Fair Warning: I describe my panic attack in detail. Please don’t read if this may bring you distress.
To put it simply, I felt like I was dying and losing all control. My heart seemed to have acquired a mind of its own and was beating so quickly that my chest started hurting and my entire body felt like it was vibrating. At the same time, I couldn’t even breathe properly — all I could do was inhale — which scared me even more and I started to hyperventilate.
Usually I would be ashamed to cry and scream in front of my dad, but I had no qualms in that moment. I thought my entire body had turned against me and I was convinced it would kill me right there and then on the leather futon in my living room. My dad didn’t know exactly what was happening, but he helped me nonetheless.
“Take deep breaths! In…..hold it…..out. In…..hold it…..out. In…..hold it…..out,” he instructed. A few deep breaths later, I was able to calm down. (Side Note: The timing for deep breathing is 6-7 seconds in, hold for 3-4 seconds, and exhale for 6-7 seconds.)
“I don’t think you’re relaxed, Jasminder. You’re putting stress on your body. Sit on the sofa and recline and drink some water,” my dad declared. I trust him so I did what he told me, but soon enough I began to worry about having another panic attack. What if my body turned against me again? What if I couldn’t stop it next time? These thoughts plagued me well after dark. Then, I remembered something.
Back when I first met my soul sister, I had terrible nightmares almost every night. I was afraid to sleep, so I stayed up late talking to her until I tired out. Technically I had less nightmares since I wasn’t sleeping as long, but it wasn’t healthy. At that point, I was living in a constant state of fear. I kept worrying about what would come next, so I stayed up as long as I could in a vain attempt to extend what I had. I was completely devaluing the possibility of better days and the good in my life that I did have.
Now I believe in positivity. I’ve learned to love what I have and that all things work out one way or the other in time. I’ve already gone 20 hours with no panic attacks. I know I can do more.