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 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 that I will die now. I have always been health conscious. I go to gym, swim regularly, run marathon, cycle. But as I said earlier, it doesn’t matter what you are, who you are, anxiety/panic attack can happen to anyone.
My struggle with anxiety/panic attack started in 2014 when I shifted to Bangalore. After staying with my cousin for couple of months, I had moved to a PG for a month and than to an 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 lived alone in my life. I never liked it. 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 Bangalore, I didn’t have that luxury anymore. I somehow had gathered the courage or rather convinced myself (to be more precise) that I will have to live alone. But I never understood 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. Read more about Panic attack
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 or i shall kill myself. Imagine their situation when they read that i wanted to kill myself!! My fiance 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 still 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 how anyone would think. I was worried that he might just call off the wedding. But he didn’t. Instead he stood by me. He told me only one think, there are 2 ways out for me, either i meet a counselor who would speak to me and give me medicines to calm me down or I should be strong and fight against it myself. I decided of doing something about it myself. i started reading about my condition. And there I found exactly what I was looking for. My problem was out there and there were many people like me suffering from the same problem. 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 with me and I am not sick. I kept telling that to myself everyday. And it really started working. Luckily I fell asleep, after 3 bad sleepless nights.It was surprising for me. This was something which I had never done before. I have heard everyone say all my life and also had read about it that ‘we need to be positive and think positive and that positivity can actually bring in a 360 degree change in our lives. Being positive can cure any disease in this world. And it’s so true. Do you remember the famous line in the movie ‘3 idiots’? “All is well”. Believe me guys, it really helps. It was a kind of self belief and assurance to myself to say ‘Everything is fine with me, 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, I hardly get panic attacks now. I can confidently say that it’s gone almost 90%. 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 healthy 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, I could have easily gone to a stranger (counselor) who doesn’t even know me and talk about it, but why? Most of us do this because we feel that a stranger (counselor) will not be judgmental towards us and will understand our problems better. He doesn’t know me and so he will not label me. But why do we need his support when we can take care of it ourselves. 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. To know more on the other solutions, read 8 Effective Ways To Fight anxiety
Let’s start spending more time with ourselves and do things that makes us happy first and then think about others. Remember, if you love yourself, only than you can love others and if you are happy, only than you can keep others happy. Our average life span has gone down and we can live a long and happie life only if we start taking care of us.
Stay happie…stay healthy!