It starts with 1 thought. That thought turns into 3 which turns into 20. Then my breathing starts to get labored. Chest is tight. Hot tears begin to flow. If someone is with me they start to ask questions. And then all of a sudden the questions become part of the problem and the next thing I know, I am having a full on panic attack. Every thought is racing through my mind. Every moment is lost in that one moment.
Every moment is lost in that one moment.Ashlee Adams
The embarrassment alone is stressful.
Every panic attack becomes one of the scariest moments of my life. They don’t last for a long time but in that moment it seems like forever. I have everything together. I’m goal driven and consider myself to be super organized. But when something falls through the cracks and messes with my organization; then I start to feel anxious. If I don’t nip that anxiousness in the bud immediately. Then it will grow into a panic attack.
I honestly thought panic attacks were normal. People freak out. I freaked out but I dealt with it and kept it moving. I went to the doctor for a checkup one day and she asked me if I feel anxious sometimes. I told her in a cavalier way “All the time!” Then she started asking me what happens when I feel anxious? She asked how I cope with those feelings and then all of a sudden it’s like her voice was muted but her mouth was still moving. In my mind I am telling myself that this lady is stressing me out and as I started to believe that, my chest got tight and the tears began to flow. I calmed down early (this time) but I needed help. I will admit she was quick to give me medicine. A low dose. It helps and I am so glad for it. But I have learned ways to deal with anxiety without relying on medication.
As black women, we are often striving to be the best. It really is TRUE that we have to be twice a great to be noticed as good. We are the most educated. When married no matter how EQUAL the gender roles, there are heavier loads that we were built to carry. We are business owners, mothers, parishioners, friends, sisters, consultants, therapists and the list goes on. Sometimes that pressure may start to weigh on us.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Don’t allow yourself to feel like everything has to be in control.
Do find ways to help you cope with the anxiety.
I had to be forgiving of myself. If I dropped the ball it was ok because it didn’t happen all the time. The last panic attack I had was because I was traveling for a week and I didn’t have time to get my daughter’s clothes out of the dryer. It may seem trivial but it stressed me out not having her things in order. I have learned though, that she needs me in my right mind, and even though her father may not put all her outfits together the way that I would, she will have clothes on and he can handle getting her dressed.
I also have a strong Faith. When I feel anxiety creeping up, I think about the scripture that says “Be anxious for nothing.” I take deep breaths and remind myself that God won’t put more on me then I can bear. I was created to be great.
Pressure is a part of life.
But in my case, anxiety was a result of me losing control and feeling overwhelmed. I’m so glad that I have acknowledged the source and have gotten the help that I need.
If you always feel anxious or allow things that happen to affect your mental space. Find a way to fix it! There is no way to love the life you’re living when you feel frazzled all the time. And don’t be embarrassed either. A lot of people are dealing with issues that they don’t have to deal with because they are keeping them a secret.
Acknowledge your problem.