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On Monday I had a panic attack. Here’s what I learned:
- Panic attacks are scary. It wasn’t the first panic attack I’ve ever had. But it was the first since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the first in a very long time. As with most panic attacks it came on suddenly without warning, completely catching me off guard. If I didn’t have the history that I have, the strategies, the prior knowledge the experience would have rattled me and perhaps led me to believe something tragic was happening. It is easy to take the trembling, the sudden sweating, the racing heart beat, and lightheadedness, the breathlessness as something else, something critical. Thinking back to the moment, I can’t help but think of all the other people in the world who have perhaps experienced a panic attack during this time for the first time. Those without prior knowledge. The people without strategies. Those who are scared, unemployed, those who are battling the ravages of the illness. Essential workers headed into jobs that are providing little support or inadequate support. My heart is with you. Panic attacks are not normal, but under the circumstances feeling panic is normal. If the feeling overcomes you, center yourself. Be still. Take deep breaths. Get fresh air if you can. It may not feel like it in the moment but the panic will subside and you will get through to the other-side.
- I’ve come a long way. Many moons ago, panic attacks were frequent and exhausting. I lacked strategies to regain control. I languished in feeling of guilt, grief, despair. An attack would set me back several days. Yesterday, I was able to quickly recognize what was happening and take immediate steps to calm my body. I acknowledged the feelings but didn’t wallow in them. I stepped outside. I took deep breaths. I centered my energy. These actions coupled with a few others allowed me space to not let the panic overtake me. I laid out a plan, took action, and regained control. Taking it as a metaphor for living through this unprecedented pandemic, it reinforced that I cannot control everything around me but I can control my response. I can control my reaction and my response. You can to.
We are all coping and living through a situation where we lack little control. The images, messages, news can be overwhelming and all-consuming. Remember to be extra kind to yourself, do your best and forgive the rest. By working together we will get through to the otherside of this challenging time. Sending you love and light.
Calvin | Founding Director
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One thought on “A Wednesday Word From The Director | Don’t Panic.”
Thank you for your honest and courageous sharing. I hope you never have another. But if you do, it sounds like you’ve got this!