I, myself, am one who is not a stranger to diaries. I've kept a journal since I was 8 and to this day I still write in it. It might not be everyday, however. It could be a couple months, or even a year. There is no telling when I will pick up my blue journal and write in it.
But I did today. Although this time I did not write a date in the upper right corner or title it with an appropriate meaning to it or write my name at the top.
Instead I wrote "Panic Diary."
I never understood the severity of anxiety until recently. Growing up I've always been told that holding all of my feelings in would hurt me in the end. I didn't believe it. I ignored what they told me thinking How could that possibly hurt me? It can't be that bad. Can it?
But in the back of my mind I knew I would find out sooner or later.
Anxiety isn't just feeling nervous all of a sudden. Anxiety isn't just something that can be handled with lightly. Anxiety isn't something to glamorize or romanticize because the last thing I feel when my anxiety prods at my life is anything but romantic or glamorous. Anxiety is something that has slowly taken over my life to the point where the simplest of things becomes a challenge I have to conquer.
And it fucking sucks.
The worst part about it though is that I know I brought this upon myself. I always think If I had just expressed what I was feeling then maybe I wouldn't detonate like a bomb from time to time.
Again, I didn't know what people meant when they said that holding everything in was unhealthy until I had my first panic attack.
It was sometime over the summer of this year when I was sitting at home in my room watching videos on YouTube. Next thing I know, I have this feeling of panic flood through my body and the only thing I can think of is I'm going to die. This of course did not help the situation but trigger it even more. I sprang out of bed, and ran into the shower (I almost ran in still fully clothed.) I just thought that I needed to relax so of course a nice warm shower would do it. After I got out, I still felt the same. And once again, panic flooded through me. My next instinct was to just get out of the house so I arranged to walk to Starbucks across the street. I went there, had a cup of coffee and read a book. I felt a little better so I thought this was a start. After that I told myself that I just needed a good nights sleep and that I would wake up feeling 110% better. The first thing I thought of when I woke up was what happened the night before.
The panic continued to flood through me for 3 weeks. That's how long it took me to recover.
So when I had another panic attack earlier today I was terrified. All that was going through my head was how long it'll take me to recover from this one and that this time I might actually die. But this time around, it only took me 30 minutes to recover. How did I go from 3 weeks to 30 minutes? Well this time I took action.
I took it upon myself to research and find ways on how to deal with a panic attack while having one. The results were phenomenal. I searched up How to cope with a panic attack and the first thing I see is "Panic Diary." My mind immediately resonates with that even in a state of panic since it's something I'm familiar with, which is writing.
I read the instructions and wrote it all down in my blue journal. I answered simple questions and I started to realize that by doing this, I am acknowledging the problem instead of ignoring it. By analyzing what just happened or what is happening that moment, I am looking from an outer perspective and that is what sped the recovery process up 1000%. I am not fully myself however. Even as I am sitting here typing this, I can still feel the remnants of it wearing off even if I did have it hours ago. But this time I am not ignoring it. I am acknowledging it and I am coping with it.
By taking action and not distracting myself of the problem, I found out more about myself than I did yesterday. Instead of me writing my other stories, I am writing about my horrific experience. This is me coping with it.
After today I have come to the conclusion you can't fight battles alone. I knew I couldn't have calmed down from my attack without the advice of anonymous people. I knew I would still be dwelling on it if I wasn't surrounded by great people at the moment. And even as I look at my uncle who is holding back tears from the news that one of his close friends lost the battle to cancer, I know that he shouldn't deal with that alone.
What I hope you take from this is that people handle things differently from you. It doesn't mean they are doing it wrong. But the one thing that we all need, is someone to talk to. Don't hold yourself back.
This is just the start of my journey of self awareness and I am hoping that you will join me in it and learn new things with me.