Diaphragmatic Breathing

I wrote about mindful meditation pretty recently (click here to read it), and to continue on with the topic, diaphragmatic breathing is essential in meditation. I’ve learned so many different techniques to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression in school so I feel it’s my duty to pass them on to you, too.

Diaphragmatic breathing can be done anywhere – in fact, this is the type of breathing the doctor suggests when a woman is in labor or in birthing classes. This technique only requires that wherever you do it, you’re comfortable, you can concentrate, and you can incorporate visualization. If you have all three of those things, you’re good to go.

I battle with panic attacks and sensory overload, and this breathing technique can help with them. I never realized that this is the type of breathing exercise I do when trying to come out of a panic attack, but it helps. It immediately calms me down; I can breathe again, my body gets less tense and numb, and my brain is thinking clearly again. That fight or flight response chills out a bit, too.

So I urge you to practice this type of breathing, especially if you battle with panic attacks. It helps so much. Here is a link describing it more in detail and guiding you through it so you can hopefully be more mindful of this breathing technique when you’re working through a panic attack.

These Shoes

These shoes have taken me to the place where I would get the diagnoses that would change my life. They have taken me to the place where I have met people that didn’t want the best for me; they wanted to take advantage of me, to see me fail.

These shoes have taken me to places I never want to go again. They have taken me to places where I’ve felt pain, where I’ve felt anxiety, where I’ve felt stuck.

These shoes have taken me to places where I would have to share my feelings with complete strangers and hope that they didn’t judge me. They have taken me to places where I’ve waited and waited to feel whole again, to feel something, anything at all.

But…

These shoes have taken me to places that I recover and try my best to feel significant. They have taken me to the place where I can speak my soul and help it to heal. They have taken me to the place where I can feel free, where I can feel whole, where I can feel human.

People can judge us. They can slander our name. They can look down on us because we’re different than them… but they can’t take our soul. They can’t take our voice. They don’t know our lives or how we live, why we do the things we do. What we have fought for up until this very moment.

These shoes are dirty, beat down, worn out… but nobody can take away what they’ve been through. What I have been through.

Keep fighting for you and I’ll keep fighting for me.

World Suicide Prevention Day

I should have died 5 years ago, but it was like an actual hand pulled the gun away from my head and a voice told me to call my mom. And life got better. It didn’t get perfect, and sometimes it doesn’t feel easier. But I promise you, it’s worth it. You’re worth it.

Stay alive for me. Stay alive for your pets, your parents, your siblings, your job, whatever it is. But most of all, Stay Alive for yourself. Give yourself the chance to experience new things. You are loved and you are worth taking up space in this world.

I never thought I’d ever be able to go to college. People (mostly classmates/bullies) always told me I was stupid because I didn’t talk until the 8th grade. They told me I’d never be able to do certain things because I didn’t talk. They told me I was ugly, stupid, mute, castoff… Teachers didn’t want to help because I was too much work, guidance counselors sent me to the school nurse and even therapists, doctors said “well she just needs to talk.” I had a teacher even send me to the principal’s office because I was too terrified to answer her question in front of the class.

I wasn’t supposed to be happy. That’s what everyone wanted. They enjoyed seeing me fail because it made them look better. It made them feel better when I would cry in front of the class. I caused people frustration, people took offense, they called me “their special project” and didn’t mean it in a good way…

I’ll be 29 in less than a month. Do you think I thought I’d ever make it to 29? I didn’t think I’d make it to 20, and I sure as hell didn’t think I’d make it to 25.

I’m a junior in college. I’ll be a senior in April, and I’ll be done with my Bachelor’s degree program in November 2020. I’m proving so many people wrong and I have no plans to stop.

Yeah I’m in therapy every week, I’ve been to a mental institution a couple times, so what? It helps me. Those things helped make me strong and I live now for myself. For my dog. For those drives in my Jeep. For the day I can say I graduated college and made my parents proud.

And that is why I continue to fight.

Don’t give up hope. The battles you’re fighting today will make you stronger in the future.

#WorldSuicidePreventionDay

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.