There's something I have wanted to talk about for the past few months but when it's something which is really personal it can be rather difficult, especially when my blog is so focused on my life as a dance graduate and community dance itself. However it's a big part of me it's something I would like to share with my blog as you could be someone who suffers from this and haven't been able to put it out there yourself.  


Anxiety can be a terrifying emotion to feel, one that feels like it can't be controlled and your oblivious that it can creep upon you at any moment of any day.  We can all experience anxiety, but on different levels without even realising that is what's actually taking place. It can be from a simple thing as 'I've got a date tomorrow' to something on a level of a job interview or waiting to go into a doctors appointment. Although anxiety does lie in all of us, it affects us all in different ways. When we're stressed or in a anxious situation our levels can be much higher and be a hell of a lot more sensitive to what it's doing to our body. To those of you who can stay calm and collected you have a much lower anxiety threshold, you lucky people. Those people who have extremely high levels of anxiety, this can in a lot of situations lead to panic attacks whether you are aware of being anxious or not. This is what I experience.

I've been aware of my panic attacks since November 2013 after a bit of a rough year, but when I think back and from conversations with doctors it's probably been happening for a lot longer without me even noticing.  It's really fine that not everybody around me "gets" what a panic attack is or what it feels like. I think that is what frustrates me the most, it doesn't take anymore than 10 minutes of your day to educate yourself about Anxiety.  I think more people don't understand than do, which is sad really but even some of those closest to me struggle to understand how exactly it affects me, of my life and some of the decisions that I choose to make on a daily basis. 



A lot of the explanations of anxiety and panic attacks will be taken from the charity Mind website.




What exactly is a panic attack and what happens? 



'A panic attack is an exaggeration of the body’s normal response to fear, stress or excitement. It is the rapid build-up of overwhelming sensations, such as a pounding heartbeat, feeling faint, sweating, nausea, chest pains, breathing discomfort, feelings of losing control, shaky limbs and legs turning to jelly. If you experience this, you may fear that you are going mad, blacking out, or having a heart attack. You may be convinced you are going to die in the course of the attack – making this a terrifying experience.

Panic attacks come on very quickly, symptoms usually peaking within 10 minutes. Most panic attacks last for between 5 and 20 minutes. Some people report attacks lasting for up to an hour, but they are likely to be experiencing one attack after another, or a high level of anxiety after the initial attack. You may have one or two panic attacks and never  experience another. Or you may have attacks once a month or several  times each week. For some people they seem to come without warning and strike at random' sourced from Mind Charity, Anxiety and Panic Attacks.

What are the effects of having a panic attack? 
The effects can be physical both short-term (increased muscular tension leading to discomfort and headaches, rising blood pressure making me aware of my pounding heart) and long -term (affecting my sleep pattern and my immune system), affecting me psychologically when I am unable to relax and concentrate on the most 'normalistic' things of a 23 year old. It affects me the most in work, leisure and relationships and is probably the most frustrating. It's made me had to make a lot of tough decisions not to do certain things and miss out on socialising or working, especially when they're things that i realllllyyyyy want to be involved in. When i'm 23 you can't begin to understand how much I wish I could knock down the wall that anxiety builds for me.

My first major panic attack which made me realise something was seriously not right anymore was back in December 2013 (I think). I had gone to visit my best friend in Birmingham before Christmas and we went to the Cafe Rouge outside Birmingham Hippodrome for some lunch after christmas shopping. I wasn't drunk (I had half a glass of wine) and I just remember feeling increasingly on edge and like I was either going to faint or throw up. I felt really trapped in a restaurant which meant not finishing my lunch, asking my best friend to pay for our lunch and take me back to her house so that I could calm down whilst I waited for my Dad to travel to Birmingham to pick me up. Thankfully Katie is a really calm individual and has always supported me if I have ever felt anxious when we're out together. Since that day going to restaurants have been my biggest challenge, it has got easier and I have successfully got through various nights out without a single anxiety attack (they do have a slight niggle in my head though when i'm out!) 
It affected A LOT of my final year at university, it stopped me going out as much as I would have liked to and staying out as late as I would have liked to at my age.  Some nights I could have a few to drink and enjoy myself without a niggle and other nights I would have two drinks and want to reach for the nearest exit. It would affect me when I was dancing with my eyes closed in my movement classes so I barely showed up to class. Luckily I had some really great friends who if I felt the slight bit anxious would get me out of the club and back home to bed. Or they would sit with me whilst I had an anxiety attack to calm me down. When I was first diagnosed in January, it confided me a lot to my bedroom and watching a lot of TV. It wasn't half of the person I used to  be and I knew I had to do something about it.
For me, this happens anywhere and I shall list those below for you so you can get an idea of where they can creep up...
  • In bed at night
  • In a supermarket
  • Standing in a queue ANYWHERE
  • Public transport (whether that's busy or quiet)
  • In a pub
  • In a club
  • In a restaurant 
  • In a meeting
  • In a office I worked at for my final year of university for 12 months
  • Before leading a dance class
  • At a friends house
  • In university
It has got easier  since I came home from university, Coventry sometimes made me feel on edge a lot and held a lot of reference for my attacks. I've had days where I've had a bad one and had to cancel my plans in fear of just not wanting to put myself in that situation. I think it's hard for people to understand that I DO NOT WANT TO FEEL THIS WAY. I don't want to wake up in the mornings and be shadowed by fear of what the day holds and getting myself in a horrible situation. I cannot control when it happens, I can just try and control it when it does creep on me. When I have gone through a anxiety attack I feel so upset and drained, but most of that is pure anger. I'm always so angry of not knowing when it's going to come and how it can really dictate what I get up to on a daily basis. Luckily mine feels a lot more mild now. 

What helps me when I am having an anxiety attack? 

When i'm having an actual panic attack a lot of the time I will go outside and have a walk or stick on my favourite music and have a little dance. Doing a bit of exercise also helps me control the adrenaline flying around my body Slow, deep breathing (which sometimes can be the most difficult part to get under control).  I also have a playlist on my phone for those times i'm on public transport or feel anxious and i am out somewhere, they're my favourite songs and calming ones too!

In terms of the long term treatment that I am undertaking, it was only in January that I approached a doctor about these attacks as I was pretty certain I could handle them myself. But I was unaware of what they were and why I was experiencing them. I had them talk me through what anxiety was and the different avenues I could undertake, medication or therapy. I took the medication home but decided on not to take it as I didn't want it to become a thing I became reliant on. I haven't done therapy CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) which retrains the brain. It is something I have said I would like to seek in the near future as my attacks do stop me doing important things and I do want to read more self-help books as I have heard of great ones are out there. I take the herbal tablet, Kalms which I take whenever I feel a bit on edge and happen to take off the anxiety a little. 

Some things do work better for some than others so I am no expert, go with what you feel is best for you. 

I really hope that this blog has managed to cover a little insight for you into the world of 'anxiety' and explain a little about it in context and personally. I really hope this read has interested you somehow.



There's a few links below to some great sites and particular links to Zoella who also has spoken about anxiety and has inspired me to talk about it. You'll also find a lot of bloggers discussing this and they're just as brave as mine so go and show some love! 

Feel free to contact me to talk. 

thanks for reading,