Last night, at 2am, I woke up feeling a bit uneasy. At first I thought I was feeling sick from the Chinese, but I quickly realised that it was worse than that. It was a panic attack.
I felt my left arm go tingly and then my right, and then a wave of panic rolled up my back and over my head. I could feel it gripping my brain. It’s cold fingers just biting in to me. It is the worst feeling in the world.
I have previously seen a therapist to help me figure out what my issues are, so that I can prep myself to deal. And in the cases where one just sneaks up on me, I have techniques I can try to help over come the attack.
So, at first I stayed in bed, admittedly curled up in the foetal position, and started my favourite technique. They are all variations of the same thing, ways to slow my breathing down, to stop me from hyperventilating, thus in turn stopping adrenaline pumping through my body, lowering my level of panic, and voila! Well thats how it is supposed to work. My favourite technique is the 1,2,3,4 – basically you take short sharp breaths in, 1, 2, 3, 4, hold the last one for a fraction longer, and then let it out in short sharp breaths 1, 2, 3, 4.
After a few minutes of this, it didn’t appear to be working. So I moved on to the next one, which is essentially breathing in and out, into a paper bag. But I don’t just carry paper bags around, my therapist said that I can cup my hands around my mouth and it will accomplish the same thing. The point to this one is that when you hyperventilate, you end up with too much oxygen in your system. By cupping your hands and “breathing back in your own air” you are increasing your carbon dioxide levels, lowering your ability to want/need to hyperventilate, again reducing adrenaline, and thus the panic.
This was starting to work, but then everything escalated and I ended up running to the bathroom to throw up. At this stage hubby knew something was up (I normally tell him if something is wrong straight away, because the very BEST way for me to deal is to talk it out and come up with solutions), he came and saw me in the bathroom, and without even a word, went and got me my ice pack, wrapped in a towel, a glass of water and a wet face clothe and then sat with me, not touching me because he knows I already feel way to hot, and just gave me his support. I love this man. He is the best I could have asked for.
We eventually went back to bed, I barely slept, cuddling my ice pack and holding his hand. I was coming up with ways to call in sick, but the entire time I knew it wasn’t possible. Yesterday was my first day! But this is what it does to do, it makes you too scared to move, to go forward. Yesterday was amazing. I really can see myself staying there for years! The people are fantastic and they are all passionate about what they do. And yet, I had a sneaky panic attack creep up on me while I was sleeping.
I think it was a “relief” attack, rather than panic. The whole process of getting the job was only about 5 weeks, but I wanted it so desperately, that I just lived semi nervous all day. Now that the first day was over, I had some anxiety that needed release. Because I am choosing to think of this as a relief attack, I am going about my day as normal (except for this post, I normally write at night), I got up, went for my walk gave my pets their morning treat, showered, dressed and now I am writing this.
I needed to get this out of me. And I needed to share it. I honestly believe in relief attacks. I had one during the reception of my wedding, all that planning, for over a year, the colours, the designs, the decorations. Everything was perfect! Yet, half way through I had my head in a bin out by the resort pool – not lady like. But it went away and then I was all good, and I had the time of my life. Relief attacks, they ARE a thing!
Always & Forever
Mrs T xx