Abuse · anxiety · Authenticity · Family Matters · Letting go · Life · Meandering Thoughts · mental health · mindfulness · panic attacks · Panic Disorder · Uncategorized

The Feeling of Panic

The last two days I’ve had panic attacks, and I feel fuzzy. It’s the same feeling many people get with low blood sugar, so I’ve heard.  Your body feels shaky and on edge, but your brain is fuzzy.  For me, it’s a contradictory feeling.  I’m on high alert, but I can’t focus. The hair on my body stands on end; I have goosebumps all over.  I want to be present and disappear all at the same time.

When the panic sets in, I find it hard to remember that there are other things going on around me. I become fully present in the attack and  lose focus on anything else in the world.  It’s extremely odd since I feel so full of energy, but I lack the ambition or motivation to do something that releases it.  I can feel the blood rushing under my skin and I can’t sit still.  I need to find something…anything…to do, but I lose the ability to focus on one thing.  It’s extremely frustrating knowing I need any outlet but not being able to actually focus on something productive.  I’ve tried several things, exercise, meditation, even tai chi. But while some relief is found, it’s not enough to abate the panic attack. The only thing that runs through my mind is the situation that brought on the anxiety, having it play over and over in my head.

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As the trigger looms, and my inability to find a release increases, my body begins to react.  Heat spreads through my body like a flush.  Sometimes this begins without my knowledge, but I’m snapped out of anything I’m doing when the heat spreads up the back of my neck to my head.  A tingling sensation always follows, and this is when I know I can’t stop the impending panic attack.  I know I need to find a place where I can ride the waves of it comfortably and privately.

The attack normally ends in an outburst of emotion, routinely in the form of crying. The stress and anxiety builds so intensely that it’s the only way it can escape. I shake and cry loudly, and it’s exhausting.  It’s like being a tea pot that is coming to boil.  The jitters, the hot flashes, the tingling sensations are all leading up to a boiling over of tears and waves of heaving breaths.

After the attack is over my brain, and occasionally my body, go into recovery. I still don’t have the ability to focus, but this time it’s not from being overstimulated.  My mind feels fuzzy and blurry around the edges.  I can stare off into space easily and get caught in the emptiness of my mind.  The outburst of energy is so great that I have nothing left to even motivate a thought process.  I move and think on instinct, when needed. If it was something that I could bring on naturally through a meditative state, I’m sure it would be quite relaxing.  But after something as jarring as a panic attack, it feels more weighted.  There’s a heft to it since it’s not voluntary.  My whole body feels heavier, and it takes a concentrated effort to get up and go about my day.

I’ve been thinking of a lot lately, trying to sort through my past, my relationships, my weight, just life in general. I’m scared.  I’m scared of who I’ll end up being, where I’ll end up and what responsibility I’ll have for it.  To be specific, I’m terrified I will end up like my father.  He wasn’t a well-loved or well-lived individual.  I fear waking up one day, without family or loved ones and realizing I was the cause of it.  I fear being the reason I was isolated, treating others in ways that forced them to choose survival and self or a relationship with me. I never want to be that person that lives without love or that pushes others to breaking points.  This fear fuels so much of where I am right now.

I spent so much time on edge trying to keep things stable, and I felt responsible to keep him from blowing up.  I would only take so much, and after really tough days of blow ups and insults, I’d scream back. I’d unload.  I learned I was capable of being just like him.  This…this frightens me.  I have that…that rotten pit that festered inside his stomach…in me. I know it’s there.  I’ve seen it in action. I would hurl insults back at my father when I felt like I was up against a wall.  I’d feel backed into a corner and lash out. It was my way of protecting myself and hurting him back.  I needed to feel secure, and with him, the only way to do that was to respond with the same actions.  I had to prove that I was just as tough and strong as he was.

As a child, I found it hard to not let it out, and as a result, I was constantly told I needed to change.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have any friends.  It was one of those things I was told I had to change in order to be loved.  I never want to be that person.  I don’t want to be that person that drives others away by her bitter and hardened heart.  As a result, I find I’m overly accepting, forgiving and trusting, or so my true friends say.  I allow people into my life who have no intentions other than to gain what they need or want, and I’m not comfortable in doing what I need to do to kick them out.  I end up feeling like a bad person by doing so.  It’s a double edged sword as I end up being extremely anxious that I’m doing something that turns me into him.  My guilt will lay on my conscience and anxiety will be build as I start to feel shame, again eventually into a panic attack.  It’s a vicious cycle.

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To me this seems rather lonely.

At what point does protecting yourself turn into hardening and walling yourself off?  At what point are you no longer a good person?  At what point should you stop forgiving people, and no longer allow them the ability to?  This is what I’m struggling with now.

