It starts in my hands – tingling with pins and needles until I lose the ability to move them. I watch them twitch as they hang immobile by my side.
Breathing becomes hard, as if my lungs instantly lose the capacity to circulate air – they’ve given up on keeping me alive.
All hearing senses are amplified. The sheer volume of my surroundings become excruciatingly loud. Whispers from 10 metres away may as well be screamed into my ear.
My skin is on fire – not like burning up on the beach on a summer’s day. Burning like being trapped in an overheated sauna, sweating profusely – steaming to the point of near unconsciousness.
Mind and body refuse to cooperate.
Thoughts become short and jagged.
Onlookers underestimate the discomfort and embarrassment of anxiety attacks. My explanation is not over exaggerated – it may not even be accurate enough to describe it. Attempting to define what the hell is happening to you is near impossible, even more so if the person you’re talking to hasn’t experienced it first-hand. It could be the exact reason we keep quiet about panic attacks – we don’t want to sound crazy.
The list of downfalls to having an attack is as long as Santa’s naughty and nice list – but the worst thing about it is that it hits you when you least expect it.
FUN LOCATIONS WHERE I LEAST EXPECTED IT:
- The zoo
- An Ed Sheeran concert
- A One Direction concert
- Driving my car
I don’t want to be afraid of driving myself to work or going to the zoo because of it. What I do want is to be known as someone who is full of love and radiates light, not someone who is scared to go outside my house and do the things that make them excited to jump out of bed in the morning.
Having anxiety is like being followed by a voice. It can list all of your insecurities and use them against you. It gets to the point where it’s the loudest voice in the room – the only voice you can hear. It’s like a toddler, it never stops talking.
I went through a phase when my stress levels were at their peak and cleanliness and organisation was taking over my entire thought process. Nothing was tidy enough. Clothes would be sprawled on my bedroom floor, and all I had to do was fold them and stack them away in my colour-coordinated wardrobe (true fact). Sometimes folding would require more effort than I was willing to use and I would want to sleep instead. On multiple occasions I would be caught dragging my doona and pillows to the couch because I couldn’t sleep in my room with anything out of place. It does make life a little harder when you are constantly worried.
I’ve learned to do the things that challenge me despite thinking that I am not capable. To become immersed in the person you are and not let anxiety or doubt overrule you is a rewarding concept and I hope anyone who suffers from anxiety attacks can experience it – it’s truly wonderful.
This isn’t to say anxiety is out of my life completely. It catches me and hangs around when it is clearly not welcome anymore. I’d like to think I can handle myself better now that I’ve grown up experiencing it, but somehow I believe that’s not the case just yet.
It’s really hard – but hard is not impossible.
If you’re struggling with the constant worry and self-doubt, be courageous and brave – you’ve got this. Make yourself proud by simply not taking the small things in life for granted, like having the ability to dance to your favourite song with your friends or looking into the eyes of people you love. One day, we might not have the abilities anymore to experience such lustrous things – look at the big picture, it’s pretty beautiful out there.
If you’re like me, I can only hope you find acceptance within yourself and are able to live your life to the absolute fullest, despite the downfalls.