Heart rate up, the world seems like it is spinning, breathing is something you have to think about. But this isn’t my fault, I didn’t ask for this. I don’t want to feel like I have lost control of everything. It is darkness that consumes me. Telling me it is okay doesn’t help much either. It can come across as you being annoyed with me. Actually, it makes it worse for me because then I freak out that I know I should be okay but I can’t be okay, and that I’m upsetting you because I’m not okay when I should be okay. For some people being told it is okay it helps them. I’m not trying to tell you what to do for everyone who deals with this. It is very different for everyone.
Nothing is rational or makes sense, I physically shake, I feel panicked, everything just starts happening at once and I can’t stay still. I can’t tell you when it is going to happen. I feel angry, I want to lash out. I want to yell and cry and collapse all at the same time. I want to push everyone away from me. I feel like I’m trapped. I want to scream. My chest is tight. I feel the strong need to reach out to someone, anyone. I want to know someone is there, I need to know someone is there. But I also want to yell at someone, I want to fight. I don’t actually want to fight, but out of nowhere there is this sudden anger. It really scares me and makes me panic more. It’s a hard feeling to explain. It’s like there is a battle going on inside of me, and I can feel it happening, but I can’t control what is happening in the fight.
Making contact with someone is something I try to use so that I can’t tell myself everyone hates me. I like to isolate myself. It’s easier for the darkness to convince me that the world is ending if I don’t reach out to someone. (sorry to the people who get the late-night texts and snapchats from me that don’t make any sense, now you know). I want to know that someone, anyone is there. I know I don’t sound like myself in those texts but I’m afraid.
I know that it is hard to imagine not being able to control thoughts. It’s a confusing concept. People always tell me, oh well just stop. Or just choose to be happy. Or oh calm down you are fine. You should have control over your brain, but you don’t. Honestly it is even hard for me when I’m not having one. It’s so easy to tell myself that everything is okay, until suddenly it’s not. Suddenly no matter how many times I’ve told myself I’m okay, I’m falling apart and things are spinning. It’s honestly a terrifying feeling. It’s something that people judge me for, that I can’t control it, that I have bad anxiety. It’s something people get annoyed with me for which only makes it that much worse.
It feels like your life has stopped, that it is falling apart, that nothing will ever be okay again, that everyone hates you, that you did this to yourself, that it’s your fault. Its not your fault, and things do eventually look better, not everyone hates you. But that doesn’t matter in that moment. It all feels so real. It is terrifying to go through, it is really really hard. For people who don’t live it, it is hard to understand just how bad it is. People treat me like I am crazy when I try to explain it to them.
A few nights ago this happened. From midnight till around 3:30-4am, I was awake. I tossed and turned, got up, walked around. Things that helped- piano music, hot tea, a thick blanket. You know how they make thunder jackets for dogs? It’s the same idea. Being wrapped up in something, preferably something that’s weighted makes me feel safe. Making contact with someone, that way I can prove I’m not alone. I know that after the storm, is the calm. Once the calm hits me physically I start to relax some, the tension and nervous energy starts to fade away. I try to talk through what is happening with close friends so that they can talk me through it. It helps a lot sometimes. I know it is hard for them, because they feel like they aren’t doing anything, but it helps more than they could imagine. I try to feel safe, that’s what the blanket helps, so does my dog. Sometimes I just hold him and cry, and I think he knows I need him to just be there.
From the outside, I know that it isn’t easy for people to watch me go through these kinds of things. I know it is scary and frustrating. Trust me when I say I will be okay. This happens, it is a part of my life. Everyone has different battles to fight and this is one of mine. I know that.
I am okay, I will be okay, and it will be okay. I am not crazy. I am not a worse person because of this. I’m still me. I have said it before and I will say it again, be patient with me.
Disclaimer: I can’t tell you step by step what to do to fix anxiety attacks, or how to avoid them, or anything like that. I can’t tell you what each person is going to experience because everyone is different. I can tell you my experiences with them, what helps, and what it feels like. Some people were probably uncomfortable reading this and I know that. This was written in large part during bad anxiety, before during and after. This is so that the thoughts were as real as possible, which probably freaked some of you out. But maybe, just maybe this helps someone.