Time to some is just a minute on a clock. To others it’s a guide; and to others still, it’s a prison. I am one of those people who feel like I’m in a time prison when anxiety hits me like a torrential rain storm. Some of you may know, and other may not, but I suffer from panic attacks and bouts of anxiety. I don’t like it– I hate it, in fact, and wouldn’t wish on anyone. I do feel the need to talk about it today so maybe it helps someone else in desperate need to find answers.
I have a phobia, I have fears, and worries that plague me almost on a daily basis. I never stop thinking. Sometimes I can curb the madness and throw myself in work or family and those days are the very best. I feel like there are more of those than the anxious days, but if I’m being honest, they’re probably a 60/40 ratio (60% going to the better days). I’d love it if the anxiety side was a lower number and that is why I’ve taken the reins and gone to therapy to help learn why the anxiety comes on as often as it does.
When I first began going to therapy, I thought my only problem was anxiety that stemmed from my phobia of being sick to my stomach. I can’t even call it the real word when talking about it. I have to use a word that doesn’t specifically mean being stomach sick; I have to use a word that has another meaning like the word hurl. Hurl means the bad thing, and it also means to throw something – like a ball. And even after using a non-specific word, I still just say H, to further distance myself from it. Anyhow, it’s a deep fear and it sets off panic attacks pretty badly. These attacks then somehow get turned into the time prison I mentioned above. If I’m panicking, I start thinking about how long until this or that? How much sleep do I need to get before I’m supposed to be up for work? How long is my work shift? If I’m panicking on a trip, how long are we in the car/plane for ? But mostly, I think how long has it been since I or my son was last sick? Is there a long enough buffer zone from the last time to have trust in our stomachs? Or, oh no, it’s coming up on one week, one month, one year, five years, ten years, since some H’ed ? If I can get through those time prisons I can make it through the attack. At least that’s my thinking. Yeah, time is not my friend when attacks hit.
I would really like to know where this stems from and perhaps one day, I’ll figure it out. Until that day comes, I will try to do what my therapist says and ask the question WHY? Why am I feeling this way? Why is my brain taking me down this road? Why am I feeling nauseous or shaky or upset? Why don’t I want to work? Why don’t I want to move? Asking why, helps me logically think about why I’m feeling the way I am and how I can break free. So far it works. I’ve stopped a handful of panic attacks by asking why and focusing on the logic behind why my attacks are coming on.
Another method I try is the good, old favorite distraction method of finding a place I can go to where time doesn’t exist and bliss was forever. For me that would be on a beach somewhere listening to the ocean and seagulls with a cool breeze lapping my sun-kissed skin; my husband and son playing not too far away. Their laughter lingers on the air while I write stories to my heart’s desire. Ahh, my anxiety free, happy place of peace.
All in all, it’s hard for me to admit my faults (and yes, I see them as faults even thought I can’t help it – still working on that one too), but I do hope that writing this might help someone else in need of answers they are struggling to find. Anxiety is an individual affliction, but know you are not alone in the fight. I’m there too and together we can work on eliminating the prison where find ourselves trapped. We can break through.
If you have found this during a panic attack and are looking for a place of peace, I hope you’ve found it. You are not alone. You are not trapped. I know what you are going through, and I pray that you will get through this bleak moment. You are strong. You will be free. Breathe. Relax. Go to my happy place if you’d like… there’s room for you and your family or friends or pets too.
If you are religious, God is with you. He won’t let you be alone either. Focus on Him. If you aren’t religious, consider searching your soul for God, a spirit that can guide you. God doesn’t have to be a strict religion in a church with rules. He’s a father, He’s love, He’s comfort. He’s in your heart. Trust Him. Trust yourself. You are stronger than you think you are. You’ve got this. Breathe.