Two nights ago I had an anxiety-depressive episode on my way home from work. It was the first time that I had a real attack in quite some time and, even now, I’m not entirely sure what triggered it. Then last night, again while driving home, I had a panic attack that was almost bad enough to make me pull over and wait it out.
I’ve written about my mental health once before and, in all honesty, writing about it then was a challenge. It was the first time I had acknowledged my own problems on the internet. Since then, I’ve become slightly more open about it on social media, and I talk about it with a few select friends, but it never came up again here on this blog.
I do acknowledge that my problems are incredibly mild compared to other people that I’ve talked to. My mental health is closely linked with my physical health, which is a different topic entirely, but suffice it to say that I have not been at my optimum health recently.
Anyways, the last two nights, instead of being able to fall asleep right away, my mind has been sifting through all sorts of things and trying to figure out what specifically triggered these two attacks. The biggest one that I came up with was the car. I’m not entirely sure whether it’s specifically being IN the car, or whether its driving that sets me off, but I do know that I have been slightly uncomfortable in my car for the last few weeks. This morning as I drove to the coffee shop, I was feeling paranoid and uncomfortable, but I didn’t have another attack, so I’m not entirely sure what’s going on. It might be claustrophobia or something else entirely.
Last night, another definite trigger was the fact that there was a storm coming through. The air pressure was different and the temperature kept fluctuating. I’ve been somewhat frightened of storms since I was a child, and every once in a while it does become a trigger for my anxiety.
I’ve never been to a therapist or a doctor for any of my problems, but I identify with and accept myself as having moderate stages of depression, anxiety, and panic disorder. I have severe moments of depression sometimes that will in turn trigger a major panic attack, but those don’t happen very often anymore. I have an overwhelming need to be in control of everything, probably due to the anxiety, and while I’ve forced myself to somewhat let that go, I balance it out by being hyper-aware of everything around me. Even now, I’m sitting in the corner of a coffee shop, writing this post, enjoying my caramel latte and typing at a fairly reasonable pace. At the same time, I’m keeping tabs on the conversation that a group of ladies across the room are having, I know that the guy in the opposite corner of me is drinking a cappuccino, and I can tell you exactly what song is playing. Even though I’m sitting in the furthest corner from the door, I notice every time someone goes in or out and my mind almost always registers the type of drink that each person orders. It is incredibly improbable that anyone could startle me or walk up to my table without me noticing well in advance. This keeps me safe, but it also keeps me tense and tires me out extremely quickly.
None of my symptoms are particularly severe, and I’m not manic or suicidal, so there is very little to be concerned about. Honestly, the biggest step anyone can take is to acknowledge that they are struggling. I can recognize when an attack is coming on, and I have implemented steps and strategies to deal with the effects of that. That is the important part.
Now that I have all of that off my chest, we can go back to regular, happy blog posts! Thank you if you got all the way through that rambling.
Disclaimer: This is me sharing my personal experiences with mental health problems. I am not a psychiatrist nor an expert by any means whatsoever. If you feel depressed or suffer from regular panic attacks, please please tell someone. Get help and don’t try to face this sort of thing on your own.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
(This number is saved in my phone and perhaps it should be in yours too. Could save a life.)