Her Guide To Life

An Unofficial Guide to Staying Sane(ish) in your 20s

Saturday, 9 April 2016

A LETTER TO SOMEBODY HAVING AN ANXIETY ATTACK



Dear you,

I think I know what you're thinking right now. 'I can't cope. I can't cope. I can't do this. I need to get out of this situation or I'm going to die.' And I know how much all of those statements seem absolutely, incontestably true right this second. To make matters worse, you're probably beating yourself up for feeling like this, too.



'Why am I like this?'
'If everybody else can do these things, why do I find them so difficult?'
'What's wrong with me?'

You're in the midst of an anxiety attack, and the tiny part of your brain that isn't overloaded with fear or panic is feeding you awful, unhelpful statements like these ones. You're feeling terrible, and beating yourself up for feeling terrible, making you more anxious, making you more self-hating. Am I right?

I know it feels like you're going to stop breathing at any second. I know the walls are closing in and every single one of your nerves is simultaneously paralysed and electrified at the same time. But I'm going to tell you something.

So far, in your life, you have a ONE HUNDRED per cent pass rate of surviving these awful situations. Every single time you've felt so bad that you've been convinced beyond all exterior reason that your world is falling in... you've come through it.

Your brain, unfortunately, is lying to you. And for most of your life, you might not have known this. But you know it now. You know that 'I can't cope' or 'I'm going to die if I don't escape' is just a thought. Nothing more than that. It's not the truth. It's just one thought out of the million thoughts you've had today. So, logically, it doesn't make any more sense to pay more attention to that thought, than it does to say, the thought that meant you nearly put a skirt on today instead of a pair of jeans.

Source: Joyful Balance Counselling
Nothing is permanent. Everything changes. You've got through this a million times before, and you'll get through it again. This moment will pass. And then the next one will. And these moments will group together sooner than you know to form a minute, And then another one. And then another one. And then ten minutes, or half and hour, or an hour will go past and you will have survived this awful situation. I promise you that.

Okay. So we know that, right now, part of your brain is letting you down by trying to convince you of things that aren't true. We know that. But that's not actually too much use right this very second. Your chest is still tight, your throat still feels like it's closing up and even your vision is starting to swim with the effort of keeping yourself in the situation. You can tell your brain that your thoughts aren't the truth, but sometime your body is a little slower to catch on.

Anxious brain recognised? Check. Now let's start to use the other, stronger, part of your brain (the YOU part) to calm your body down.

Breathe. Breathe in for four counts, hold for seven, out for eight. Again. In for four, hold for seven, out for eight. This breathing pattern causes an shift in your automatic nervous system from a sympathetic (e.g, fight or flight response) to a parasympathetic (controlling your rest, relaxation, and digestion) response.

Source: Stop Procrastinating
You are an incredibly strong person. You are. Although you don't know it right now, you have enough strength in your little finger to knock over a mountain with the smallest of touches. You deal with fighting against your own brain most days, and so far, you've won every single time.

I'm so sorry that you're feeling like this. But I have no doubt that you'll survive, and each time you do, you will have beaten anxiety once again. Anxiety tries to drag you down, but each time you get through an attack, you get one step closer to understanding how to fight this terrible, terrible affliction. Just always know that, however much it feels like it at the time, you are never alone, and you will always, always come out fighting from this.

All my love,

Hannah x


Share:

4 comments

  1. This was a really great post to read! Very inspiring and motivating. Definitely going to refer back to this when I have a panic attack. I've been having a lot more than usual lately, which sucks, but it was so lovely to read this :) it was very honest and calming so thanks for that xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lauren | itslaurenvictoria.blogspot.co.uk

      Delete
  2. This could not have come at a better time, I've been having a really hard time with panic attacks lately and this was super helpful <3

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is a really great post! I don't suffer from anxiety or panic attacks but this post has helped me to understand how someone who does, thinks.

    Lauren | Lauren the Daydreamer

    ReplyDelete

Blogger Template Created by pipdig