The anatomy of today’s panic attack.

 

My chest is tight with my sternum feeling as if a weight is attached to it. My breathing is a bit irregular. The fascia of my neck and scalp feel taut and twisted. My brain feels like it’s crushing into itself.

Emotionally, I’m feeling inadequate. Like a fraud.

Intellectually, I’m questioning my every action and interaction.

I’m trying to employ some of the tactics taught to me by my therapist as well as a great app I have a subscription to called Headspace.

I know these feelings will pass if I acknowledge them and then visualize them as something separate from me. I know I can do this. But it is hard work when the physical sensations are so real. It’s hard to dismiss a panic attack when the Anxiety latches on to the body in such tangible ways.

Right now, in addition to writing — one of the best things I can do to address the situation — I am also trying to visualize a comforting, warm light slowly churning through my body. It’s a great visualization to start off any day, even when there is no Anxiety. It’s doubly helpful when you’re working to relax the body, urging the negative feelings to take a quick exit.

Ideally, the taut fascia should feel as if it is melting away. Instead, today, I feel as if the taut and twisted nature is slowing relaxing … very slowly. My brain crushing into itself is no longer. I simply feel as if there’s a tension on the outer regions of the brain. My neck is feeling exhausted, but relaxed. My chest is less tight; my sternum a bit less weighed down; my breathing back to normal. Hopefully, soon, my torso will return to its regular feelings.

Truth be told, it’s hard to erase the feelings of inadequacy. In fact, the feelings don’t simply go away. Instead, for at least awhile, they just get written over — good thoughts and feelings grafted over the negative scars. That — if prior experience holds — is at least how it will likely feel for the next two or three days.

The quickest negative feelings to recede are the intellectual ones. Once the physical aspects lighten some, I’m able to return to my normal, capable self … albeit exhausted.

Yes, I am exhausted.

Note:  I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written on this blog. That’s, for the most part, been good. Panic attacks have occurred less frequently, and Anxiety has been somewhat manageable, while still present. Thankfully, I haven’t had depressive thoughts enter my brain. Well, that is, except for those feelings attached to today’s panic attack.

That said, I should be contributing more to this blog. In the months that have passed, I’ve been told by several people some very affirming things related to my mental health and telling others about it. Reporting on the positive would probably be helpful to both me and any readers who want to check in.

 

2 Comments

  1. Tom. S. 31 August 2018 at 9:12 pm

    I’ve been wondering how things are going with you. I guessed things were good – you have your garden to keep you busy and peaceful.

    Sorry now I didn’t ask. Thanks, Michael, for updating us. My Accountant’s mind is trying to problem-solve and figure out why now. You must have lots of harvesting to do, and reap the benefits of all your planning and hard work. Scratching my head. 🙁 I’m not smart enough to understand anxiety and panic attacks. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I’m here if you need a friend.

     
    • Michael Dahl 1 September 2018 at 6:53 am

      Thanks, Tom. A confluence of factors simply made yesterday morning very stressful. It overwhelmed me. I’m better. Right now, my soft and warm puppy is lying on my legs. I’m in a good place.

       

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