What is anxiety? How does it affect someone? What does it mean when someone tells you that they had an anxiety attack? Questions, only those who suffers, can answer. However, the medical definition goes this way…’Anxiety is a state of panic attack. The symptoms — chest pain, flushing skin, a racing heart, and difficulty breathing’ … it can make you feel like you’re going to faint, lose your mind, or die. But the reality is, you won’t!
It is a condition that can affect anyone…anywhere…anytime. I realized it when I got it for the first time. With my experience, I can say one thing… whether you are a healthy, fitness freak or a person with unhealthy lifestyle, anxiety attack can happen to anyone.
The feeling of numbness in the body and the fear of having a heart attack is in-explainable. I thought that I was actually getting a cardiac arrest. I could hear every beat of my heart and believe me, I never thought that listening to my own heart beat can be so scary. It made me so weak that even the slightest sound/noise scared you. The worst feeling I have ever experienced. I had this constant fear of something going wrong terribly with myself and that I will die now. I never thought I would get something like this. I have always been health conscious. I go to gym, swim regularly, run marathon, cycles. But as I said earlier, it doesn’t matter what you are, healthy or unhealthy, anyone can get it.
Life is so unpredictable and even more unpredictable is our body!! My struggle with anxiety/panic attack started in 2014 when I shifted to Bangalore. After staying with my brother and his family for couple of months, I shifted to a PG for a month and than to a 2 BHK apartment where I lived all by myself, ALONE. You might think, what’s the big deal in living ALONE? But believe me it’s BIG DEAL for me because I have never stayed alone in my life. I never liked staying alone. I always had someone or the other with me since my childhood. My sister and my parents were always there with me. Be it at home Assam or Delhi (where I went for higher studies), I never had to live alone. But when I moved to this new place, I didn’t have that luxury anymore. I knew I will have to stay alone and somehow to a greater extent, I had gathered that courage to live alone. But I never understood why was I so scared of staying alone? What was I actually scared off…loneliness or darkness? Actually it was both.
It’s very important to understand the root cause of your fear. Only than you can treat it. I would switch on all the lights and hold my teddy close to me while sleeping (just to feel that there is someone next to me). But nothing really helped. No matter what I did, I was still scared and I still used to get the attacks. For days I couldn’t sleep because the moment I would try to sleep, my fear would come back and my heart will start racing very fast giving me the feeling of having a heart attack. It became a daily routine for me. It affected me so much that I started finding out ways to not sleep at night. I was shit scared of night. The fear led me to start smoking and drinking regularly. I thought if i am drunk, i will fall asleep but even that didn’t help me either. It made me sick. I would cry out loud and request god to help me. I felt pity for myself. I remember one time, that’s just 2 weeks before the wedding I had a serious panic attack. That attack scared the hell out of me. Honestly, I felt I should just end my life.
I immediately sent a message to my fiancé’ and my sister in the middle of the night saying that either I need to see a cardiologist or a Psychiatrist the next day. Imagine their situation when they read that i wanted to kill myself!! My fiancé tried to talk me out of it by telling me how strong I am and how lucky he feels to be with me. I started crying and he let me cry till I fell asleep (he was there on the other side holding the phone).
I was not happy about what was happening to me. I was about to get married and instead of enjoying the moments, I was becoming sick. I didn’t want my fiance to think that am mad :p. I swear, I didn’t want him to think that am going crazy. Generally that’s what people feel. Even after knowing that he loves me the most, I was scared that such things shouldn’t change his feelings for me. So I thought of doing something about it myself. My fiance calls me a google girl. I thought before seeing the doctor, let me read about my condition. And there I found exactly what I was looking for. My problem was out there and there are many people like me suffering from same condition. I couldn’t find a specific reason for it. This feeling of panic or extreme anxiety escalates due to stress. I found that one of the solution was to seek counselling and medication (which can also have side effects…) and other was ‘Self Help’. I preferred the later.
My first step was to understand what is causing the problem… It was Fear of being alone and darkness. 2nd, I started talking to myself before going to bed and telling myself that everything is fine and I am not sick. I kept telling that to myself for good 30 minutes on the first night and guess what, it worked. Luckily I fell asleep, after 3 bad sleepless nights.It was surprising for me. This was something which I had never done before with myself. And my source of inspiration was… Remember ‘All is well’ from the movie 3 Idiots! Well I just followed that. I know it’s funny but it’s true.It was a kind of self belief and assurance to myself to say ‘Everything is fine, I am fine’. I was so relieved and felt so fresh the next day. I immediately called my fiance and told him that I slept well. I started following this process everyday. I am so much better now and I hardly get these attacks now. But if I do, I follow the same thing. I am so proud on how I dealt with my issue. I think our will power plays a great role in helping us lead a wonderful life. Anybody can get a panic attack and the reason can be anything. You just have to have that faith in yourself and of course be honest to yourself. Don’t be conscious or scared to accept it, its not a disease. Be very open about it. It’s just a situation in one’s life. You should know how to deal with any kind of challenges in life. And the only person who can actually help you come out of your problems is you yourself.
In my situation, it was very easy for me to go to a stranger (counsellor) who doesn’t even know me and talk about it, but why? Why will I speak to a person I don’t know and tell them about my personal problems? Most of us do this because we feel that a stranger (who is a counsellor) will understand our problems better and be fair in his/her judgement. But why do that when we know that we ourselves can help our self. Such issues needs to be taken seriously. We have become so conscious and materialistic that we tend to ignore the real life.We are too busy pleasing others and trying to fit ourselves in the expectation of the society that we actually forget what we are and who we are. According to me, panic attack is the result of the frustration that has been building inside us. And no one can say since when!! These frustrations lead us to seek peace or rather find peace in all unhealthy things like smoking, drinking, sticking to our phone 24/7, drugs and loads more. However, we can take care of it. The way I helped myself is just one of the solutions, but there are other ways as well that can help us overcome this monster inside us. Let’s start spending more time with ourselves and do things that makes us happy first and then think about others. If you love yourself, only than you can love others.This will help us reduce the stress from our lives and we will become more positive in our acts.Our average life span has gone down and we can live a long and happie life only if we start taking care of us.
Make yourself happie first! Stay happie!