My Not So Secret Diary

Panic Attacks

Panic Attacks Sober author and blogger Claire Hatwell with my daughter Katie Hatwell at West of England Steam Rally
I had a panic attack yesterday. They’re a lot less common that they used to be, but they seem to be getting more common as I try to do more and push myself out of my comfort zone more. What I hate is that they come out of the blue. I was having a lovely day, and then suddenly, when we stopped to look at something I felt my heart start to race and I couldn’t breathe. My first instinct was to run away, I’m never sure where to, but it’s either that or shut down and people will see me if I end up in a ball on the floor, so I don’t do that.
My family get it. I mean, they don’t understand why I’m like it, but then neither do I. They rally around me without smothering me and check I’m okay. They know talking to me or asking if I’m okay doesn’t work because it’s just another thing when I’m already on overload. They’re there, and that’s what matters.
Later, I tried to apologise. I know I don’t have to, and they don’t expect it, but I feel like I need to explain myself, even though in many respects, I don’t understand myself at all. It’s like I’ve momentarily lost control of my body, and then afterwards, when the adrenalin has subsided, I cry and feel exhausted. It’s embarrassing. No one is trying to change me though, they accept me for who I am. My husband even told me I should stop worrying abut trying to change things I can’t control. With those words, I felt a huge relief. It’s like I was fighting against a part of myself when I should have been accepting it. I may not like it, but it’s there, so I suppose I should get used to it.
It’s so easy to be kind and supportive to others, but it’s so much harder to do it to ourselves. I’m going to try to accept myself a little more. Let’s see if that makes a difference! If you've got any tips for dealing with panic attacks let me know, because I seem to forget everything when I'm in the middle of one!