mental health

Tips for panic attacks

Panic attacks can be super scary, and often hard to handle. I know when i first started having them, it felt like I was going to die. They are terrifying. Eventually, I learned a few tricks to help make them easier. Here are some of my tips!

(If you are experiencing frequent panic attacks, having panic attacks or syptoms of anxiety, you should always consult with your doctor! These tips are NOT the answer to anxiety or panic attacks. These are tips and tricks i’ve learned over the years that have helped me deal with them.)

1. π‘Ήπ’Šπ’…π’† π’Šπ’• 𝒐𝒖𝒕, π’Šπ’•π’” π’ˆπ’π’Šπ’π’ˆ 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆 π’π’Œπ’‚π’š

I know it seems like it’s never going to end, but it will!! Just keep breathing and try to ride through it. Sometimes panic attacks feel like they’ll last forever, I promise you they dont!

2. 𝑯𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒂 π’π’Šπ’”π’• 𝒐𝒇 𝒔𝒂𝒇𝒆 𝒑𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒍𝒆

I found that keeping a list of β€œsafe” people in my notes on my phone helps a lot! β€œSafe people” are people that you feel like can help you during these moments. Whether it’s talking you through it or just being on the phone with you while you ride it out. It helps to have a list to remind you of the people that are willing to be there for you! Another cool number to keep on there is the crisis text line! I attached it in my last post and ill attach it here too, 24/7 you can text with a crisis counsler about what you are going through. Ive used it too many times to remember. Sometimes you might feel like youre bothering friends and family by calling them in this state, so having the number to a crisis line really helps!

3. 𝑻𝒉𝒆 π’‡π’Šπ’—π’† 𝒔𝒆𝒏𝒔𝒆𝒔 (𝒂 π’ˆπ’“π’π’–π’π’…π’Šπ’π’ˆ π’•π’†π’„π’‰π’π’Šπ’’π’–π’†)

This one is my personal favorite. The original way of doing this technique is; while youre having a panic attack, say out loud 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. This technique helps your mind think of something other than the panic attack. It β€œgrounds” you or brings you back down to reality. For me, I tend to do 5 of each of the 5 senses because I find that helps for me the best. A good idea would be to have someone you trust that you may be around during the panic attack, learn about this too so they can help you through the 5 senses!

4. 𝑩𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒆

Yea I know, β€œits not that easy!” But as cliche as it sounds, taking control of your breath during a panic attack helps A LOT. If you’re like me, a lot of the times panic attacks affect our breathing. Some people hyperventalate, some people have trouble breathing and feel like theres a brick on their chest. Even if your breathing isnt affected during a panic attack focusing on your breathing can help you ground yourself. It’s all about getting your brain to focus on something else.

5. 𝑩𝒆 𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒑𝒂𝒓𝒆𝒅

Often, we don’t know when panic attacks are going to happen, but it’s best to be prepared. Kinda like an earthquake. Have a tool box of things that you know help YOU. (It might take a while to figure it out) but having tools prepared for when you have an attack WILL help.

6. π‘²π’π’π’˜ π’šπ’π’–π’“ π’•π’“π’Šπ’ˆπ’ˆπ’†π’“π’”

Often with panic disorders there can be no triggers at all, But sometimes there are. I remember when i had just gotten out of treatment, I would have a panic attack every time I stepped foot into a stater bros. I have no idea why, maybe it was too crowded, and a small store. But without fail I would go into a panic attack. So I avoided Stater Bros. For a while. Knowing what triggers you can be extremely helpful in avoiding having a panic attack.

I hope these tips and tricks help! And remember please see a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety.

Crisis text line:

Text HOME to 741741

Questions are always welcome on my instagram, in the replies, or through email! Thank you!!

Much love x

mental health

Recovery

(DISCLAIMER: I understand not everyone’s recovery is the same. Everyone struggles with different problems. But I think it’s important to tell our stories of recovery and share our experiences to help others. Thank you!)

I don’t even know where to begin when i start to write this. Recovery is such a tricky subject, for every person it looks different, but it’s never pretty. I’ve seen too many instagram posts sort of announcing being completely recovered, and I look at them in awe because i know that’s not true. No one shows the ugly parts of recovery. So here I am, ready to show everyone my good, bad, and ugly. I’m not going to sugar coat it and say β€œeverything gets better and it’ll go away” but I will say it gets easier. I guess to understand this you need to know my pre-recovery story. I’ll give you the short version because I might save this story for another post.

I have always been really open with my struggle with mental illness so I forget that a lot of people that only know me on the surface have no idea. A lot of people keep that part of their life a secret, and I get that, it’s not an easy thing to admit or even talk about. But I find when I talk about it, it not only helps me but it helps other people. So let’s begin.

