LIVING WITH PANIC ATTACKS: DIFFICULT, YET POSSIBLE

woman wearing black hoodie

By Anastasia Mizrahina

I always felt that time is a key component in many issues. We hurry and worry. We struggle and get a win. Time management seems something accessible in our fast-paced pressurized modern world. However, one has to admit that no one can put the clock back. Some things just cannot be controlled, and it stands beyond the bounds of human possibility. Time has become my trigger, which led to long-lasting panic attacks.

“Triggers are anything that reminds someone of previous trauma. To be triggered is to have an intense emotional or physical reaction, such as a panic attack, after encountering a trigger.” 

THE FIRST IS THE WORST

My mom comes home at 3 p.m. This is a usual practice with no exceptions. The clock goes 3 p.m., and the working hours are over. Time to rest. Time to share and strengthen family values (which has never worked). It is not difficult to guess that we have not been friends, and I always feared this H-hour. How many minutes are left?  How many seconds?

One day I was waiting as usual. Bang! I heard the turn of the key in the lock. One, two, three…the game was up, my mother was in the hall. Suddenly I noticed how cold I was. My hands were trembling. I felt a rapid, pounding heart rate and a tightness in my throat. There was a sense of impending doom accompanied by numbness and a feeling of unreality. I tried to call for help but uttered not a word. I attempted to stand up but was not able to make a move. I felt that I had lost control of my body, and it was the worst possible thing to happen. This panic attack repeated the next day, and then another day. It seemed that there is no end to this nightmare.

Check out: How to Survive in a Toxic Household

PANIC ATTACKS ARE DIFFERENT FROM AN ORDINARY FEAR

Panic attacks are something I used to live with most of my life. For me, panic attacks are intense fear, rapid beating of the heart, and chest pain. This always is accompanied by a feeling of detachment from reality and something overwhelming. It’s very hard. For years I wondered whether I could call this a panic attack. I also tried to sell myself an idea that I make a drama out of trivial incidents.

Despite the common misconception, panic attacks and fear are completely different things. Most people can experience fright. At the same time, panic attacks are less likely to happen to an average person. Unfortunately, the very fact of panic attacks is not the worst of evils. The key challenge is that a few people take this health issue seriously. Imagine you were being robbed. However, instead of support and care, you are blamed for drawing extra attention. “Why are you talking about your robbery?” some people ask. “There are many robberies in the world, no need to raise a dust surrounding the matter,” others insist. They make this robbery and all your losses unessential, invisible. This is awful. But in reality, this is unlikely to happen, as everybody can estimate the material losses. As for the panic attacks, material aspects are in the last place.

Typically, I feel ashamed to talk about how bad I feel. Even with relatives. Even with the closest ones. Indeed, it is difficult to understand the nature of the sudden intense fear, especially for those who never felt this way. However, that’s what I go through very often and many other people who also face this challenge.

THE GOOD NEWS IS PANIC ATTACKS ARE TREATABLE

The time has passed, and I realized that people can control strokes. This problem is not a death sentence, and people seem capable to find triggers and ease the situation. Each panic attack finishes. No way around it. I always try to remember that all things must pass, and this is not an everlasting punishment. In fact, there are more than 10 effective methods to stop panic attacks, but one should remember these are not magic pills. Constant practice is essential for effective treatment. I’m also up to psychotherapy, which is my trusty assistant on the long journey of self-conception. Anyhow, desire and time play an integral role here. Support from other people walks hand in hand.

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