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Katina’s Story About Panic Attacks 

 May 29, 2019

By  Deborah Lee Smith

Katina’s Story About Panic Attacks

Throughout the years I remember feeling anxious at times, which would come and go, but I never equated it to anything more than “That was a weird feeling”.  And I never spoke about it because I didn’t really understand what it was.  Then, in the middle of last year, I had my first large panic attack.

My husband and I were driving home from a camping trip and we were on the freeway.  All of a sudden I felt like I couldn’t breath.  I couldn’t swallow, I thought my throat was closing, I was sweating, my heart was racing, I was feeling claustrophobic and I needed to get out of the car immediately!  He took an exit and pulled into a Target parking lot.

I remember seeing all the people in a blur and feeling like it was all sensory overload.  I paced back and forth in the lot, trying to catch my breath, and I couldn’t do it.  I was shaking almost uncontrollably.  We sat together outside and I just took deep breaths in and out.  After a half hour we got back in the car and my body was exhausted.  Not only was I embarrassed about how dramatic and weird that was, but I was also terrified of when it was going to happen again and why.

Since then I have had small ones here and there in my daily life.  And four major ones similar to that experience.  Just like the internet describes, mine are caused by a feeling of danger or as morbid as it sounds, my fear of death and dying.

For example, in the case of the drive with my husband, some of those mountain roads were pretty scary and my mind instantly went to a dark place and my body reacted. But it can be anything.  Honestly, sometimes it just depends on the day.  I want to say I can figure out how to stop them from coming, but I am not sure I know how.  It’s still all very new to me, and quite scary.  I hate not having control over my body and all of a sudden feeling so detached from it.

Ninety percent of the time I have to remind myself it’s mind over matter.  But even though I know my mind is playing tricks on me, sometimes it’s not enough.  Then I turn to a CBD pen called “Calm” that works pretty well.  It regulates the doses which is perfect.  It has barely any THC which is great because I am uber sensitive.  I also meditate every morning with the INSIGHT TIMER app I downloaded on my phone.  They have mediations for every state of mind on it.  I bring earphones with me so I can access it when necessary.  I also carry certain oils such as Calming to add to my pressure points when I can feel myself getting anxious.  I sniff Rosemary oil which is to be used for re-centering and grounding one’s self before shifting into the next part of your day.  And lastly I carry a couple of different stones depending on the day just for extra energy support.

I know it all sounds like a lot but I will do whatever it takes to not feel that horrible way.  And most importantly, any time my levels are off, I know I am going to experience a panic attack.  If I haven’t eaten right, drank enough water, or drank too much the night before for whatever reason, it throws my body so out of whack that it has no choice but to react crazily.  All I can do is allow myself to always feel what it’s feeling, be honest with myself, never ignore my needs, and find the root of what’s causing it.  I am not crazy or alone, and neither are you.  Let’s support mental health! And look at other solutions besides medication.

 

Shared Originally on Instagram: Post by Katina Nikou

Deborah Lee Smith

Hi there! I'm an actor, producer, and writer who is devoted to storytelling and mental health awareness. After struggling through my own mental health, I found that non-traditional resources, like the ones we explore on More Than You See, helped me immensely get through my dark times. Thus, this website and podcast were born! I look forward to helping you gain agency over your mental health journey as you build your own toolkit of resources, tips, and ideas. Because you never know what might help pull you out of the darkness, and we are all More Than You See.   


Deborah Lee Smith

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