Growing up I was an anxious little kid. I was worried about EVERYTHING. I remember making myself sick over the thought of going to school in the morning and would give myself a full blown panic attack. My parents had no idea then that it was anxiety, they just thought it was normal 7 year old tantrums. We didn’t realize till later on that that was the beginning of my anxiety.

Later on in life I didn’t see many symptoms, I was always paranoid or worried about something but i thought that was just my personality.

it wasn’t until my freshman year of highschool that it all hit me.

it came slowly. Every girl at 14 is gaining weight and losing weight, that’s the age where girls bodies change and its completely normal! But of course no one really tells little girls that…

I can remember every comment anyone made about my weight that year. I can remember their faces. The way it made me feel. Everything.

14 is when i became anorexic.

I was in an aerobics class my freshman year of high school. it was a class of about 50+ girls. One day the teacher introduced to us something she said we’d be doing once a month. She gave us a paper with an in depth chart on it. it had a spot for our weight and then spots for us to write our measurements. Then bags with pens and measuring tapes were passed around. The only other time I measured myself was for a ballet costume when I was 7.

We were shown how to measure every part of our body from our waists to our wrists, our freaking WRISTS. After we logged all of that we had to stand on the scale in front of the whole class and weigh each other. All I heard around me were young girls criticizing themselves. β€œI need to lose weight” β€œugh I’m so fat” β€œhow are you so skinny??” That was how it began.

Now i’m not here to give you the gory details of my eating disorder. im not here to romanticize starvation but i’m going to try and describe my feelings because I think that’s the most important part.

After being forced to weigh myself for a grade I became extremely self aware, i began hating my body. Panic attacks came nightly. I began hating going out with my friends but forcing myself to do so so they wouldn’t know what was up. I was starving myself and i was depressed.

After a few months of being absolutely miserable, I was given an ultimatum by friends who knew. I told my parents and they got me the help I needed. Getting the help wasn’t easy. I went to doctor after doctor.

Finally, I was put into an intensive outpatient program, where I was diagnosed with anorexia, an anxiety disorder, and major depression. I had to stop going to school and switch to an online school. I was going to online school while going 4 days a week to an all day iOP.

Here is where I begin my road to recovery.

I was ready to learn about change but not so sure if i wanted to commit to it. I was comfortable where I was. Even though I was miserable and unhappy, it felt comfortable, it was my new normal. I didn’t remember what it felt like to not feel like this. So thinking about changing how i felt seemed impossible.

This part of recovery is weird. Your family expects you to just all of a sudden want to eat or expects you to be happy. it’s the in between. You are in treatment and you think you want to get better but the symptoms are all still there, taunting you and tempting you. Doctors weigh you everyday and monitor everything you eat. They ask you a million and one questions. I felt like a case they were studying instead of treating.

There is no privacy during recovery. At the doctors they watch you eat your food. You have to sing or talk while you use the bathroom. At home you get asked a million questions all over again. You can’t sleep more than a normal amount (even though you’re exhausted from all the anxiety) or everyone is worried if you’re β€œdepression sleeping”. And forget taking any medication by yourself.

Of course all of this is because these people care about you and want you to live and be healthy, but in that moment it’s overwhelming.

After the 3 months in treatment, I was finally able to go back to regular school. Going back was hard. I had kids ask me if i moved, teachers ask if i was pregnant, all of it.

The most frustrating part was not being able to practice my disordered actions. There was no more skipping lunches at school and going home to tell my mom i had a big lunch and wasn’t really hungry for dinner. Everyone knew now. My boyfriend would sit and make sure I ate my lunch, my mom would pack my lunch and ask my boyfriend sometimes if i was being honest about eating it. There was no trust anymore.

That’s the worst part. No one you love trusts you anymore. I mean how could they? I had just spent months lying to them in every way I could think of to hide the fact that I was depressed and not eating. Everyday was an interrogation of β€œwhat did you eat?” Or β€œdid you really eat it or are you lying?”.

Eventually it got easier. The interrogations stopped, but to this day I can’t take a nap without being woken up and asked what’s wrong or if im okay.

Eventually the questions stop coming and everyone kind of lets it go. Except for you.

I told you I’m not here to tell you it goes away and everything is okay again. Mental illness doesn’t just go away. I go through periods (these periods are in the span of months) of life where I feel on top of the world, like I can do anything I want. And then I go through periods where im so down that I can’t see anything to live for and i’m just down all the time.

Once you’ve been doing okay for a while people forget that you’re still going to have symptoms of your mental illness. I still get panic attacks out of the blue or days that I cannot leave my bed and loved ones forget that this is my normal. This is something I have to deal with forever.

