I’ve always been an anxious person, even as a child. I used to get so anxious that I couldn’t breath. I’d get so worked up I would feel physically sick.
As I got older, if anything it got worse. Headaches, sweating, heart palpatations, unable to catch my breath. These symptoms plagued me my entire life. I lived in a constant state of anxiety for years. It was my normal. I truly didn’t feel I deserved better. I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house some days.
I wanted it to stop but I had no idea how to make that happen. So I bought a book an anxiety and phobia workbook. The book told me among other things to stop fighting the panic. It suggested when I felt the panic coming, instead of spending all that time and energy trying to wish it or push it away, to invite it to wash over me. I allow it to swallow me. I was in shock. How in the world could that help? Still I was willing to try almost anything in my desperation.
It took me quite awhile to allow the panic. I spent my life pushing it away. It wasn’t easy to just allow it to happen. I spent hours willing myself to accept the panic, to simply breath through it. To simply stay safe. I knew I was going to die the first time I didn’t fight a panic attack. It was terrible, yet I survived. Not only did I survive, I learned a very valuable lesson. The panic attack would end. Part of what made the panic worse for me was the fact that once I felt that impending panic attack feeling, It would never leave. That feeling would follow me for days. I spent a lot of time and years avoiding everything that may result in that feeling. (thus being unable to leave the house).
As the days and months passed, I was able to stop fighting the panic attacks better and better. And my panic attacks rather than lasting hours and days began to shorten in time. Oh I still hated the feeling. I don’t think anyone will ever like that feeling, or want it, but I was beginning to see that fighting it just made them worse.
As I learned to just breath, and distract myself while the attack was happening something miraculous happened, that constant state of fear/panic I lived in began to improve little by little.
I still have panic attacks. They are nowhere near as severe and frequent as they once were. I know now that they will end. They won’t last forever, and I know I will survive them. I no longer live in that constant state of debilitating panic. Panic no longer rules my life and it doesn’t have to rule yours.