my panic attacks are back

Hello friends of the Internet,

Here’s the thing about mental health – just when you think that you’re doing fine, something happens to set you right back to square one.

It was May 1st and I met one of my best friends. It was a beautiful day, so we were outside most of the time. There was a small event in honor of the 1st of May in the city, so we decided to go. At first, everything was fine; I was having one of the best days in a long time, I felt at ease and happy to be talking with my friend. All in all, I couldn’t have imagined that things would go so wrong from there on out.

We decided to check out the event and grab some drinks. There were a couple of bands playing, so we watched them for a while before deciding to head to the theme park located a few steps away from the event. The grounds were packed, probably due to the event and it being such a nice day.

We walked to the direction of the theme park and I started to feel a little overwhelmed by all of the people. The further we disappeared into the crowds and crowds of people, the more uncomfortable I started to feel. It got to a point where I felt light-headed, disoriented and unable to breath properly. My head was spinning, my thoughts were racing, my vision was blurred and there was a ringing sound in my ears.

To be honest, I am not sure how I got out of the crowds (my memory always goes a little foggy when I have a panic attack) – all I know is that I was clutching onto my friend at one point, gasping for air, trying to calm myself down. My friend, being no stranger to panic attacks herself, gave me the space I needed to feel like I was in control of my body again.

Affecting every person differently, there’s not a certain formula to overcoming panic attacks. I know some people who like to be touched or hugged when they have one but personally I need the people around em to give me space (until I initiate contact). The trick to my panic attacks is finding something to hold onto mentally, so usually I will say my name (or something else) over and over again in my head until I am able to focus again.

After that day, I suffered another panic attack two weeks later. Both of these experiences definitely took a toll on my mental health this month, as I felt like all the progress that had been made was lost. But after reflecting a little more, I decided that they were merely a small set-back. After all, mental health is never a straight line.

There will be times where you feel like you’re on top of the world and times where you feel completely out of control.

And though it is a scary feeling, to feel no control whatsoever, I have learnt to cope with it and adapt over time. Thinking back to my first few panic attacks, I have learnt to deal with them a lot better. I am gradually understanding them more and more and know what techniques help me (and which ones don’t). And that in itself is a big accomplishment, one I should give myself credit for.

And if you, dear reader, suffer from panic attacks or something similar, just remember to cut yourself some slack. Any type of progress is progress. With each set-back you will gain something in return, be it knowledge, understanding or something else.

17 thoughts on “my panic attacks are back

  1. I’m sorry you have to go through panic attacks again. I suffer from anxiety and I also have had them. They always make me feel more anxious because I think when will be the next time that I will suffer from one. I need to learn better techniques such as the grounding one which helps or taking meds. I’m here for you and you are not alone 💗 I can understand exactly what you have felt in that moment. I also feel dizzy, my ear which is ringing and afraid to faint. It’s a horrible feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So sorry to hear that you have anxiety / suffer from panic attacks as well. I don’t wish it on anyone, as you say, it’s a horrible feeling. And the fear of experiencing it again is sometimes even worse. Thanks for the support, same goes for you if you ever need someone to talk to xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh no, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I can totally relate & I think your first line not only was spot on about mental health, but life in general “just when you think it’s over, something happens to bring you back to square one.” Something I’ve been working on recently is letting go of the magic solution mindset that “this is the last one” or “i’ll start again tomorrow” or “this won’t happen again.” I find that I use those statements to make me feel better in the moment, but they don’t prepare me for the inevitable truth that this (it could be a panic attack, or anything that we’re struggling with) could happen again. Like you — I’ve since been trying to understand my experiences better & figure out what brings we joy. So, an incident happens I can try to react with something that brings happiness!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES! That mindset just sets you up for disappointment, regardless of how soothing they can be in the moment. I used to think just like that but have come to learn that it’s all about accepting it as a process and trying to understand it more and more in order to develop techniques that work for you. I love that you’re trying to do just that and I wish you all the best xx

