I was just thinking how alone I've felt this week having major panic issues. The fear of craziness; the fear of death.. And I was thinking of words that have comforted me.
They are (from my therapist); that if you are sure you are going crazy; you probably aren't. It's when you are sure beyond proof that you are possibly delusional that you may have an issue. Ie; self awareness often shows two things; one that we have some grip on what's going on and two that we have the insight & skills to seek help if not.
Another is this; for all of you ( like me!) who have had every test done, been to er, self diagnosed gerd/ heart attack/ some rare genetic disorder; (this is for those of us who are p/a survivors lol- NOT anyone having their first one).... I think "Has this happened before? Yes. Did I die? No. Is it unpleasant. Yes. Can I get through it. Yes."
But never be ashamed or afraid or feel like an idiot going to er or a dr in mid panic- that only compounds feeling bad. And also; don't be afraid to get testing done IF it puts your mind at ease. I have discovered some fascinating things on my panic driven medical journey; histapenia; pyroluria; low blood pressure; allergies. But I am still prone to stress.
Even if you are diagnosed with something else; you will still need to deal with panic!
Medications aren't perfect but can help while you sort out your issues; or long term if you find that works for you.
Therapists aren't all created equal. I did mindfulness for 3 years and it helps a little; but also taught me to focus even more sensitively! Cbt & exposure therapy seem to have some great effects in this area.
If people around you don't "get" your panic attacks; (my hubby thinks I like to dramatise but to me panic feels like actually dying but worse!); find people who do- like the people here; a suppport group or someone else who has been through them. I get so upset at my husband for not understanding but how could anyone who hasn't felt this way? It's indescribable.
Try to see your panic as a gift; what is it trying to show you? That cigarettes/ coffee/ alcohol need to go? That you need to learn to breathe better or relax? That you are stronger than you know and that you are capable of getting through your worst fears of death/ insanity/ loss of reality? Ask yourself; who won't die? And make some choices about how you want to LIVE. What you came here to do. If you were to go CRAZY what then? Would the world end if you were a bit mad? And losing touch with reality; well; we all know it's a bit overrated and boring at times! ;)
And mostly; are you taking care if you? Attending to past hurts with love & care? Looking after your body? Working in a job that brings you meaning? Of course we aren't all doing these things; but use your identified fears
to bring you closer to what you love. Love is the opposite of fear (panic) after all.
I've nearly been over the "edge" this week with a few continual nauseating waves of panic; couldn't breathe; my two tiny kids with no understanding of why mummy looks so stressed out. And it's words from people on forums like this and blogs from those managing & recovered from this condition that have kept me strong; despite two failed medication attempts that have been very frustrating and upsetting (and expensive!).
So my last point is this; reach out- when you are feeling bad but also when you are feeling good again. Come back to forums and share your "Im feeling better" stories or respond to posts by others suffering! They inspire me and many, many others. Maybe even create awareness and find ways to decrease stigma; start a blog; write a book; write a song about it; tell others so they never have to wake up one day and learn the hard way about their mysterious new frenemy called "panic". It's a tough road yes; but the more I think about it; the more I see light for all of us at the end of the tunnel. 50 years ago; less even; most of us would be in an asylum due to lack of understanding. Panic is becoming epidemic; but unfortunately real awareness isn't- so lets all support each other; think of each other when we are in miserable "alone" panic situations and KNOW that we cannot all be imagining or exaggerating this. We may not be having heart attacks; but it doesn't mean this doesn't hurt us deeply and it deserves a lot more research; empathy and support.
Here's to brighter days for all of us x K x