About three years ago my life went to peices, my long term boyfriend had left me, got injured, consequently lost my job and then my apartment. All within a three month period. I went to a store to go pick up some things for my apartment while i still had it and felt this horrible sensation. It was my first panic attack. I started thinking that I didn't have enough money for the purchase, I checked my wallet and I knew rationally that I did but for some reason my brain was telling me I was going to be sick and I began shaking and couldn't breathe.
After that day I was frightened to go out anywhere, I was afraid to work and my attendance dropped significantly. The moment I felt any nausea in my body I would stay home and sulk that I had no money. I went through multiple jobs, was kicked out of many houses until my friends put me up on their couches. The worst was the three month stint I spent at my friend's house refusing to leave. I was panicking in the shower, in the car for the two-minute trip for cigarettes, panicking while brushing my teeth or eating breakfast. Nothing stopped it. I searched for work-at-home jobs and went to an online college class to try to get higher learning while I got over the attacks. I knew they weren't permanent but I was in a hurry to not feel scared anymore.
I was eventually diagnosed with a physical stomach disorder that caused the dreaded nauseas feelings and once I could tell myself that the nausea was normal or that if I felt sick I was strong enough to find my own way out a situation my feelings began to calm down. It took me two years to finally get the self-talk to take affect, and I still have panic to this day though its highly diminished. The main idea that helped me was proving to myself that my friends would be there for me if anything would happen to me, true or not and that if they weren't or couldn't be that I was stronger and smarter than to let fear take over my life. Fighting the panic is the hardest thing but if you start to enjoy it (as odd as that sounds) the fear becomes a challenge instead. Making jokes about it,( oh my heart rate is increasing, that's good for my blood flow, I don't even need to excersize!) and laughing at yourself. This will increase endorphin flow and minimize the fear that you feel. Changing your diet helps immensely as well. When I quit soda and mainly drank cranberry juice (mainly to keep stomach viruses at bay--I still have a very hardcore fear of throwing up) I felt so much better. For one, I could tell myself, I drank cranberry juice, I CAN'T get sick. Also, the lack of caffeine and stomach destroying acids in soda severely quieted down the anxious feelings. Eating better really does help.
All in all, my fear took me years to get over and its not completely gone but I have the mental tools to break through it. Now I don't feel comfortable if I'm IN the house for too long and I need to go out somewhere. My life has improved and the fun social situations I find myself in are enough to help me fight the panic next time. Just because you feel fear doesn't mean something bad is about to happen. It just poor brain wiring from a traumatic event and if you can learn to be afraid, you can learn not to be afraid.
Also, therapy and medication helps.
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