Anxiety and panic are two of the worst emotions a person can feel, mainly because they cannot be controlled and can spring up on you at any given time. Everyone has experienced anxiety at some point or another in life. Whether it be right before you’re about to take an important exam, starting a new job or going on a first date - we’ve all felt that clammy hands, shaky knees, butterflies in tummy feeling! 

However, for a handful of people this anxiety is heightened, which in turn, can lead to panic attacks.

I started to suffer from panic attacks shortly after the whole ordeal of being sick in front of the lunch hall when I was 9, which lead to emetophobia and all sorts of other life dilemmas which, if you haven’t already, can read about here. I’d like to also pause for a second and mention it is very rare for me to have a full blown panic attack these days, they only ever occur when I have to visit a hospital, am involved in any situation regarding vomit or in an extremely stressful environment. I do however still have to cope with my anxiety regularly. 

Okay...back to it!

So, what is a panic attack? A panic attack is an experience of sudden and intense anxiety. The symptoms of a panic attack normally peak within 10 minutes and most attacks will last between five minutes and half an hour. During this time, your body also releases hormones, such as adrenaline, causing your heart to beat faster and your muscles to tense up. When adrenalin floods your body, it can cause a number of different physical and emotional sensations that often affect you during an attack:

These may include:

very rapid breathing or feeling unable to breathe
rapid heartbeat
pains in your chest
feeling faint or dizzy
ringing in your ears
tingling or numbness in your hands and feet
hot or cold flushes
feeling nauseous
wanting to go to the toilet
feelings of absolute terror
feeling smothered or claustrophobic

At my worst, I remember having panic attacks every lunch time that would last from when the lunch bell rang, through to when the lunch bell rang again...45 minutes later! My only way of dealing with it was throwing all of my lunch away and going outside to sit in a corner by myself until I had calmed down, and the worry of food and being sick had passed. I also remember having attacks frequently before school, trying to use them as a way to get mum to let me stay off sick (it rarely worked!) because I was so terrified of having to go back to the place my brain had programmed itself into thinking was a dangerous situation. The panic attacks began to ease, and eventually stop altogether after receiving countless sessions of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and luckily, when they came back in 2010/11 due to my second bout of eating troubles, I was armed with techniques to fight them off, or make the length of the attack shorter.

So, what can you do when someone around you is having a panic attack? 

Personally, I think the worst things someone could say to me when having a panic attack would be to “calm down”, “relax”, “don’t be silly” or patronising phrases such as “come on, pull yourself together”, because that just makes me feel about 2 feet tall! When i’m in the middle of an attack and i’m with someone, I usually need them to stay as quiet as possible. I can’t deal with someone talking at me or asking questions when I can barely gather the thoughts in my head, let alone have a conversation with someone. Also, avoid trying to take the persons mind off of the panic. I know this sounds odd, and it seems like the most logical thing to do, but to the person experiencing the attack, it only highlights the fact they are panicking, plus most of the energy you need for talking is being used elsewhere by your body. What makes me feel better, is just knowing that someone is there for me and can help if I need anything.

So whats the point in writing this? Why now?

Well, this week I suffered from one of the worst panic attacks i’ve had in a long time (brought on by stress apparently), so bad that I had to take a secret trip home back to my parents house as the anxiety of being in my flat whilst trying to cope with all this stress alone was too much for me to handle. [It has since occurred to me that I rarely speak about this aspect of my life, let alone tell anybody, so I thought since I had been so honest with my “Sick, Starved and Scared” post, I might as well do it again!]

I’m the type of person that can never be upset or stressed about one thing, it builds and builds and builds until I have a million different worries on my mind and eventually I can’t cope anymore and either shut off or break down. This week, uni stress, coupled with the usual superficial hardships of being a teenage girl, threw me over the edge. Because of what I have gone through previously in life, I think it’s much easier for me to get wrapped up in things which I shouldn’t really care about anyway. I mean whose business is it what anybody else thinks of who you are and the way you look? Right?

That aside, after having my mini meltdown last Thursday night, I felt so angry and stupid and it took me right back to that place I hate so much of feeling “not normal”. I mean, tonnes of girls are going through the same things as me right now. Everyone on my course at uni is having to do the same amount of work as me and organise 3rd year placements yada yada yada, so why am I the one who has to take everything a step too far and start having panic attacks?! 

 The point is, I wanted to share a few tips that help me calm down when I feel anxious and that help me get through down days (or in my case, “down weeks!”) because it might just help someone else out there!
  1. Take an hour out of your day and do something for yourself, whether its having a relaxing bath, watching your favourite movie or spending time with friends. Even if you are super super busy, taking a small amount of time each day to look after yourself will really help you deal with the issues you are facing.
  2. STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA. If i’m having a shit day, the last thing I want to do is go on Twitter or Instagram and see how happy everyone else is with their lives or how amazing things are going for them, or hundreds of selfies of beautiful girls getting ready to do something fun while you’re sitting around moping and feeling like crap! Find another way to amuse yourself: read a book, listen to music, get my idea.
  3. That being said - girls, DONT COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHER GIRLS! Everyone is guilty of this and I definitely need to take this advice more often. I know its hard but it only makes yourself feel 10 times worse. The moment you start comparing yourself to others is the moment you loose confidence in yourself. Instead, when i’m feeling a bit insecure, I give myself a makeover, take a selfie, double filter it on instagram until i’m looking shit hot and social media worthy, and then post it for the world to see. And if your not that confident, do something else to boost your happiness levels: pamper yourself, do your nails, put on some amazing smelling moisturiser...I promise you, it will make you feel better.
  4. Make lists! I always feel 100% better when I see a list of things I need to achieve by a certain date. It helps me plan out what I need to do for when and makes me feel like my life is a lot more organised. 
  5. Lastly, listening to music helps me heaps! I felt like Beyonce was my saviour this week when her secret album dropped the day after I had my panic attack. I bought it immediately and haven’t stopped listening to it this whole weekend! Its amazing how listening to music can really lift your spirits and help you forget about some of your worries.

So thats about it from me. I understand this post was extremely scatty and talks about a million different things, but hopefully it has helped at least someone out there! Perhaps i'll do another post sometime detailing exactly how I deal with the anxiety I face now? I don't know, we'll see.

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a fabulous festive season and I’ll be back to posting my regular girly, makeupy, fashiony, christmassy posts next week!


♡Christmas Peppermint Hot Chocolate Recipe♡

One of my favourite things about the Christmas season is when Starbucks and Costa release their holiday menu. Their festive themed drinks are so creative and always taste so divine. My favourite this season has to be Costa's Black Forest hot chocolate - it legit tastes like a gâteau in a mug...delicious!

Saying that, one of my all time favourite festive drinks has to be Starbucks's peppermint hot chocolate - I love it so much that I decided to try and recreate the recipe at home. And it worked so well that I just had to share it with you guys too!

The pictures above pretty much explain the steps you take to make the drink, however I will mention that whisking the milk into the after eight paste until it becomes totally smooth does take a while! Also make sure the heat on your hob isn't too high as the chocolate will end up burning and your drink will be ruined!

Let me know how you get on if you try this recipe and if you enjoy it!

Happy december!

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