Deep Breaths and Fresh Air

If you have ever had a panic attack, you know how big or small the trigger can be. Something big like a death of a loved one, but even something as small as a spider on the wall.

Recently, I had one and it was a big one. Big panic attack from a small situation. 

I was in my therapy group and every day I sit at the end of the table so that I won’t be in between two people. I was doing fine until a man in a wheelchair came and sat next to me at the end of the table.

I don’t mind sitting next to anyone, but I have to be on the end. I have to. Otherwise, I have a panic attack.

So I was sitting there, trying not to pay attention, but then he started pacing back and forth in his wheelchair right next to me. 

That’s when it started happening. I started breathing hard and it got to where I couldn’t breathe. I spiraled into an attack.

Before you keep reading, I want you to say what you would do in my situation.

Okay, did you say “deep breaths” or “fresh air”? If so, you’re right. Although there are many ways to calm yourself down during a panic attack, those are the main two that I did. 

After that, I went to the bathroom to wash my face and tell myself, in the mirror, that I was okay. There was no danger. I was okay.

When I have a panic attack, my entire body goes numb. I breathe hard and I cry hard. After it passes, my bones hurt to their core and I have pain in my bones for 2-3 days after the attack.

It helps that there is always someone there to help out, even if it’s just getting me some ice water (thanks, Megan!). Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Panic attacks can be small or huge, even emergency room huge.

Now it’s your turn. Tweet me at @ali_vercher and tell me about the last panic attack you had. We’ll talk about it and it’ll help me understand others’ perspective during a panic attack.

Beacon of Hope

On January 4, 2017, I went to a mental facility…again. 

I learned new coping skills and met some troubled but great people.

For the first three days or so, I was angry at my therapist for making me go. I had been feeling very depressed for a couple weeks before, and had even asked my mom to bring me to the hospital. The Prozac had stopped working, and I was in bad shape. I tried my hardest to get through it, but it was just too much.

I didn’t try to kill myself, but I wanted to.

There were situations that I was in that were truly getting to me mentally, and I just couldn’t handle them. My best friend and I stopped talking, my sister and nieces moved away to Texas, and the holiday blues were setting in.

Mentally, I was a train wreck. Every little thing was getting to me, whether or not I showed it. I got through the holidays, but I was still broken.

On January 3, I met with my new therapist, and I told her I wanted to die. She immediately told me that I had to go to the emergency room to get checked into a mental hospital.

I went, and on January 4, I was driven to Beacon Behavioral Hospital in Bunkie, LA and it was my home for the next six days. I hated it there at first. I would call my mom crying that I wanted out immediately. There was nothing she could do. So I stayed. I had to.

I was discharged on the 10th of January, and the next day, I started going to group therapy in Alexandria, LA. This was my second time in group therapy. The first time didn’t go so well, but I like this group. There are too many people at times, which leads to me almost having panic attacks. So far so good though.

The people are so sweet to everyone and to me. I’m on new medicine and I’m feeling great.

Please know that it’s okay to ask for help. Be honest with yourself. Going to a mental hospital is nothing to be ashamed of.

You are worthy of help.

Holiday Blues

The holidays can be difficult, but especially if you have a mental illness. 

For me, I struggle with panic attacks when I’m around a big crowd of people. I had one last Christmas and had to isolate myself. It was humiliating. When everyone left, I was fine. I hate that! I hate that I didn’t spend time with my family but even more, I hate that I couldn’t control my emotions.

This year in therapy, I’ve been working on ways to get through the holidays. I put it to work on Thanksgiving this year, and it did work! Christmas will be the ultimate challenge, though, because a lot more people will be at my house. 

What are some ways that you cope with the holidays? Let’s discuss on Facebook or Twitter!
(PS… I know these last couple of months have been not the best of posts, but that’s because the holidays stress me out. That’s why I wanted to talk a little bit about it this month. 2017 will be back to my regular self.)

Stickers

I found my old journal that I wrote lyrics in when I was in high school. It’s full of old songs and thoughts, and the poem below really stuck out to me.

I think it perfectly describes what someone with depression, anxiety, and anything else is going through. 

It’s difficult to recognize who you really are when you’re depressed. It’s something we have to deal with daily. But that doesn’t mean give up. It means hold on longer, hold on tighter, hold on with everything you’ve got. You’ll make a comeback; I know it.

The poem is called Stickers. I wrote it on July 8, 2008.
One at a time

Added as the days go by

No one seems to notice

Just how their words can stick on others

As time seems to escape me

I glance in the mirror and can’t truly see myself

Labels covering me, smothering me

I’m at the point

I don’t even know who I am anymore