Feel the Panic and Carry On

The first time I experienced a panic attack I was standing in a hotel foyer, as a teenager, in Lisbon. It was completely overwhelming. I felt distressed, my heart was racing and I felt lost, afraid and tearful. I frightened the person I was with and it took some hours to feel normal again. The exuberance of youth, however, allowed me to push it to one side and move on.

The first day on a new temping assignment when I was just married, was my second one. It crept up on me during the day. I felt a tingling around my mouth and a feeling as if someone was stroking my leg. Eventually, I had to ask to leave and on my way home I was convinced I was dying. I felt weird for the rest of the day and frightened that it would happen again.

After having seen my GP, I realised I had suffered a panic attack. We were planning a move to Portugal at the time and subconsciously I think I was worried. But this panic attack completely rocked my confidence. I became anxious about being outside in public places. My heart would race and I would feel light-headed.

As I went through my twenties I learnt how to deal with them. They always crept up on me unawares. And often when I was alone. Pins and needles, tingles, lightheadedness . Once back in a familiar place with people I knew, I would gradually feel better. By my thirties they had become so infrequent I no longer thought about them.

Recently, having gone through menopause, I suddenly feel vulnerable again. I worry about losing those I love. I am feeling my age. And with that those familiar feelings of panic have reappeared. . When this happens I feel I want to pull a blanket over me and hide. I cope with work – if anything it is a distraction. But days off bring over-thinking, which is exhausting. I lack motivation and a sense of purpose and forget how to be my own best friend. Instead, I accuse myself of not doing enough, not stretching myself and I have to make do with achieving the bare minimum. Sleep is my friend. It puts my scrambled thoughts into order and quietens and soothes any distress.

But on the good days I remind myself that the bare minimum is ok. It is keeping the show on the road. It is being Claire. That’s who I am. An over-thinker, a worrier, a frequently disappointed , yet continuing optimist. I will find my sense of belonging again in this new chapter of my life. And until then I will just be.

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4 thoughts on “Feel the Panic and Carry On

  1. The menopause really does have a lot to answer for Claire! You are nailing so many things that us women of a certain age are also suffering ❤ You are not alone even though it often feels like that. It is truly PANTS … if i did not have so many dogs to get my sorry arse out of bed some mornings I wouldn't get up and so what if someone else in the house has happened to do 60, 70, 80 hours 'this week' I am a woman and it's 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and stop your fucking snoring keeping me awake! Be kind to yourself and if that means doing nothing all day but reading or day dreaming, it's allowed 🙂 We have earned it x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Continue to be positive if you can. You will come through this stage and out the other side and hopefully realise that whoever you are you are proud to be just that.
    I don’t know many people who do not suffer some kind of anxiety attack in life. Use mindfulness, yoga or whatever you need but remember if you don’t look after and love yourself you cannot be a whole person and give to others.

    Liked by 1 person

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