Anxiety is an awful emotion to feel, a feeling that cannot be controlled and you are unaware of it creeping up on you. There are so many different levels of anxiety that effect us all at some point over time. From something simple like “oh no I won’t get my homework done in time” to something more scary like a job interview or doctor’s appointment. Even though anxiety lies in all of us, it affects people in different ways. When we’re stressed our anxiety levels are much higher and some of us become sensitive to it. Some of us who are calm, collected, and pretty fearless will have a much lower anxiety threshold; however, extremely high levels of anxiety can, in a lot of people, cause panic attacks whether you are aware of your anxiety or not.
My anxiety levels can be both high and low so for me I find it very hard to know when a panic attack is going to hit as sometimes I have no control over my anxiety. I have suffered with anxiety for 4 years and panic attacks for 2 years. However, it was actually only 18 months ago my anxiety was given a name and that name is Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It’s difficult to understand that not everyone knows what a panic attack is or even anxiety for that matter. In fact I am pretty sure more percent of people don’t understand than the percent of people who do, which is really sad. Even some of the closest people to me struggle to understand exactly how it effects me or even how it could effect them. I’ve even spent hours trying to explain, but I feel like I’m nowhere near making any process, unless someone has been through a panic attack themselves they will never fully or truly understand.
What is a panic attack exactly?
Wanting to push your way through a crowd and find the nearest exit, the whole room is shrinking around you and everybody is staring at you and smothering you with their looks. In a split second without knowing it’s going to happen your body fills suddenly with adrenaline. This adrenaline is released as your body is preparing for “take off” or “a fight” it’s something our brain is designed to do in a life or death situation. You need adrenaline to be strong in a fight and you need adrenaline to run away… For me a panic attack feels like playing on a railway track (doing something I know I shouldn’t be doing) and then suddenly being hit by a passing train! (the result) During a panic attack you become pale and light-headed, your digestive system shuts down and your throat becomes dry making you feel sick. Your senses are massively heightened and you become more aware of your surroundings such as the smells and the sounds around you. For me sometimes this can be incredibly scary and can last between 10 – 60 minutes.
“Every cloud has a silver lining.”
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The wonderful photograph was taken by Hunter Bryant and acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out!