I’ve been having panic attacks lately.
The first time (many moons ago) I was in my living room, sitting on the floor when I suddenly felt like I was going to die. Like something had gone horribly wrong in my body and I was in the process of rapidly, immediately, dying.
One of my friends noticed me internally struggling and told me to repeat the words ‘I’m okay‘. It’s worked for me since, and eventually if I ever felt a panic attack coming on, I could just say in my head I know what this is, my body isn’t combusting. I’d perform the I’m okay mantra, and it would go away as quickly as it had started.
I don’t want to keep saying panic attack so I’m going to say extreme jazz attack. That’s the first thing that came into my head. When I have a panic attack I feel as though there’s a sudden impending doom with an extreme jazz soundtrack. Like Aristocats but scary.
So I’ve been sort of underestimating extreme jazz attacks for a while, and the other day I had a really bad one.
I’m never doing anything panic-worthy when they happen. When I lived at home, I always got them when someone was in the middle of telling a story. I’d be listening away happily, and out of nowhere feel like I was losing my head, as though I wasn’t seeing through my eyes anymore.
I’d be trying to stay calm and think of a way to politely interrupt their story to explain I’d need a moment to go deal with my brain.
It would make more sense to me if I internalised things and didn’t talk about them but I’m not doing that. I talk about things when I’m stressed out and feel like I’m in control, as much as I can be.
I’ll feel at peace and for the most part fine, even happy. Then out of nowhere I’ll stop sleeping and start having extreme jazz attacks. Now that I’ve moved out I always get them when I’m just sitting around the house talking to my boyfriend, and I’ll think maybe I’m not dealing with things so well after all.
I haven’t had one in a while but the past week I’ve had a few, and they’ve all come on when I’m out somewhere, which is unusual. And they don’t feel familiar anymore, it feels like I’m urgently dying again, an undesirable activity.
They’ve never really been a hindrance to me before but now it’s happening on the motorway, and driving a car is something I particularly don’t want to be doing when I get the feeling I’m about to urgently die.
Lately there’s a lot of things in my life I feel really happy about and dare I say it, a little happy go lucky. It’s as though the extreme jazz attacks are powering up to meet my happiness.
I was thinking today maybe I need more of an outlet for my stress but I don’t know what.