Do any of my friends have panic attacks like my friend Nancy Phillips? Here is what she said to me: “I feel like screaming but I don’t want to wake everyone up. I end up choking and gagging and I can’t breathe for a few minutes until it is over but if I ever have a really bad one when I’m alone I don’t know what will happen.
Do you know of some things I should do if I’m alone when I have a panic attack? The best thing I can do so far is trying to take deep breaths and look at what is around me”. Well, here is my answer to Nancy – a natural panic relief system by Tom Talbot. More from Nancy:
Today I am OK. There have been times that I have not been OK. Moments I felt pretty scared. Have you ever felt anxiety? Or a panic attack? The scariest part is you don’t know how or why it starts sometimes. I don’t exactly know how they went away. I don’t exactly know why they came in the first place.
But boy they were scary. I ended up in St Vs hospital, they treated me as if I had an acute heart condition, the palpitations, breathlessness – those 3 days in the hospital scared me even more! My anxiety fed on itself from that experience.
They said I could die!! It was a long time ago now. I was 19. I guess that time was a pretty pivotal point in my life, a big year of change. I’d moved to Melbourne and been studying Nursing for almost a year at LaTrobe Bundoora. I never wanted to be a nurse. I wanted to be creative. I wanted to write. I wanted to study photography.
Someone told me this wasn’t a real profession to pursue. It wasn’t practical. Well, the heart isn’t really practical now, is it? It feels what it feels unapologetically. So there was conflict inside as I did what others told me to do and denied my true dreams and passion. Perhaps that was the crux of it?
After my first episode that ended up in that scary situation in hospital – I got even worse. I was at the point that I couldn’t go outside by myself. I felt scared by myself inside Myer. I couldn’t go on a train by myself and even with someone, I trusted it was a struggle.
It took a good few months before I could go back to work properly. I saw a counselor, I went on antidepressants for 6 months. I had an amazing doctor who listened to me and really took the time. I’ll never forget those special people. Heath my rock. Mum came to me at the hospital and held my hand and told me it was going to be ok.
Heath who couldn’t understand what was happening to me (neither did I) but who just made it better by being there and staying with me. I hardly remember being in that place anymore.
My Mum Trish had Bipolar Disorder, which I didn’t know much about – so with that episode, I scared myself thinking that that was what was happening to me. Mental Illness has a hereditary element in some cases – you may be more predisposed if it runs in the family. After 6 months I felt so much better.
I quit uni with the full support of Heath and I got a job as a Trainee in Real Estate which I thrived in. I found a passion and ran with it. To this day, real estate still fuels my heart. As does writing and photography and I’m lucky enough to have done these things as a living for the past 10 or so years.
I believe I have a beautiful angel watching over me. Protecting me always. I know many more things about myself now. I know I have limits. I know I have to take care of myself, check in with myself, be careful not to burn out. Surround myself with people and things that I love.
Luckily those panic attacks have very rarely come back over the years and I’ve never felt it to that extent again. But I know anxiety has been part of my life before and it could come back, so I just keep following my heart. Follow your heart, it always knows the way.