My First Anxiety Attack

By Chemene Daniels-Game

Today I feel empty, sad and like I don’t measure up and I am not good enough.

I went to boot camp as I always do every Saturday morning. I felt on the edge of tears, as I have done all week. So I felt delicate and vulnerable.

We started the session and out of nowhere I could feel that lump of sadness rising in my throat. That lump you get when you are so sad and you need to cry a thousand tears to dislodge it. Usually, and because of years of practice, in public situations I can swallow it down and tell myself, ‘No, not now, later.’ But this didn’t work. It felt like an explosion of pain, feelings, debris all coming out in one uncontrollable sob. My heart was beating out of my chest and my chest hurt.  A physical pain.  I couldn’t catch my breathe and I felt like someone was suffocating me. I realised I was having a panic/anxiety attack.

I felt stupid, embarrassed, like I was 5 years old again when someone said something mean to me. That feeling when you cry so much it turns to sobbing. Like hiccups but deeper and more painful.

Why was I feeling this? Nothing had triggered it or so I thought.<

After 10 minutes I was better, heart still racing and I continued to have a very high heart rate for a good hour afterwards.  For the rest of the day I felt on edge, exhausted, like I had run a race with my past and my emotions and I’d fallen flat on my face to enable their victory.

I didn’t want to be sociable.  I had to take my 4 year old daughter to a party and that felt like someone saying, ‘climb that big mountain without oxygen.’  Dramatic as that sounds, that’s how I genuinely felt. I felt sore like a big plaster had been ripped off of my chest and my heart was raw and exposed.

I have experienced mild panicky feelings before and having M.E can make you feel like that but this was a bolt out of the blue.

Thinking about it today, I do realise where it comes from.  I have been working on past issues recently with a councillor.  Every day things also build on those already unsteady foundations and then the body just says, ‘NO!’

In a fight or flight situation this is what your body does; heart rate goes up rapidly, you feel a feeling of almost disconnection, surrealism, feel angry/upset and your body is pumped with adrenaline and other hormones.

When you suffer with depression/anxiety you are like a surfer; constantly surfing the crest of a wave, trying to stay up. You fall off, you get up, you fall off, you get up. Sometimes when you fall off, you struggle to get up and just when you are nearly on your feet, a massive wave comes from nowhere and bowls you over.  You are left feeling and asking yourself ‘why did I even bother getting up.’  That’s what depression/anxiety feels like. Some days you have that balance and other days you might as well be a pile of bricks on tight rope.

I am constantly learning about my depression and anxiety and it helps me to write about it. I hope my writing and my analogies are something that people can be helped by or empathise with.

One thing I do know and as a healer, believe in, is that everything that effects us emotionally effects us physically and vice versa. The key to depression/anxiety is looking after yourself first before others.

Think of it this way, you own a car, you offer everyone lifts, everyday, without fail. However you never get the time or feel you are able to get the car serviced, you never refill your oil, check your tyres…….then one day you break down.

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