Anxiety sucks, a lot.
I’m not a mental health professional, I’m just a girl who seriously struggled with anxiety and depression and through several different methods, found her way to a joyful life.
I used to have such severe panic attacks that I could barely leave the house. Every day was a struggle. I had a very deep belief that I was constantly in a state of imminent death. I went to the emergency room more times than I care to count.
I had this vision of my throat closing up in some sort of anaphylactic shock. I was terrified to eat. What if I had become allergic to whatever it was that I was about to put in my mouth? What if there was an ingredient in the food that I had never tried before, and it caused my throat to swell and leave me in a state of complete panic until death surely ensued.
I’ve never even been truly allergic to anything. I didn’t have a doctor prescribed EpiPen for some crazy peanut allergy. I had never experience someone else go through a similar scenario. I honestly don’t even know where this belief came from.
I can still remember my first panic attack like it’s happening right now. I was sitting in church with my mom and sister. The music was loud, the lights were glaring, and honestly, I didn’t want to be there from the start. I suddenly got a strong whiff of someone’s perfume. I then felt my heart rate start to rise. It was like inside of me there was a girl running a million miles an hour, itching to get out of her own skin. I could feel the pit of anxiety growing rapidly in my stomach. I started to sweat. I was looking all around for some sort of escape or some sign of reassurance.
I’d never felt like this before.
I started to get short of breath. I started to feel faint. My limbs were getting tingly and there was a tightness in my chest that I was sure was a heart attack. If health class had taught me anything it’s that if you ever have so much as a ping in your chest, you are certainly having a heart attack.
I tried to calm myself down to no avail. I had no other option; I was going to have to let this out or I was sure I would collapse on that church floor with no chance of survival.
I told my mom that I felt off. I felt like I was having an allergic reaction. We quickly got up and started heading towards home.
I can remember my sister doing her best to calm me down. Telling me to take deep breaths and counting them out for me. I can remember so clearly my mom saying we would be at the ER by home in about 30 minutes.
30 minutes? I didn’t even think I had 30 seconds left to live.
The panic took a strong hold of me and I gasped to say we needed to get to the ER immediately or I would certainly die. My lips were numb at this point and I assumed my tongue and throat were swelling to a point of no return.