 

Painting: StrigoiVii

 

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45 thoughts on “The Feeling of Panic

  1. Panic attacks are horrid – I suffer too & sympathise. Mine normally occur during the day (mornings) when I’m hot & indoors in an airless or overheated place – almost claustophobic but the place could be a large shopping centre not necessarily a small area! I find sucking on mints/ sweets help me & I now try, if in a public place, to sit near entrances/open windows/aisle seats so I don’t feel enclosed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find that having sugar of some kind helps as well. I often wonder if it has something to do with low blood sugar…perhaps it increases anxiety.

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  2. This entry really hit home with me as I myself also suffer with panic attacks, they’re not a nice thing to have at all and I’m sorry to hear that it’s something that you also go through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One thing from writing this, I’ve realized we are not alone. A lot of women seem to experience panic attacks. I’m sorry you go through them as well.

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  3. You are not your father. His fate is his. Your fate is yours. Parasitic friends are not worth having around. Protect yourself from the right things and not just everything. Forgive people every single time, but disconnect from them when you know they’re no good for you. Being a good person doesn’t mean you hold your tongue and let people walk all over you. Be good to everyone, but don’t be friends with just anyone.

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    1. Thank you so much for your beautiful reply. It truly hit home. I will do my best to adhere to your advice and to remind myself that I am my own person.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The mere fact that your emotional outburst is routinely in the form of tears immediately tells me that you are not going to be like your father. The fact that you care and are cognizant of it further helps to separate you from him. One day you will wake up and realize that you are not alone and that the right people will come along and love you despite what you think of as flaws. You will learn your own tricks for coping but don’t think that coping means never having another attack. You will continue to have them but you (and the people around you) will become better equipped for handling them when they arise. Hang in there, sweetie. It truly will get better and there is nothing wrong with you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, thank you for your beautiful words! They meant quite a bit. Thank you for being so kind to a stranger. 🙂 FYI – i love your blog. Those kebobs look amazing!

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  5. What everyone is saying here is true. You are NOT your father. Certainly you may recognize some familiar traits. But becoming like someone happens because we are not conscious of our emotions, feelings, or choices. You are highly sensitive and if you ever notice that you are acting like your dad, you would be able to notice it and stop the behavior. It doesn’t happen automatically.
    Take a deep breath hon. Panic attacks suck (I had panic bad as a child), but remember they distort your thinking and make everything worse. When you are not in a “worry mode” or agitated, I bet you don’t have these feelings so acutely. Worrying and anxiety make things seem like nightmares. But you just keep being you, you will be ok. xxx

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    1. So many of you are so supportive. I wasn’t truly expecting it and thought I would scare away readers. Thank you so much for your kind words. I couldn’t imagine have panic attacks as a child. That must have difficult growing up with. I’m glad to hear you are doing so much better. Mine didn’t come on until my late twenties. Anything seems like a nightmare when you are in the midst of anxiety.

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  6. ps. and as for the panic, you need to not focus so much on the feelings and your symptoms. I know you hate how you feel when it’s happening. But understand anxiety and panic are caused by a rush of adrenalin and other stress hormones. It makes you think you’re crazy, have to leave, and everything you describe. If you can get a handle on your breathing and focus in on that when it’s happening. Understand that panic attacks (adrenaline rush) comes in a wave. It peaks, and then it gets better. It always goes away. The trick is to sit with the horrible feelings and just let them wash over you. Breathe through it, but don’t tense up mentally or resist. Once you lose your fear of the panic, it goes away. It’s a big bully, nothing more. It can’t really hurt you. Take care xx

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    1. I definitely feel “crazy” in the midst of a panic attack. That rush makes you do/say/feel crazy things in an effort to release the energy.

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    1. It was VERY helpful actually. very cathartic. I hope you got some relief from it as well if you are going through a period of stress and worry.

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    1. Thank you. It really depends. They’ve been a bit farther between. I used to get them at least once a week, but once I started therapy, I’ve come to about once or twice a year. I’m in the middle of a few big transitions this year, so I’m getting them like once a quarter it feels like. Lol.

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  7. I’ve been there. The key is, I think, to focus on the positives instead of those negatives and worries. I know your brain is telling you to focus on those bad things – because it’s telling you that you need to figure it out, you need to understand why your father did what he did. But instead, shift the thoughts to counting your blessings instead. Before you go to bed each night, think of at least 3 things you did that day that you are proud of. Even the tiniest thing… “I got out of bed.”
    …. and xanax helps a lot 🙂

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    1. I may make a page on this blog for that. Thank you for the tip! Post 5 or 6 things I’m grateful each week. And the Xanax…that made me LOL. I’m so scared of getting addicted to it that I don’t take it often.

