A panic attack was starting to kick in right when I was ‘public speaking’!

I was doing a presentation of a new product today at work. A few years ago I heard a phrase from Dr Claire Weekes that was life changing for me and I used it today and I wanted to share it with you guys:

I was speaking and demonstrating to about 10 people. And felt anxiety kicking in… not the pre-public speaking normal anxiety, it was that anxiety that makes your vision go blurry and you feel dizzy and it tightens your throat. That anxiety that makes you feel like your legs are wobbly and you’re going to faint, the anxiety symptoms that trigger a panic attack. And there I was in front of 10 people feeling all of that WHILE talking and explaining a whole new technical product. In 5 seconds a huge amount of things went through my mind: that I would faint in front of everyone, that I would have a brain fog and forget everything, that I wouldn’t be able to speak and my brain started to feel a bit confused and there I was – A panic attack was starting to kick in! Then I that phrase from Claire Weeks came back to my mind “a panic attack it’s just an ‘electric wave’ travelling through your nerves, don’t let an electric wave ruin your life”. Suddenly my brain switched from having that horrible fear from observing that it actually felt like if an electric wave was travelling through my body. And I just let it flow, I don’t need to panic, it’s just a wave pulsing through my over-sensitive nervous system. I decided that if my body wanted to feel dizzy “I’d let it be, I’d keep talking”… if my legs wanted to shake, I’d let it shake! I was going to keep talking!

All of that reasoning happened in a space of a minute or less.

I kept speaking and accepting all my bodily sensations and I thought to myself: “yeah body, you deal with it, my mind is busy now, I won’t let an electric wave ruin this important moment”.

I kept talking while observing that wave going through my body and suddenly all those panic thoughts went away! When I realised I was in the end of the presentation answering questions and totally forgot that just a few minutes ago I was starting to have a panic attack and I had just overcome it! I felt strong! I felt like giving myself a hug in celebration! Today, I won!

And this picture below I took last week on a real human body exposition I went to (Body Vitals).

This is what the nervous system looks like. I thought the visual could be useful for a better understanding of what your nervous system looks like, and anxiety/panic attacks are nothing more than an over-sensitive nervous system that is always looking for any different bodily sensations to put you in a state of panic. Every person experiences weird bodily sensations once in a while. The difference is that they don’t have an over-sensitive nervous system, so that doesn’t trigger anxiety/panic attacks for them. For us (people who deal with anxiety), if we learn to let the waves go through and accept the bodily sensations, we can desensitise the nervous system back to a normal level over time. Its a journey that needs practice, and we sure have setbacks, but anxiety is not bigger than us and doesn’t have to control our lives. I’ve learnt that acceptance and observation and confrontation are the key.

Another day, another lion.

Hugs everyone

It was like if my soul couldn’t react

Have you ever felt like the whole strength you have can only guarantee you keep breathing to stay alive and survive another day?.

You wake up in the morning and the first thing you feel is the heaviness in your chest, you open your eyes and realize it’s another day you have to face (and this if you actually had any sleep at all last night). That heaviness on your chest is like a heavy stone that stays there all day, compressing your soul and making you feel like there is a knot in your throat. You don’t want to get out of bed. You feel so wearied out because you’ve been carrying that stone on your chest for a such a long time. That heaviness never goes away and grows bigger, it’s almost suffocating. You see life happening around you and it’s like you can only watch it pass by, it’s like if your soul can’t react, you feel helpless because years can go by this way and you don’t have strength to get out of that place. All you wanted was to be able to grab that stone and throw it away, as far away as you could. You don’t remember what it feels like to be light and easy.

I have been there. That was my every day for about two years and it felt like it would never go away. Felt like this would be “me” for the rest of my life and it made me not want to live anymore. You lose all hope, all enjoyment of life, and even when you try getting out and doing something you used to love, it’s almost like you are frozen inside, you can not feel that thrill and excitement and this is the weirdest sensation! I would never think about taking my own life, because of my beliefs, that was never an option for me. But when I was in that place, it was like if for that moment in time I was given the opportunity to enter the dark room from where people who commit suicide jump. It’s like a really really dark room on the edge of a very very high cliff and it feels like there is no where else to go. I had the chance to understand what they feel and why they do it, you just don’t want to live anymore, your brain is so tired of the prolonged suffering that it doesn’t want to even think that there is a way out, because it feels so complicated and impossible that you will be able to live a normal life again, you dread the idea of living another year like this, you dread a lifetime living like this. And the funniest thing is that people who live around you have no clue of what goes inside.

I felt compassion and sadness for the lives that could not turn and walk away from that dark room. And if you are in that dark room right now, I need to tell you, don’t jump. There is way out and you can do it. There is so much to live for! I know you can not see it yet because the chemicals in a depressed mind just make you blind to that. But the way out is still there, even when you can’t see it. And the journey out is not an easy or a quick one. It’s a long process, but SO worth it. And no one else in this world is more worth to fight for but yourself. