My life experiences have left me with many scars, both visible and hidden. Some, like the one on my knee, remind me of fun times (though jumping from the swing to the wood chips isn't recommended). Others, like the ones on my abdomen spark memories of difficult choices. The most painful scars, though, are the ones whose stories I still struggle to tell in person. So, in honor of my one year survival celebration, today's blog tells you a little more about one of my more private struggles: anxiety.
A loud, crowded airport is not the ideal place to discover that you forgot to pack your anxiety medication. To make matters worse, I was traveling alone. No chance to leave luggage with a friend and go collect myself in the relative privacy of a bathroom stall. Nobody with me who could help talk me through it. (Though I will note that an amazing friend helped talk me through it via messaging.)
Nobody around me noticed. I doubt any but my very closest of friends could have seen the change in me. My heart rate increased, breathing grew shallower and more rapid, I felt my muscles tense and begin to shake as waves of nausea rose wet higher in my throat. On the outside, though, I was just a very quiet, shy fellow passenger. At worst, perhaps a touch nervous about flying. None of my airport neighbors would have guessed that I was experiencing a panic attack.
So, how do you know when someone around you is having a panic attack? Here are the common symptoms. If you think you notice any of them, ask.
Now that you know your friend is having a panic attack...what do you do? Check out this great article on ways to respond. For my part, I'll just say that I like being touched by certain people, encouraged to talk, and even reasoning through the things that are causing me anxiety. But, if you're not sure what to do, ASK!!
Hope this is helpful. Drop me a line and let me know of any topics you'd like me to cover in the future!