Compulsions, Self Harm and Showers – How My Anxiety Attacks Look

Everyone’s anxiety is different. Not any one panic or anxiety attack is the same. For people who think that anxiety attacks are generic and are just your typical shaking, rocking back and forth, hyperventilating mess of a human that you see before you, there is a hell of a lot more to it.

Allow me to demonstrate with my own version of the panic attacks I endure:

I begin with this overwhelmingly large and warm sense of dread in the pit of stomach. I cannot ignore it because it is continuously there to remind me “Oh hey, you know what you are anxious about, well here are like 10 million different scenarios that make this ten times worse for you…” and they replay over and over and over. I can’t think about anything else. I constantly look around as if the voices in my head are somehow stalking me from behind and the further I try to run the more they are right there.

I can’t just sit still while having an episode. I HAVE to be doing something..ANYTHING.. that will get me to make the dread stop. I walk around most the time to some unknown destination and get completely lost in my anxious thought processes. Usually it ends with me being very compulsive and either biting or scratching my hands and fingers to make the anxiety go away. Does it? Well no.. but for the time being it makes me feel a hell of a lot better til I realize I have completely marked up my own hand which just gives people more physical proof to how crazy I appear to be.

If the anxiety has yet to cease by the time I finish my clumsy and erratic wandering, then I try to combat it by sitting in the shower for at least an hour or two, hoping that the rushing water calms me.

But what if I physically can’t run away or there is no shower in site? Well then I tend to cry… a lot. I also hyperventilate, I compulsively ask the same questions over and over because I need the reassurance that everything is going to be alright, even if I do not feel like it will be in the moment. My friends get annoyed with me, I can tell, but I have no other way to calm the gnawing feelings in my stomach unless they repeat things to me, it gives me a sense of calm, even in my lack of control.

What starts these episodes to occur is really anything. I have intense fears of failure, being kidnapped (yeah that is actually real), my sister being hurt, conflict and getting in trouble, and just anything I cannot be in control of sends me into a downward spiral.

And that’s what my anxiety looks like. I am sure you can’t imagine how it feels, or maybe you can because you have your own version of it. It is pretty physically debilitating. Now I didn’t write this uberly dark blog to make people upset or to send them off on attacks of their own, but I wrote this to show awareness and how an anxiety attack is a lot more than what people think it is.

I also shared this because I think it is important for anyone who is struggling with any form of mental illness to get the help they need to live a completely full and healthy life. I wish you all the best in your journey and as you have seen in my first blog, my journey is on it’s way to a positive and healthy life.

Be the person you want yourself to be. Get the help. You have no idea how refreshing not being constantly in fear and being anxious can be.

Until next time,

Trisha

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3 thoughts on “Compulsions, Self Harm and Showers – How My Anxiety Attacks Look

  1. My attacks look similarly. My thoughts differ a bit as I project being lonely for the rest of my life, unemployed, homeless and having every possible disease

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  2. Thank you for sharing what your attacks look like. Everyone experiences them differently and it’s important to keep this in mind. It is common to believe that all attacks are rocking back and forth with hyperventilating, but this is such a blinded view which needs to be broadened. No two people are the same, therefore no two attacks are the same. Nonetheless, they are all important.

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