Whatever you do, don't panic!

It had been a difficult morning.  But I gritted my teeth and set off on my first run of the new year.  I started okay.  Concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other and how good that made me feel.  Well until the 'walker' in the Ireland vest overtook me!  But then the other kind of thoughts started to creep into my mind.  What happened, what went wrong, how I felt.   Then it struck.  Like a tide of suffocating black sludge filling my arteries and lungs so I could barely walk or breathe.  I stop and gasp for breath as the rising panic reaches my brain.

Stop, breathe, go again.  It wasn't a long run.

I came home and grabbed everything I could...

...Rescue Pastilles
...Two nurofen for my exploding head
...Chamomile tea to wash it all down.

After that I felt a bit better.

Yes I know that taking everything at once is NOT really recommended, and I promise not to do it again.

I was diagnosed with anxiety before Christmas.  But that was just on one day.  It's reactive.  Something happens.  I panic.  I have plenty of good days.  Like the day I got my new bag...

It seems to be an epidemic among middle aged women (according to a GP friend) and special needs parents (according to other friends).  I wasn't expecting it to happen to me.  Me?  The girl who jumped out of an aeroplane? Ran the London Marathon?

Ten years ago I celebrated my 40th birthday by learning to drive rally cars.  Now I have to remind myself not to drive too slowly.

These days I check every door, window and socket before bedtime, where once I slept for a year in a downstairs bedroom with a broken catch on the window.  Could've been handy if I forgot my keys!

I have become a worried woman with a worried frown.  A woman over 50.  Who is different.

I take pleasure in my new bathroom blind.  How clean and neat it looks!  How smoothly it goes up and down!

I thought I would shoot myself if I ever got that like.  But now I have, I somehow find that I don't want to...

But I DO want to do something about my anxiety levels.

No I'm not on daily medication, nor do I go to counselling.  I can't face either.

So how to calm myself?

Looking back it was always there, lurking in the shadows.  Some of the things I tried as a teenager to calm down were not a good idea then, and would be unthinkable now.  Those things I did as a young adult are more difficult now - my knees complain when I run, the beach is mostly out of reach and so are the hills.  Baking helps, which I why I love this book so much and, like author Marian Keyes,  I bake even when there is no one to eat the results.

There's wine of course, but that has to be rationed.

What do you do?


  1. I walk, read and basically try to breathe. I suffered panic attacks when my mum was dying. They happened when I was lying in bed when I thought I was fairly calm but obviously not!

    1. That must have made your Mum's passing even harder xx

  2. Ah my love, the 3 b's, breathe, bake, blog xxx

  3. Anxiety is awful; I get it and its got as bad as having panic attacks out of the blue. I didn't go to the docs as I didn't want to end up on medication so improved my diet, did gentle exercise and tried to rest whenever I had an anxious day. It has improved a bit but I still have some way to go so now I'm trying to pick up my sewing again to take my mind off stuff. So far so good. Deb

  4. I have a bath, go to the local day spa and TRY and relax but those damn pesky worries creep back in when my back is turned. Work funnily enough helps, too busy to allow negative thoughts enter my head. I certainly don't want to go back to the days of the panic attacks that would make me literally throw up and paralyze my body, not pleasant. Baking is very therapeutic so I say if that's what works for you go for it, as for the bags well you are not the only one as you saw for yourself this morning lol.

    1. Work does help doesn't it? You have to focus on something else and so your worries get parked for a while :)

  5. Like lyndylou I first got panic attacks when I lost my mum, and then they struck again during each pregnancy usually at nighttime. Never did get to the bottom of quite why and thankfully doesn't happen now - but i remember just becoming so aware of how utterly out of my control it was. however much i tried to 'snap out of it', i couldn't. I just had to wait a few minutes until the panic moment passed. it gave me a whole new sympathy towards my mum who suffered for many years with anxiety problems and i used to think she could change it if she wanted to. now i understand it was out of her control. hope they reduce for you or better still that the panic attacks go away completely. xxx

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences, and I didn't realise that you'd lost your Mum too ((hugs))

  6. Oh, poor you. I am so sorry you get hit with anxiety. I don't have anxiety attacks but I do get a build up of irritation, anger (you name it) and I can feeling it bubbling under the surface.. until I want to explode. Hmmm, thinking about it, perhaps that is anxiety.. Why oh why can't we all have an easy life. Wouldn't it be great if our only worry was what handbag to buy! I love your choice by the way! xx

    1. Hmm I wonder if mia tui deliver to South Africa? Choosing handbags is a great distraction anyway! xx

  7. Nurture you, like you do your children.
    You are such a beautiful human being C.
    You matter, you are important and unique.
    There is no one is this world made like you.
    Reflect on this & do try to talk with someone you trust.
    You are so worth it.
    Say over and over again,
    In this moment, ALL is well in my world.
    And it is.

    Much love and warm gentle hugs.

  8. I suffered panic attacks before I had TC. I was prescribed beta blockers but never took them in the end, I just used natural breathing techniques to get through it. I still get them but only very occasionally now...usually caused by my MIL (and I'm not joking!) xx

    1. A good MIL is worth her weight in gold. But one that causes panic attacks?. That's not good xx

  9. I have issues with anxiety. It made itself apparent when I developed asthma in my mid 30's. Was I waking up at night, unable to breathe, due to a panic attack or an asthma attack? It's hard to say for sure, and in addition these two conditions often appear together.

    At any rate, I found it helpful to start medication for both conditions, and both have been very manageable ever since. I continued the medication without any problems through two pregnancies. My philosophy is if that's what you need, then do it. But I know many people would rather not take medications for anxiety.

    I also practice mindfulness meditation. This is as important as the meds. Pay attention, very close attention, to your breathing. As thoughts arise, welcome them, and then notice as they pass. So many of us with anxiety are prone to getting hooked by negative thoughts as if they were all true. That's very likely not to be the case, right?

    Mindfulness is about noticing them and then noticing as other thoughts arise. We can't control our thoughts, but we also can choose not to be controlled by them. For me, practicing mindfulness meditation has been an important part of finding balance and greater happiness in life.

    I've got a son coming up on 3 who's got speech delays and will likely get a PDD-NOS diagnosis soon. We also have a 4 month old baby at home. Being aware of my tendency towards anxiety and having some processes in place to handle it has been very helpful in controlling my stress during this challenging time.

    There's a lot I'm learning about being a parent to a child with autism. Your blog has been very helpful - thanks so much for writing it.