Alannah suffers from panic attacks. 18 months ago her Dad left and her family went through a very stressful time. As a result she sometimes has a couple of attacks in one week. We asked her to tell us what that feels like and this is what she told us…

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In the past 12 months my life has changed in a way I never thought could happen. I’m one of those people who overthinks, but overthinks to an extreme. I feel like a different person, not the old me who was full of energy and adventure, dancing and playing football. But all of that seemed to slip through my fingers all too fast. Sometimes it feels like a dream or someone else’s old life.

You always hear things that have happened to other families and think “God I don’t know what I’d do if that happened in my family”. I actually said that only a month or two before it did happen to my family. My father cheated on my Mam and we found out just a couple of weeks after my Grandad passed away. I have never been so angry or helpless in all my life. Before all of this I had just gained some confidence and now it was back on the floor.

My house was a misery, Nearly 2 years on we are all very different because of it, we don’t trust people as easily and try not to get upset in front of each other. When I feel anxious I get really quiet and frustrated at myself, because it ruins me as a person. It effects me in ways that I know doesn’t reflect the real me. Tired, crying, a lump in my throat, constantly afraid of something bad happening. Over thinking about literally every thing.

One of my biggest fears is losing people, the ones who are closest to me. I remember being in a fight with one of my friends and I wanted to solve it ASAP because the anxiety was killing me. I had three panic attacks that week, I couldn’t eat or sleep and was just emotionally exhausted.

To me the only way that I can fight anxiety is to talk to someone you trust and get it all out of your head. Anything conflict related makes it worse so nip it in the bud IN PERSON, never over text. Keep yourself busy, which leaves less time for your mind to wander. Exercise is great for this. Lastly, be organised as leaving certain things to the last minute will make you stress even more.

These are my steps for dealing with an anxious day or a panic attack:

  • If you feel a panic attack coming on get out of whatever surroundings you’re in and go somewhere safe
  • Your thoughts will be going 90 miles an hour but try listening to the person trying to help you breathe
  • Cry it all out, holding it in will make it worse
  • Having someone you know, with a calming voice helps millions, if they panic, you panic.
  • You yourself knowing that you’ll be okay is a comfort so keep telling yourself that.
  • Lastly the main thing is to breathe. Breathe in, hold for 4 then exhale for 5.

Alannah wrote this piece herself and said that it really helped her get her head around what she’s been through. She is getting help for her anxiety and panic attacks and knows she’ll come through this time in her life stronger. She says “In many ways all of this has changed me as a person, but I like who I am. Knowing I could help someone who feels the same really helped me write this piece. It frustrates me so much when I see someone in an anxious state or a panic attack and no one seems to know what to do or how to help.”

Thanks to Alannah for sharing her story. 

You can read more about panic attacks HERE.

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