“Panic Attack, Aisle 53”

 

Having panic attacks in public, and how I am learning to keep my cool.

Before I began taking medication for anxiety and depression, I used to experience “textbook” panic attacks quite often.  What is this experience like, you ask.

Whenever the attacks happened, I always thought I was having a heart attack. These attacks were nothing short of terrifying. My heart would start racing, and I could feel it beating in my chest.  I always became sweaty and felt nauseous. I would have a sudden urge to use the restroom.  Also, I hyperventilated and actually thought I was dying.  

Once I began taking an antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication, the panic attacks, such as these, stopped happening.  Instead, what I experience from time to time is more of an anxiety attack.  I still call them panic attacks, but they are much different in nature than what I originally experienced.  

What my panic attacks are like today…

Today, when I have a “panic attack”, my body reacts differently. I no longer believe I am dying during the attack.  Although, one thing is similar, and that is the feeling that I have lost complete control of myself.   

Sometimes it starts with just overwhelming anxiety. Often, it occurs when I am extremely stressed out and have too many things on my plate. Usually, my mind is inundated with way too many thoughts. I usually am unable to think straight and make sense of all the noise in my head. I begin to get scared that I am way too inadequate to take care of what needs to be done.

Once I start to freak out, I hyperventilate and become very nervous. Generally, I start crying and lose all confidence in myself. I feel like I am incapable of doing anything. Sadly, this has happened way too many times at my job. Many times when this happens I end up leaving work because I have not been able to soothe myself during these stressful times.

So, I had a panic attack in the middle of Lowe’s…

I was with my husband and 2 children. I had been sick for about 2 days in a row suffering from migraines with nausea.  So,  felt physically uncomfortable at the time. My husband was having a piece of wood cut. During that time, I waited down in the lumber section browsing through Pinterest on my phone, which is one of my favorite things to do!  

I found a pin about anxiety disorders. I often find pins and just save them without really reading the content. But, this particular pin caught my eye, and I began reading it. It had different quotes in it that people diagnosed with anxiety disorders made to explain how their anxiety made them feel. As I read it, I started to feel very uneasy. My stomach started doing flips as I realized that more than half the quotes I say to myself on a regular basis. Here is a link to that pin I read.   Do any of these quotes resonate with you?  

Sadly, anxiety controls a big portion of my life.

As this realization hit me in the gut, I understood just how much I allow anxiety to control my life. It scared me quite a bit. I started to cry and before you knew it, I was unable to stop.  So, as I am standing there in the middle of the lumber section in aisle 53 at Lowe’s, I started to panic. I was mostly worried that someone would see me in distress and walk up to me to see if I needed help. how embarrassing would that be?  

My next thought was I had to leave the store immediately, because that is always the answer to this type of situation for me. However, my husband was nowhere in sight and I was too embarrassed to go searching for him. I decided to lean against the stall where they keep the lumber and rest my head, but really I was hiding my face from anyone who walked by.

How do I take control of my panic attacks?

But, it gave me the opportunity to think and to simply breathe. The first thing I said to myself was “You are okay. Nothing is wrong. Just breathe. So I began taking deep cleansing breaths in and out to help slow my heart rate down. This actually worked!  I finally started to relax, and as I continued breathing, I also stopped crying. I regained my composure within a few minutes. My anxiety subsided and I was able to step away from the shelves.

I have to say, that just getting this anxiety under control on my own gave me a sense of pride and accomplishment. So many times I have to rely on other people to help me calm down. But, this time I was able to calm and soothe my out of control anxiety by myself!

Wow!  This was a great realization for me!  Using coping skills for panic attacks really do help!

Do you have panic attacks?  I am curious to know what helps you stop them. Do you have your anxiety under control? I would love to hear more about your experiences overcoming anxiety!  Feel free to leave a comment on this post. Thank you!

God bless,

 

Marji

About Marji Lane

Born, raised, and lived my whole life in Kansas, I am a full time teacher, wife, and mother. I suffer from anxiety and depression and have to work everyday to keep my mental illness under control. I love God, my family, KU basketball, KC Royals baseball, crafting!

2 thoughts on ““Panic Attack, Aisle 53”

  1. That is sooo awesome!!! Dealing with it & getting back to life is one of the best feelings!
    My anxiety usually manifests after an event with Nick, at home my mind and body just gives out. Thats ok, I can take meds go to bed and it gets better.
    However, the last one I had was at work. I was sitting at my desk, doing deep breathing, trying to get my act together. Had to explain to a coworker, then get nick from school, do a dr apt get back to our apt, then take my meds. Nick’s Dr was concerned about me. As a Mom, you just pull it as close to together as you can and get through it. Wit Don 2 hrs away now, it adds a new level of “its all you”
    thank you for sharing, it’s good for me too. xxoo

    1. I really do feel like I am getting better at controlling it. But, still it sometimes gets the best of me too. I sometimes have a difficult time when I am teaching. I wish more than anything I could work full time at home and craft and write everyday. I know if I can just really get my blog rolling and get all my ideas out there that maybe one day I could make a full time income working at home. That is my goal anyway. Thanks for reading and sharing your struggles with me, Susan. It’s so good to know that there are other people out there like me. ❤️

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