Battle of Attacks

A tightening of my chest suddenly interrupts my breathing. I’m trying to inhale, but only a tiny passage of air streams into my body. My head is feeling light as I start to see blurry, shaky, vision. I’m losing control. Am I dying? What is going on? I think I’m dying. Someone. Anyone. Please…. help…. me…

Have you ever felt like this? Or had a similar experience? This is called a panic attack. Not fun, is it? Nope. I had experience this and anxiety attacks multiple times. And let’s just say it’s not a walk in a park. I know on my previous entry, Anxiety vs. Stress,  I have discussed about both anxiety and stress. How they are a part of depression, what’s the difference,  how many people suffer from it, and how to cope with them. It also inspired me to create this entry about having anxiety/panic attacks when in a stressful/anxious state.

But  before we get into the subject matter, we have to learn to differentiate between the two. Because believe it or not, there is a difference. Everything that I have described in my opening it’s how panic attacks are, and so much more! Sometimes I will get chills, nausea, and tingling/numbness, additional to the symptoms I have already described. Other people, will have similar feeling AND derealization or depersonalization. Derealization is feeling of unreality. Depersonaization is being detach from oneself. That I have never experience, but it seems scary. Have you ever felt that? If so, comment below.

What causes panic attacks? STRESS!!! Shocker, huh? But we’re talking about the big stress. For example, death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss, are few big stresses that can trigger a panic attack. Panic attacks can also be caused by medical conditions and other physical causes. If you’re suffering from symptoms of panic, it’s important to see a doctor. It can be cardiac issues, overactive thyroid gland, low blood sugar, medication withdrawal, or anything to stimulate your body (ie: amphetamines, cocaine, caffeine and etc).

Panic

Now, this wouldn’t be an Only Michy blog with out dropping some straight up statistics yo! **Hold an early 90’s hip-hop pose** So let’s get to it. Almost a quarter of people experience a panic attack in their lives at least once. That’s a lot! That’s nearly 2 billion people! Women are two times more than men to get panic attacks. Within 10 minutes, 81% of people feel the panic attack of the first symptoms. Only 61% of people gets treatments for panic attacks. I’m pretty surprise with that number, because I thought it would be lower. Though we can do better, I’m glad to see it’s higher than the half way point. Panic attacks must be in love with people in their late 40s and entire 50s. It gravitates to people between the age of 45 and 59. Now that I laid some dope ass facts, let’s Kris Kross our way to anxiety.

Well, I’m not going to get too in depth on anxiety since I have already elaborated about the topic (Anxiety vs Stress), but I will go into details on how anxiety attacks are different from panic attacks. Panic attacks are very sudden. Like someone one came from behind you and splat a pie in your face. Anxiety attacks is something that is builds up. Whatever a person have been worrying about, will eventually lead to an attack. An anxiety attack usually involves a fear of some specific occurrence or problem that could happen. Such as, an exam, workplace issues, a health issue(s), or a relationship problems. It is not a diagnosable condition, usually develops gradually when a person feels anxious, and  less severe than a panic attack.

Whereas, panic attacks can be a symptom of panic disorder (diagnosable condition), can happen whether a person feels calm or anxious, and involves physical symptoms and feelings of terror so intense that the person fears a total loss of control or imminent death. Both panic and anxiety can involve fear, a pounding or racing heart, lightheadedness, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and irrational thoughts. However, in a panic attack, these are far more severe. The person may genuinely believe they are going to die. For panic attacks, a person is more likely to require medical attention if they have a panic attack versus an anxiety attack.

A person who has panic disorder may experience anxiety that they are going to have a panic attack. The uncertainty about if or when an attack is going to happen can lead to anxiety between attacks. For a person with panic disorder, anxiety may trigger a panic attack. The fear of having a panic attack can affect the person’s behavior and ability to function in daily life. I believe this and the palpitations is the reason why people confuse the two. Below, is a picture to demonstrate it best.

anxiety-attacks-versus-panic-attacks

I personally would have anxiety attacks more than panic attacks. I usually anxious about everything! From going to parties, giving presentations at work and even going to NYC Comic Con. It’s usually people that freaks me out and getting nervous of what they would think of me. To prevent that from happening, I plan in advance. I like to see if I can go with a friend or if there is anybody I know that would be there. If not not, tell myself how long I will be there and what time I should arrive. Planning things out definitely prevents anxiety attacks. But in a situation that are last minute for me, I go some place else where there are less people and focus on my breathing. As soon my breathing is calm, I try talking to myself to relax my mind. Sometimes is works, sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, I need to exit the place and be somewhere safe. When it comes to panic attacks, it comes out of nowhere for me. Usually occurs when I am fully relax and not a care in the world. Then all the sudden shortness of breath happens and just like my opening, shit goes down. There are steps I take to feel better in that situation. Please read, Panic Attack, to find out.

I know it’s very overwhelming and you think no one understands or think you’re weird. But you’re not. From providing statistics and sharing my experience, it’s clear you’re not alone in this battle of attacks. Please share you story about your experience and what you do to manage your anxiety and/or panic attacks. Remember, you can do this. You just gotta adult one day at a time.

 

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14 thoughts on “Battle of Attacks

  1. Ah, anxiety. Actually just wrote about dissociative experiences briefly in my latest post yesterday – https://barebonesblonde.wordpress.com/2019/04/19/i-should-have-taken-the-blue-pill-switching-meds-with-brain-cooties/, which covers depersonalization et al. I occasionally have had to take benzos for anxiety, but I’m not a fan of those in the long term bc they’re so addictive. A good meds cocktail (some antidepressants are better than others at this), as well as certain strains of medical marijuana are very helpful, if legal where you are. High CBD/low THC is key, or it will have the opposite effect and that’s a nightmare. For me, writing is a huge anti-anxiety drug. Everyone has their thing. Finding it is the trick, yeah?

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    1. Oh, I will definitely read it. I am curious about that. I take Lorazepam for anxiety. It also has an addictive quality. I can only take it in serious moments. I have been looking into CBD for anxiety, I might try it out in the future. But I totally agree, writing totally helps. Getting it all out is very therapeutic. And you’re right, everybody has their own way managing their anxiety. Just gotta find what works well for you. Thanks for sharing your methods! I really appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lorazepam is addictive, yes, but as long as you’re only taking it in emergencies, you should be fine. You might look into a product called Sunday Scaries, I haven’t tried them but they have good reviews for a CBD only product that you can buy online. Generally the best CBD works when potentiated with a certain small percentage of THC, but some people are sensitive enough that the CBD alone works well.

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      2. Yea, I always use it as a last resort. I have seen some people stop taking their anxiety pills, because the CBD alone was enough. But again, it all depends on the individual and what works for them.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Been there done that. I am sorry you are dealing with this. It got better for me through a lot of different things and I know it will for you, too.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi there! For me, the best thing has been my spiritual walk. It’s HUGE. It helped me get sober and it’s helped with anger and all sorts of things really. It’s as basic as “I can’t fix my mind with my mind which is already broken.” In surrendering to something bigger than myself the weight fell off. Trust came in. And I could breathe. Literally. (I combine this with a few 12 step groups, exercise, eating well, church, meditation and on and on. I am not advocating getting off meds by any means. I did, but it took a bit of time. Every body and person is different. But the spiritual stuff? Can’t live without it. I am changed.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow, that’s great to hear! I’m glad that spirituality, selfcare, and having a support system helped you out. Everybody has their own way managing their mental health and I’m happy you provide your technique, because it sheds light on the other side that people may not have thought of. Again, thanks for sharing!

        Liked by 1 person

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