This one is personal to me, as I know all too well about it. Many people don’t realise that anxiety issues aren’t just your mind telling you to start preparing for the fight or flight reaction or worrying about something that doesn’t necessarily need worrying about; anxiety can affect your body to react in much more physical ways. Some people can get stomach upset and cramps, headaches, hot and cold sweats, dry mouth, feeling clammy, nausea or even being sick, heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, insomnia, muscle tension, and pain. It is probably one of the worst things that could happen in that moment of panic, so almost a bit ironic, but your body is actually preparing you to react to the potential danger or worry that anxiety has triggered. These symptoms are extremely real. A lot of these symptoms are hormone triggered by adrenaline and cortisol.
The hardest part, I find, is getting to control these physical symptoms. They can start a vicious circle of anxiety. For example, once the anxiety has begun, the physical symptoms start. The physical symptoms can be unpleasant and stressful, which makes anxiety triggered again by the thought of having those symptoms. Around the circle you go again, so something has to be done to break this cycle.
Over the years, I’ve tried many things to stop this cycle. There are medications tailored to help with panic attacks, such as Propranolol and Citalopram. There are also therapists that can help, who can advise on how to control it. There are herbal remedies that could be helpful to some people, such as Rescue Remedy. Breathing techniques are another. My personal favourite is mindfulness. The most important thing is finding what works for you.
I was told that you had survived 100% of every panic attack you have. Which is entirely true – I have. No one has ever died from a panic attack – also true. You are fully in control of your mind and body, even though it might not feel like it at the time, and you can use techniques as listed above to help conquer them. Panic attacks do not last forever, and they should not disturb your life; it’s about not letting them get to that point that matters.