No I don’t have a diagnosed eating disorder anymore, but I don’t have a good relationship with food at all. Everytime I pick up a fork i feel guilt, Emotions go rushing through me. I’ve learned how to let them pass and to continue eating, but the thoughts linger with me all day.

Anytime I go to the gym I hear every negative thing anyone ever said about my body. Sometimes every meal is a struggle.

Sometimes I can’t get out of bed. Sometimes it physically hurts me to try and function that day. Sometimes i’ll get panic attacks for no reason. Sometimes I feel so anxious all i can think about is how to fix it with my old vices.

Everyday is a struggle when you’re in recovery. None of it is easy. No one tells you about how things change. No one tells you about the guilt. No one tells you that the world won’t look the same anymore.

But I can tell you its all worth it. I am alive. I am healthy. I am here to tell my story.

Sure everyday is a struggle, but everyday you learn how to handle the struggle. You learn how to fight the thoughts and feelings. It can be tiring and it can feel never ending, but the more you learn how to handle your illness and give yourself tools to handle it, the easier it gets.

Much love x

Here are some helpful websites and hotlines i’ve used in the past!

NEDA (national eating disorder association)

Lots of info on eating disorders, free screenings, how to get help, and events!

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

NAMi (national alliance on mental illness)

information on all kinds of mental illness, how to get help, info on public policy and research, and lots of personal stories.

https://www.nami.org

National suicide prevention hotline 24/7

1-800-273-8255

Crisis text line 24/7

Text HOME to 741741

mental health, Uncategorized

Self love

Self love is one of the most complex ideas I know. It sounds simple at its surface, but to really practice self love is a challange. It takes courage, it takes vulnerability, it takes time and it takes strength. Self love is (even though im here writing about it) something not even I have conquered.

Now when I speak on self love, i’m talking everything; body image, personality, EVERYTHING.

Before I step into self love, lets talk about why self love is a conscious decision and not something we just automatically feel…

Now when we were born we didnt have any idea of what beauty was or what behavior was socially acceptable, and as we grow we develop some sense of it, but not as much as we have now. The time of realization is different for everyone but I remember being around 7 or 8 and being very nit-picky about everything I wore and I was nervous about everything. Maybe it wasnt like that for you, but I think everyone can remember an age where you weirdly became conscious of what you wore and how you looked.

Picture day comes around and your parents pick out an outfit for you and do your hair, when you asked why, it was always β€œto look pretty” for picture day.

Pretty.

That word is introduced to us immediately. I mean theres nothing wrong with being pretty, but what if i’m not? Am I not pretty when I dont dress up like I do for picture day?

Next thing you know middle school rolls around and thats when shit hits the fan. Everyones bodies are changing, and no one talks about it. Everyone either smells really bad or they reek of perfume. Some people have boobs and some people don’t. Now we have to change our clothes in front of each other? So you cut your bangs, now what??

Then Highschool rolls around, and for me highschool was the worst, and most of you probably knew me then.

Highschool is where I learned how to hate myself.

Aerobics class. 6th period. Is where I learned that my weight decided my value. I feel like I might not have been the only one who was EXTREMELY uncomfortable with weighing and measuring every inch of my body with the 50+ other girls in the class.

Situations like these are why we criticize, nitpick, analyze, and judge not only ourselves but everyone else too. We are taught that beauty means value, and remaining silent and unopinionated keeps your beauty pure.

Now how does a girl learn to love herself when the people around her are constantly judging her, constantly whispering in her ear to keep her β€œgirlish” figure, to be quiet. Teaching her words like ugly, fat, worthless, slut, whore, bitch, etc. How do I learn the real definition of beauty when you call me beautiful while i’m starving myself.

β€œIf youre too opinionated, boys wont like you”

Excuse my french but, fuck that!! We are taught from childhood to change to become more attractive to the opposite sex. To be appealing to the outside world. But thats not life. My life is not appealing 100% of the time, and its exhausting to pretend it is!

Now how do we untrain these ideas that are so engrained in us? For me I ask myself, why?

When I look at myself in the mirror and start picking myself apart I ask, why am I not allowed to take space? Why can’t I be happy with what I look like? Why do I stop myself from speaking on a subject I know I know a lot about? Why do I put up with disrespect? Why do I hide my passions? Why do I keep my opinions to myself?

Self love isnt easy and it doesn’t come over night. Its a concious choice we have to make every. Single. Day. We have to train our brains to question our negative thoughts. We have to train ourselves to speak more positively about ourselves. To be selfish. To date ourselves.

To give ourselves what we know we DESERVE.

Much love x