Have you ever been going about your day feeling pretty good about your day and how you're feeling and then all of a sudden your struck by a panic attack? It happened to me yesterday and it knocked me on my ass...hard.
A friend gave me an early birthday gift this past weekend and I went out to the mall yesterday to use the gift card. While in one of the stores alarms kept going off, really high pitched ringing and buzzing that you could feel right through your body. It was quite painful actually. I can't explain it and I don't understand why it happened, but all of a sudden my heart started racing, I got really hot and sweaty, my vision blurred, I could feel my pulse pound in my head and I thought I was going to be sick. All I wanted to do was get out before I passed out!
As I was racing to leave the store it looked like the gate at the top of the stairs was closed and I panicked even more. I thought I was locked in...that I couldn't get out...that I was stuck. I was almost brought to tears by this. To say that my reaction was strong is an understatement. Even now today I can't explain what triggered the panic but something did.
Once up the stairs and out of the store, I headed to the closest bench. I took out my music and went to a song that calms me instantly. Closing my eyes and listening to the music, focusing on my breathing, soon had me smiling again. To help, the music stayed, always playing in my ear blocking out the sounds of the mall until it was time to leave.
Triggers are all around us and there will be times when you know what triggered a response or reaction for you and there will be times when you won't. Take the time to learn what soothes you during these times and practice your skills. When you're triggered by something in your life, turn to what calms you until the moment has passed.
Here are a few things I do to help myself...
- distract my thoughts with music that makes me feel good
- deep breathing exercises
- visualization of being on the beach, hearing the waves and feeling the warmth of the sun
- talk calmly to myself...reminding myself that I am safe, that I can handle this, that I am okay
- try to understand what caused the feelings so that I am better prepared in the future
There will be days when you may know what triggered a reaction and there will be days when you will have no clue...either way though...there are things you can do to help nurture yourself...what do you do?
take good care of you