“There´s never air to breathe, there´s never in-betweens, these nightmares always hang on past the
dream” – Impossible Dream by Panic! At the Disco
Yes, I fancied opening this blog up with a little bit of Brendon Urie, you’re welcome. But that first
line, ‘there’s never air to breathe’, what do I mean by that?
Yes ladies and gentleman, let’s talk about the joys of anxiety … Panic attacks!! Personally, I grew
up having panic attacks, 24/7, and it was horrible. Only through counselling did I manage to learn
why I suffered with them and how to cope. Guys, I did really well, I couldn’t remember the last time I
had one. Well, now I can, it was only a few days ago. So, let me talk you through what happened.
Every panic attack is made up of 3 stages; first, the trigger, then the episode, and finally, the crash.
So, let’s start with the triggers. For me, my most recent attack, it was because I actually stood up for
myself, Id had enough of someone constantly arguing with me, and I wasn’t going to stand for it,
and during which, I was shaking like hell. After, I thought I felt okay, but the panic hit me later. Some
people may find they have a behavioural pattern for just before the attack, like being restless,
pacing, fidgety. For me, I bite my nails, (gross habit I know). My panic attack started because I had
bitten my nails down and could no longer bite them without causing pain. I’ve had stranger triggers,
once I had an attack because it suddenly got dark outside. If you are able to isolate your triggers, no
matter how small or silly you may think they are, they are relevant to you, otherwise you wouldn’t be
Next, the episode. Many of you already know how this goes, but for those who don’t, let me take
you through it. It can affect people differently, but I start by getting really sweaty palms, from all the
fidgeting. Then it intensifies, and I can’t breathe. I also then start crying, because its terrifying and I
can’t breathe. At that point, it literally feels like the walls are closing in, I am suddenly very aware of
what is around me and how far away it is, but the distance keeps getting shorter and shorter and it
feels like everything is on top of me. This can last a few minutes to around 30 minutes.
Then, the crash. This is when it finally ends. I’ve had such a built up of emotion by this point that it’s
so overwhelming and I break down, and yes, I cry again, (you’ll soon realise that I cry a lot). It’s also
very exhausting, and I am so tired afterwards, because I’ve had this big build-up of energy that has
So how did I get through this one? I was prepared. I do a lot of yoga and guided meditation, and I
can’t explain how much this has benefitted me. This is because both are focused around breathing.
The more of these you do, the more it becomes second nature. The second the panic attack hits, I
instantly start a breathing exercise, and it is the most basic exercise;
Breathe in for 5 counts
Hold for 5 counts
Breathe out for 5 counts
I either go 5 or 8, but really its up to you, what ever feels more comfortable. The more exercises you
do, the longer you can inhale, hold, and exhale for. Every time I feel nervous, on edge, or having a
full-blown panic attack, I instantly do this. This is why I always say breathe. Thoughts can get so
jumbled in your mind and when you breathe, you can ‘breathe those thoughts out’.
And this works. In the past, my panic attacks would last 20 minutes. The other night, it lasted 2
minutes. It may have been the longest 2 minutes of my life, but I would take 2 over 20 any day of
If, you suffer from anxiety, and know the joys of panic attacks, or even if you don’t; look into guided
meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises. I can’t stress enough how important it is to just ‘breathe’.
It calms you down, helps you relax, it slows your heart rate, and distracts your mind because you
are focusing on your breathing. Knowing your triggers, and knowing your behavioural patterns in the
build up to an attack are so important, because you can start to ‘breathe’ before the attack even
happens. Breathing exercises aren’t just a coping mechanism, but also can help prevent the attacks
from happening in the first place.
From now on, just breathe. Stay strong, we can get through this.
Adelaide Starkings – MediBee – BloggerBee