Why I'm grateful for my panic attacks
Wellbeing

Guest story – Špela’s experience with panic attacks

Today’s post is a little different than usual. I am happy and proud to present my first guest story.

The idea for a guest story came quite spontaneously. Špela contacted me through a friend and asked me about my dietary supplements for stress relief.

She told me that she had been quite stressed out lately. She had also been suffering from depression, anxiety, and panic attacks for quite some time.

She wrote down the story about her panic attacks and sent it to one of the local magazines, but they showed no interest in publishing it. She also sent her story to me.

Two pink balloons in the air
In this post, I present Špela’s story. Photo: karosieben, Pixabay

Later that day I sat down and read her story. I was surprised and shocked. Some parts of her story were even similar to what I was going through.

I wondered how many people could identify with her story and how it could inspire them and let them know they are not alone in their suffering.

I realized that each of us is going through something. Many people are struggling with anxiety and panic attacks. Usually, our troubles remain hidden. We are often not even remotely aware of each other’s difficulties.

The girls are talking and laughing
We can ease our pain by sharing our struggles with others. Photo: Priscilla du Preez, Unsplash

Špela’s story is painful but also inspiring. It shows us how our biggest struggles can transform our lives for the better.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading this post and that you’ll find value and inspiration in it. Špela titled her story “Why I’m grateful for my panic attacks”. Let’s begin.

Špela’s story – Why I’m grateful for my panic attacks

A while ago, I heard a well-known psychiatrist talk on television about how more and more people are struggling with fear and anxiety. As a result, panic attacks are becoming more and more frequent.

It is said that every fifth person is suffering from anxiety. I thought this couldn’t happen to me because I am a confident and self-assured girl. Besides that, I have control over myself and my body.

It happened to me on March 8th a couple years ago.

Every March 8th (we celebrate Women’s day on March 8th in Slovenia), my girlfriends and I gathered and celebrated that we are young and independent women.

This year, that was not the case. I woke up in the morning with terrible chest pain. I was short of air. I felt like I was suffocating. My heart was pounding like crazy.

A burning pain spread through my arms and legs. I didn’t understand what was happening. It was really scary. I burst into tears and quickly grabbed the phone to call the person nearest to me so they could take me to the emergency room.

The doctors at the emergency room examined me and measured my blood pressure. The results were okay. The doctor explained to me that I’d had a panic attack. I couldn’t understand why this had happened to me. I got a referral to a psychiatrist who prescribed me medication.

Since I’m not a fan of pills, I first wanted to make sure that the medication was safe and that it didn’t have too many side effects.

I read many forums on the internet, both local and foreign. In the end, due to too many side effects, I decided not to take the medication.

A few days later, it happened again. I was driving down the highway. Before entering the tunnel, I started to feel dizzy. My heart started racing. I felt a strong fear and a squeezing pain in my chest. It felt like I was losing consciousness. I could no longer hold the steering wheel. I was telling myself to hold on but I felt like I was losing control.

I tried to distract myself by counting. My body was burning, my arms and legs were shaking. It was awful. At that moment, I wanted to die. Somehow I managed to get to the hard shoulder to stop the car and open the windows. That’s when I realized I need medication.

After a few months of taking the medicine, my condition improved. I started researching everything about this disease, which led me to discover who I am and what I really want in life.

I had been so caught up in the monotony of my daily life. The job I had was unfulfilling. The rest of the time I was doing household chores and took care of my children. Night and day, week after week, year after year. My body resisted because it didn’t want to live like this anymore.

I have changed a lot of things in my life since the beginning of my panic attacks. Above all, I started to put myself first and listen to myself. Today, I am very grateful for panic attacks because they showed me what I needed to change in my life.

Thanks and plans for the future

I sincerely thank Špela for sharing her story and allowing me to post it on my blog. I hope this is not the last guest post on this blog.

Two hands hold a cut out paper heart in black colour
When we help each other, our problems become smaller. Photo: Kelly Sikkema, Unsplash

I think that posts like this could help many people by letting them know they are not alone in their suffering.

Each of us is going through challenging lessons, which often have a higher purpose—our development and personal growth. Špela’s story can help remind us of that.


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