The day gave no sign that anything unusual was going to happen that day, it was supposed to be any other day, started with a breakfast with coffee.
After breakfast, I chugg.ed down the last of my coffee and proceeded to wash the dishes, mom was in the living room watching television and my brother was somewhere in the background.
After washing the dishes, I felt a little warm and nauseous, my nose was itching, I thought that I was going to come down with the flu. I sat down, feeling tired all of a sudden when a wave of nausea hit me, my heart beat fast. I turned to my mom, not knowing what to say, I did not want to worry her, I told her that I felt dizzy.
She replied with a reprimand as my mom usually does, so I turned my head back to the television. But I just could not shake off the nausea.
It got worse, my head felt like it was spinning, I could hear my heart beating fast, I was trying to catch my breath. I told my mom calmly, help me I feel dizzy; I think it was the coffee.
My heart beat faster, my feet were constricting and so did my hands, my arms and legs followed until it went up my chest, it feel so tight, I could not breathe and I thought that I was having a heart attack, that I was going to die.
I was told to breathe deeply, and I did, my brother bought me a glass of water, my mom massaged my arms with oil, they yelled for my dad.
I remember my mom telling me to pray. I was scared as fuck so I tried it and went ''God, please''. Of course, as an atheist, I immediately felt silly and dropped the prayer and focused on my breathing.
They took me to the emergency room, the nurses sat me down. The doctor checked my vitals. She said that my airways were not blocked but my pulse was abnormally fast and that I was probably having a panic attack.
They put me on bed and gave me a paper bag to breathe in. I must commend the nurse for making a sturdy bag out of used bond paper and adhesive tape. Clearly, it was newly made because I could still smell the adhesive. My brother came in to watch over me, and said to me in a serious manner ''Janna, if this is because you got pregnant, just tell us already''. I could not help but laugh, he did not know I was gay.
I was trying to calm down, watching the paper bag go in and out of itself was calming. My limbs were tingling all over; I could still hear my heart. I was alone with until a nurse came by and I was cheered up, although I was undoubtedly in distress, I was not blind, she was pretty. She chatted with me a little as she wrapped the blood pressure measuring apparatus around my arm, I couldn't help it, I flexed my biceps.
Still feeling shitty but happy, a different nurse came in asked my bro to leave and conducted an ECG, it was cool, they stuck some electrodes on me which was no problem because I had no bra on in the first place.
The doctor came by to interpret the results, it was normal except for the abnormally fast heart beat. She prescribed something to slow down my heart which my sister did not approve off. My sister is a doctor herself and was worried that my heart would slow down to much. So she gave me just a tiny bit of the meds.
It took me about 5 hours to calm down, they were going to confine me to a different hospital but just got a second opinion instead and I went home. I would like to say that was the end of it but alas, it was only the beginning.
As I watch students pass by our busy street, I was curious of what do they have in mind that they can go wherever they want effortlessly? It is peace of mind. As they walk, they are not troubled by any danger/social/ anxiety/panic problems in specific along their way. They are not worrying a thing. So what’s causing me to worry when I go out? It’s because of the trauma, bad experiences that we encountered. We are sadden, ashamed, disappointed of how we reacted or felt in the past. Worrying about the past only makes you preoccupied about it in this present moment and keeps you from moving on.
It’s time to move on. It’s time to change. We deserve to smile and be happy. There is this fact that those stars at night the one star we are looking now actually don’t exist anymore. It has already exploded or collapsed only that its light has taken so long to get to us. It’s like our past experiences. We are worrying and watchful about it. We might not know but it may be already gone.
Go out and find out if it’s gone. Deciding to go is important. You can feel this inner will, self confidence, self esteem and strength shining through you if you have already decided. You know you can do this. I know it’s hard at first and those times you have panicked again. Difficult doesn't mean impossible. It simply means that you have to work hard. You might not or might get anxious and cold sweaty hands but it doesn’t mean that you’ll give up that easily. You know you can do this. We have to dedicate ourselves to go out at least everyday. And, sometimes we have to kick our butts out due to laziness or boredom.
