Do you know what it feels like to lose control?
To lose control of your own thoughts?
To lose control of your emotions and body?
To lose control of the moment?
It can happen instantly, and there is nothing you can do except let it run its cycle, and it sucks.
Your mind starts to spin like a tornado, unable to control your thoughts.
And your heart begins to race with every beat pulsing through your body.
You start sucking in air as your body begins to shake because every thought that crosses your mind physically hurts.
You begin to rock, pull your hair, bury your face in a pillow, anything to make it all stop.
You cry away the pain.
Five minutes go by, 30, 45, an hour, it feels never-ending.
You are left with a numb and exhausted body like you have been through the war, battling with your thoughts and you leave defeated.
It sucks to lose control of your own body, but it’s even harder to tame the beast within.
And that beast is called anxiety.
* * * * * * *
Yes, we all have anxiety, but we all experience anxiety in our own ways. I grew up as a very anxious person, stressing over grades, plays on the soccer field, how to act in a certain situation, things like that. Now, I found my anxiety has become stronger, and I stress about things way out of my control.
One thing that is different from when I was younger is panic attacks. I never really experienced as many panic attacks growing up as I do now. My panic attacks range from minimal to severe (like the one above), and each one is different.
If you have never experienced a panic attack before, be grateful.
Panic attacks are overpowering, and they leave you exhausted and defeated as if you never stood a chance against the beast as if you were worthless.
For me, personally, the last thing I need is to allow my brain to take off spiraling in all directions, thinking about future things that are way out of my control. If I allow this to happen, it’s game over.
Nights are the worst for me. I used to go to bed at 10 PM every night, but now, I can’t go to bed unless I am on the verge of falling asleep. If I go to bed any earlier, my mind starts to spiral, and I won’t be able to sleep that night.
* * * * * * *
Now, this wouldn’t be much of a blog post if I left it at this. Surprisingly, I have learned from my anxiety and panic attacks, and I can feel when one is coming. When that happens, I am able to control it. But most importantly, I learned how to cope with my anxiety.
No, I am not on any medication, nor do I talk to a therapist (Cabrini does offer individual and group counseling for students right on campus at no additional cost)!
Instead, I find things in life that make me happy and less stressed.
For example, karate is my happy place and my escapism. When I am at school or I practice on my own, everything in the real world disappears, and my mind is at ease. Or when I am home with my family and my dogs reminiscing in old memories and being our funny and strange selves.
I am open about my panic attacks, and I have my family and friends who have helped me through each stressful time.
I found that if I keep myself busy or I keep my mind distracted with fun times, my anxiety is no match for me. And when I do feel a panic attack coming, I stop and control it before it arrives.
Anxiety is hell, and panic attacks are the devil, but I do not allow them to define me. And if you are someone who experiences such occurrences, talk to me or someone you trust! You are not alone.