Hello everyone, I’m Melissa but everyone calls me Meli 🙂 I started this blog after going through severe anxiety and looking into different techniques to start living a more mindful and present life. Writing and research helped me understand what was going on with me along with organizing my thoughts on all I had learned. I want to share some of the tools I have used through my journey for anyone who it might help or would like to understand what a loved one might be going through.
First I would like to share the toughest part of my life that led me down this path I am very lucky to be in. I have always been very goal oriented, living day by day based on my “to do” list and being harsh on myself for not meeting my perfectionist mindset. I could be sad but with a smile on my face because that was my mask and would rarely say no to anyone who would ask for anything of me. Once I sought out therapy to deal with childhood phobias I started learning so much more about myself that I did not even realize would help me have a more fulfilling life. In the process I learned that I never set boundaries for anyone and that was leading me to be taken for granted and walked all over (by myself included).
My breaking point was in 2015 when a number of things piled up and drowned me in a sea of emotions that I could no longer hide behind. I started noticing people around me made me feel overwhelmed and trapped. My first thoughts entering a room were what my exit strategy would be.
The first panic attack I had was at a live concert with my closest friends. What seemed like out of nowhere I was short of breath and went to the restroom to pull myself together. The rest of the night I kept wanting to go home but thinking I had to wait until the end of the night (since we carpooled) and I didn’t want to ruin anyone’s fun. It escalated from there where even driving to work would be an emotional breakdown. I felt a tingly sensation running through my hands and feet felt cold. I would be visibly shaking walking from my car to the entrance. I have always had extreme nerves when faced with phobias but this was far worse that I was convinced I had a physical illness. I kept going to the doctor who would just say it was stress but I refused to take anxiety medications.
One evening I ended up at the ER after a new therapist who didn’t know me recommended it. At this point I was already full blown agoraphobic after daily panic attacks that just being in the waiting room made my skin crawl. I was physically healthy and after an uncontrollable panic attack was given an anti anxiety medication. The results were instant and that is how months after my initial attack I realized I might need the medication to move forward. (This was just me, everyone is different.)
That ER visit made me feel worse afterwards that I couldn’t even leave my room and depressed at how I could let stress get me to this point. I felt defeated. I couldn’t physically talk to anyone for fear of having another episode. I wouldn’t drive, would sleep for maybe 3 hours and wake up with my heart racing out of my chest as if I had been startled. It took me another few months before I found a psychiatrist who would come to my house to treat me.
He gave me prescriptions to give me a push in dealing with this disorder but the main recovery was all up to me. Exposure! Little by little pushing myself to not let fear get the best of me. It was a long road but I did it and about a year later I am now off all medication and back to hanging out with my close friends while valuing life and myself more. Learning to set my boundaries and not feeling guilty about it.
After all the research I did on what exactly a panic attack is, how to disarm it, healthy ways to calm myself (without medication) and a number of other tools and books I found along the way I decided I wanted to share my story and my coping mechanisms to anyone who it might help.