Sometimes, we feel out of energy, not excited, unenthusiastic, bored, ain’t looking forward about going out due to stress, trauma, burnout or we simply don’t want to go. We have to have this extra effort to get us going. We have to motivate ourselves. One way of encouragement is immersing myself outside my house like moving the chair almost outside the doorway when watching tv, spending time to your garden or balcony for a break, etc. Anything under the sun will do. This will make you feel good and connected of the outside. It feels like going out is okey instead of feeling down for the rest of the day.
Every time we decide to go out and even at least try, I would be very proud of myself and you. Before going out, we have to put our mind in peace which means we have to settle it down. First, we have to acknowledge the way we feel about going especially negative feelings. In these negative feelings, there is a thought behind it. We have to stop and think why am I feeling this way. For example, I feel anxious and afraid because I think going out is scary, I will get dizzy, I will faint, I will not be able to breathe there. We are catastrophising things. These are unhealthy thoughts and bad habits. Next, change this negative thought to a positive thought and add up your supporting statements like “this is the day, I can do this, I did it there and I can do it here, etc”so that as a result you’ll be in a good mood or happy feelings. For example, going out is fine for me, I will not get dizzy +, I will not faint +, I can breathe + and then smile to the world it’s a beautiful day. Notice that if we keep thinking negative we are feeling bad. The way we think affects the way we feel. Think positive cause we deserve to be happy. Do this everytime you feel bad and you’ll see a difference. You’ll find yourself smiling pleasantly.http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/docs/Panic-03_Thinking-Feeling%20Connection.pdf Here is a site where you can practice more about thinking-feeling connection.
Be when you’re outside be happy. Don’t delay this gratification every step of the way. Set this mood in you. Whenever you feel anxious, immediately change that negative thought and be happy again. Say to yourself its feels great to be here. Give thanks for every opportunity that is given to you to cope.
Quantity and variety of exposure are also important. Quantity of exposure will give you your foundation. Everytime we succeed or achieved regardless with symptoms or not, this increases your strength, confidence and self esteem. You have now faith in yourself that you are capable of visiting those places. We might be scared in going there again but there’s this calmness in our hearts that we know we can do it again. Variety of exposures will give you answers to your doubts about the places you avoid. After I established my foundation and confident of what can I do, I came to a point that I pushed myself further more. I have not walked meters long at the specific street because I know in my last memory I got dizzy. I told myself I can do it. Holding my faith with me and my strong foundation I went through it. Whenever I get dizzy I stop for a while and continued to move. I told myself if I reach that lamp post I can go home but this faith keeps me to push through. Post by post I passed. I doubted myself but my mind is telling me that I know I can do this. I was really determined to do it. Then, I can’t believe that I made it. It’s like a dream came true and its very real. It’s like I indeed chose the correct answer and achieving that big red check mark.
I have read some success stories and some suggestions. One is meeting all of your friends in facebook one by one at a time. I saw her video and she was really happy being outside, meeting her friends and gaining new interesting experiences to them. Second is talking to a friend on phone that is doing an exposure also. Third, tell yourself that you can do this that it will be done very soon. There are many other conventional techniques, stories and suggestions out there.
Other things that I am trying to do, one is while strolling appreciates the surroundings. Use your five senses like how beautiful are the surroundings, the delightful smell of freshly bake bread, how sour the candy is, how rough is the cement, or the sound of people talking. Seek for these new experiences. Another is remembering today. We tend to react according to our past in situations instead of accepting it as a new memory, a new journey, or a new day. Try to remember today than to remember the past. I always appreciate the every new day.
After my exposures, I tend to de-stress myself. I think its important so that I can loosen all that tensed and stressed body. I listen to music. I sing. I play games. I buy my victory food. I can enjoy more and cherish my achievement in a relaxed body.
These are the things I want to share to you. I hope it will help you in one way or another or support you. Feel free to comment and also give me more suggestions like how to motivate me to go out everyday, etc. I know I got more to pass through. More power to all. Think positive. Be happy. God bless us all.