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  8. I too suffer from panic attacks and they are the worst things. I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy! You actually sound like you’re coping (although you probably don’t feel like it!)

    You are a strong person so do carry on fighting it. Youll eventually get there but it takes time. Continue sharing, it’s quite a therapy sometimes!

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    1. Thank you so much. I’m sorry to hear you suffer with these as well. I am coping as their frequency has diminished. I hope you aren’t experiencing them often. You are strong and a beautifully kind person.

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  9. hugs
    beautifully written. I have no advice. I just … well I get it. I also worry about the type of person I’m becoming and in my case how I don’t want to become like her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear you are worrying. It’s difficult and can be tiring, but you can change anything you don’t like. However, I’m sure you have nothing to worry about, as cheesy and unhelpful that is. I find most people who worry about such things don’t really need to.

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  10. This is so honest and well written. You express your thoughts and feelings so poetically. I also suffer from anxiety and bouts of depression from my fear, panic attacks and anxiety. It’s a horrible world in which to live. I understand how you feel, but could never express it as well as you. I appreciate you sharing your inner thoughts about your feeling of panic… it helps to know that there are others who also go through it.

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    1. Wow, there are so many of us who go through this! I’m sorry to hear that you go through this as well. It’s definitely trying and can seem like it’s an uphill battle. If you ever need someone to talk to, let me know!

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  11. Panic attacks are no fun to deal with 😦 Thank you so much for opening up and sharing what you’re going through. Try to remember to focus on yourself and the things that make you happy and look for the positive in things vs. the negative. And good breathe in breathe out techniques always help!

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  12. First of all I want to send you lots of love because I have been exactly where you are right now. It is such a dark, lonely and scary place. I think the hard part is that in order to attempt to protect ourselves we wall ourselves off from people and experiences so that we don’t have to feel the fear or pain. This creates such a lonely place to live.

    I think first feel compassion for where you are and what you’re going through. Then maybe delve into what thoughts/things that are going on that send you into a panic. Is it reminding you of the past? I think sometimes we go into a panic because we are experiencing a memory/thought/emotion that we are not comfortable.

    What you’re experiencing is not an easy thing to go through. Take it one day at a time, be kind to yourself and try to remember that it does get better. Thank you for sharing your story.❤❤❤❤❤

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    1. I’m sorry to hear that you have been down this road, but I’m glad to see you are doing so much better and made your way through it. I hear to be kind to yourself often. Just celebrating little things can really help. Is that how you started?

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  13. are you going through therapy? I would highly suggest that you should, because this is a deep rooted issue you might not be able to fix on your own. Try a therapist, and see if she can help you work through the attacks and through your fears – good luck!

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    1. Yes I do. It’s very comforting and it’s something i use as a tool. It was actually my therapist who suggested I start the blog to get my thoughts and feelings out, and to see that no one will see me as any lesser or upset with me.

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  14. I work in the mental health field so I am very familiar with panic and anxiety disorders. For the most part the general public still misunderstands those that suffer from these issues. Thank you for shining a light on the subject and being so vulnerable so that others may better understand.
    -Rachel @ Tidy&Teal

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  15. I always had a different image of panic attacks, but from reading what you go through I’ve realized I suffer from them, too. The last part about being overly accepting and forgiving…that was me but it was too hard on me to be okay with people using me. I’m rambling but I just wanted to let you know this helped me figure out some things about myself. Thank you.

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    1. 🙂 What was the image you had? I’m learning how hard it can be to be so accepting and forgiving me. I’m trying to learn that fine line.

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  16. Great post. I have a severe anxiety disorder and I suffer from panic attacks and have for the past 15+ years. Therapy has helped along with medication. The most helpful thing is staying positive and having people in your life who understand. That can be hard to find since most people will just be like, “what are you so anxious about? Just relax.” But connecting to people who through this too is always great 🙂

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  17. Your posts are so honest and well written. You can summarize perfectly what it feels like to people who don’t deal with anxiety and panic attacks…

    Thank you for sharing your story with us and showing others how it feels like to deal with anxiety. You’re not alone.

    Be well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. The whole point of this blog was to be open and honest about me. Going through life, you show so many faces of who are you…I wanted a place I could be myself, and place where others could as well.

      Talking about my anxiety and panic attacks helps…at least for me. And I hope it does for others as well.

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    1. For me, I find little things that I can focus on that aren’t too demanding help. Before adult coloring books became so popular, I had a few regular ones (Barbie, Lisa Frank). For some reason, Sudoku helped me too. You had to focus to place but it wasn’t so taxing that my brain had to work.

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