roughest stage of my life.

Have you ever wondered what a panic attack feels like?

I’ll tell you.
It’s different for any person, of course. For me, it felt like I was sick to my stomach, wildly sad, almost depressed, I couldn’t breathe and my eyes were always watering like crazy.

The despair and fear of what’s happening in that moment is what really makes you panic. When you don’t know what you should do to help yourself, and no one arround you knows what to say to make things better – you can’t help, but let the pressure out by crying. I was a mess.

The worst thing? It reached a point where I couldn’t even walk out of the house.

I can’t even begin to tell you about the people I lost during that time in my life, the mistakes I made, because I was constantly in a battle with myself. Sleepless night and torturous thinking brought me down. I was trying to make myself happy the wrong way and I ended up hurting people in the process. Obviously,that’s something I deeply regret now.

Until, one day, my mother told me she had made an appointment with a psychologist. I didn’t want to go, in the beginning, because I was afraid of what people might think and what they might say about me seeing a therapist. Thinking about those times now, it all seems so ridiculous. Now, I freely say I am going through therapy, not because I am sick in any way, but mostly because I need guidance in my life and someone to help me put things in a proper perspective. Someone to help me see life the right way.

Going to ‘therapy’ was exactly what I needed and I understand that now. You know, sometimes, all we need is someone to tell us what we’re feeling is understandable. We’re not crazy, nothing is wrong with us, things will get better and we’ll be able to smile again. Or, sometimes, we just want to talk to someone, start a long conversation (or monologue) about all the things that are stressing us out, the people who don’t understand or give you a break, the tough situations you’re in and don’t seem to get better.

Having someone to talk to is a big deal.

My therapist put things into a perspective for me, when I couldn’t even think straight. She helped me see clearly and change my life for the better, by getting rid of all the things and people who were toxic and were bringing me down. She helped me find what I like about myself and what I don’t, she made me face my demons and I couldn’t be more grateful to her. She saved me in a way that, I guess, is not easy for some to understand.

After a month or two, I started noticing how many people had, actually, started talking and acknowledging anxiety all this time. I realized I am not the only one that was going through it and was trying to out of it a true champion. Now, I am so much better. However, there are so many people still battling with anxiety that makes me wonder…

Is there something wrong with our generation? Is the ‘weight of the world‘ too much for us to handle? Are we stressed about our future so much that we can’t even breath properly anymore?

Whatever the case, I believe, something good came out of it: people, these days, speak their troubles louder and clearer than before. Through all the stress, the nervousness, the heavy decisions and the hardship of life, many choose to voice out their thoughts and help each other by sharing their stories. The message that we’re not alone, that we’re not the only one dealing with tough situations is what gets us all through the day.

Anxiety exists and it comes in all kinds of forms. It affects the way you act, the way you feel, the way you talk. One thing is for sure, though, you may not be able to completely beat it or eliminate it from your life – but you can always fight back, resist and find ways to relax and focus. It’s one of the things I learned through therapy, we have power over ourselves and we can do anything we want to, bring ourselves up or down, fight our inner battles with dignity and find our inner peace.

After all, we are our biggest enemy and our biggest ally.

So, if you are having a hard time with panic attacks and you haven’t found a way to help yourselves yet, listen to me and reach for help from experts. Give yourselves a second chance to live your lives the way you want to!

You deserve to be happy, you deserve to be stress-free and I’m here to support you!

Thanks for reading

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