Anxiety & I
I want to tell you a story about my experience with anxiety. It’s not the most exciting story and it’s definitely not anywhere near the scariest anxiety story; but it’s my story and I want to share it with you.
On the last Wednesday of April 2015, I quit smoking, alcohol and drugs; I even said Good-bye to my dearly beloved Mary-Jane.
The night before I had made a little visit to the hospital after calling an ambulance because my heart was going at 162bpm, while all I was trying to do was have Netflix & Chill. Luckily for me it was just a panic attack – I felt so guilty for calling an ambulance afterwards, but I didn’t know what was happening at the time because I’d never experienced it before.
There was definitely a build up to this episode. It would start with me, normally high, just being aware of my heart beat. But then that awareness would cause it to beat faster, then the speed would increase more and more and more, until I was questioning whether I was too young to have a heart attack! Normally I would end up going to sleep, trying to ignore my rapid pulse and telling myself it was just because I was high and that in fact my heart was actually beating at a very normal rate.
One night I was sitting, smoking, eating and watching Desperate Housewives (a high-time fave), when it started. At first I tried to ignore it, as I was used to it by now and even though it scared me, I tried to think about the fact that nothing had ever actually happened from it before. But the more I tried to calm myself down the worse it got.
I remember going to sit on the sofa with my dog as I had read somewhere that being with animals can ease stress. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough and I started to feel every heart beat like a punch in the chest. I didn’t want to do it but I phoned an ambulance and trembled my way through the questions, all of which were convincing me that I was feeling pain in places that I hadn’t before, simply because they’d asked me.
Eventually the ambulance arrived and I felt a shade better, but not by much. I was sat on the sofa while they attached sticky pads and wires to me. My entire body was shaking uncontrollably, to the point where it even managed to make me laugh – I suppose that was a plus side to being high. Having the paramedics there took away a lot of the fear; it seemed that what was left of my problems were almost exclusively physical: convulsing, rapid heart rate, uneven breathing and a very shaky voice.
They were nice guys and kept me talking – as best as I could. After taking a reading of my pulse rate, one of them turned to me and said, “You’re going to hospital.” This left me with no choice but to feel relieved. I was going to hospital, and to me that meant only that I would be in safe hands and that I would find out what was happening to me.
After getting the results that there was nothing wrong with my heart and that what I had suffered from was just a panic attack, and so I should seriously consider laying off the drugs, I went home, exhausted and a little embarrassed. It turns out they only took me to get checked out because, due to the fact that I was super high, I appeared so calm on arrival that it made them question whether I was actually having a panic attack or not.
Just over a week later, whilst waiting for my lift to the airport at 3am on a Sunday night, I nearly had another panic attack. I managed to stay calm enough to go to the airport, get on my flight and do some kind of weird cry-breathing thing the whole way to Spain. I spent the whole time there drifting in and out of anxiety, which completely took the relaxation out of the holiday (talk about first world problems!).
In the months that followed, I struggled with intense anxiety fairly frequently, despite knowing exactly what it was.
After a couple of months of frequently breathing into a paper bag, I finally accepted the fact that the worst that could happen during a panic attack would be for me to pass out. This simple idea saved me from anything more than feeling a little anxious in stressful situations.
I hardly ever get anxious anymore but when I do I just get up, walk around for a bit and basically tell anxiety to “do one”. Literally talking in my head, saying, “Come on then, do your worst, I dare you. All that will happen will be me passing out and then I’ll be even more sure of it!” I know it sounds cliché and a bit lame, but I swear down it helps.
If you struggle with anxiety, please just give it a go. You are in control of your mind, I promise you.
Say it now: “Hey anxiety, Fuck you! I haven’t got time for your shit, if you’re gonna do something to me then do it, stop fucking around and get on with it. I’m ready for you, give me your best shot!”
And then when it goes away, you can be all like, “Yeah, you’d better run, Bitch!” …That’s the best part about it 😉
So it’s a bit like Peter Pan, you’ve gotta believe in it! Believe that it can work, believe that you are in control and believe that you are capable of overcoming this serious disorder.
Do you suffer from anxiety? Leave a comment and share your experience.
Thanks for reading and watch this space for a short one on exercise & anxiety. Peace!
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