what does it feel like?

You can’t breath, your heart begins to race, and all you want to do is run; get out of your skin for a second to escape the thoughts. A wave of panic overcomes your mind and you suddenly loose all reasoning skills. Logical thinking, is so far gone that the tunnel becomes narrower and narrower, the light at the end slips away quickly until finally it is nowhere to be found.

I remember the first panic attack I ever had. It started shortly after my grandma passed at a young age. It shook our close knit family, and honestly it was devastating to my household in more than one way. Being so young myself, loss wasn’t something I had to yet confront. Maybe I was too young to have to grasp the concept of death? After witnessing the finality of life on Earth, I began to get overwhelmed when trying to fall asleep at night. I would get extreme feelings of sadness when looking at a picture of my mom holding me when I was a baby. An odd feeling for a seven year old to have looking at a baby picture, wouldn’t you say? I began to feel anxiety because I would think about how my mother one day, too would pass, even if long down the road- it was unavoidable. that’s when the panic would set in, and I would scream in terror.

From the outside looking in, I appear to be completely stable and confident-according to most. While I would describe myself as stable and confident in general, I would also describe myself as anxiety-prone; its just not something we advertise openly because it may make us seem >unwell, weak, crazy<

Last night was just another night in the nineteen year battle I have had with anxiety. some nights are worse than others. outside factors increase the likelihood that I will have an attack: stress, drinking even one glass of red wine (for some reason), lack of exercise or sleep. Because I am not perfect and I will inevitably feel stressed, have a glass of wine, lack the time to exercise, or stay up late cutting into the little sleep I get.

So is this just something I have to live with? There are things that do help reduce feelings of anxiety. Feeling spiritually sound and turning to prayer, for example. Or even the thought that my anxiety affects the people who rely on me: my husband and my son. Being mindful of this helps me to get it under control. Even still, the next attack seems inevitable.

That’s what it feels like.

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