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  3. I’m sorry you’re dealing with these again Fiona. I know the toll even the smallest attack takes on your mental health is absolutely exhausting, I hope you’re looking after yourself. I’ve recently started having a few smaller ones again, and you’re right, everyone handles them really differently. I physically have to grab onto something sometimes to hold myself up, other times I have to go to a room by myself to get with it again. It’s super frustrating, especially when you thought you were passed them! Hope you’re doing okay girl x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for this lovely comment Priya. Yes, it has definitely been exhausting and frustrating to deal with because even if I’m not having one, there’s always that fear of it coming back or being worse that keeps me up at night. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been going through something similar but am glad to hear that you know what you need in the moment (& how to help yourself). Sending you a virtual hug x

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  4. 💙 thank you for sharing this because it makes me (and I’m sure many others), feel a little more human. Everyone is affected by these things in different ways and I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this again, as you said, just when you think you’re doing fine, something happens to send you right back to square one. Just remember to take baby steps and that every single tiny piece of progress is an achievement – we’ll all beat this together one day. Sending love and light xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for such an uplifting little message Chloe. 💙 I truly love that all of us can share our experiences through this platform and support one another. It makes for a comforting feeling to know that people are going through something similar and that you’re not alone. xx

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  5. I’m glad you’re so understanding about having set backs. Set backs are not the greatest feeling in the world but every day is progress, I have gone from weekly panic attacks to maybe monthly now and although they still happen it is better than it was! thank for sharing this lovely post! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Though I’m sorry to hear you’re going through something similar (I truly don’t wish it on anyone) I’m so proud of you for maintaining such a positive outlook! I think it’s really important to keep the bigger picture in mind when it comes to dealing with mental illness; Like, ‘yes, maybe I did have a set-back but I was able to deal with it better than last time’. Thank YOU xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for sharing this its really helpful for people who dont know much about panic attacks. Its ok, it can happen and come back when you’re doing your best. Its not like you did anything wrong.
    I dont suffer from them but my husband does, or he used to. Tbh im not so aware of panic attacks and what to do when he has them other than be affectionate i mean its my mans i can do that and he seems to be ok with it.
    But this post makes me want to talk to him abt it.
    I love going shopping or just going to the malls to walk and he recently said he doesn’t like, like costco, or whole foods, busy shopping places. So i wanna ask him what i should do if something happens. I might be confused if he gets mad out of nowhere or something cause ive seen tht happen. Thx for sharing Fiona. you’ve done great so far ok ❤❤❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear that I was able to shed some light on the issue. Panic attacks are different for everyone and therefore, different people have different needs while going through them. As a loved one of someone who suffers from them, my advice to you is to simply ask. Just sitting down and having a simple conversation asking about what you can do to help and support him is bound to make him feel more supported.

      People sometimes feel overwhelmed when people show an interest in understanding their mental illness more because in a lot of cases, they’re used to dealing with it by themselves. Just talk about it with him in a safe environment and try to really LISTEN – Listening goes a long way.

      Thank you for all the support, wishing both you and your husband well xx

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  7. This post speaks to me so much. Recently, I’ve felt myself going back to feelings of inadequacy and emptiness and numbness, things I felt when I was in depression, and it’s scary, and I feel like all the growing I did is going away, but I guess the thing about progress is that it’s already happened and you can’t take that away from yourself. Things do come up again, but you haven’t been pushed back, you’re facing something new that just feels old, and you can always strive to grow more and help yourself overcome it. That’s what I tell myself at least, it’s not the most accurate but it helps me a little nowadays.

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    1. I’m sorry you feel like your slipping back a little again. That feeling is so daunting, especially when you already know it’s happening but don’t know how to stop it – you feel powerless.

      So true what you said about progress and trying to fight back and grow from obstacles. I agree that progress is somewhat permanent, at least in the sense that once you did something, you can’t “undo” it so to speak. But I do think with progress in particular, it is easy to still take a step back and fall into bad patterns if you’re not careful and aware of it. It’s a thin line; one we must all walk. Some just seem to have better balance than others 😅

      Liked by 1 person

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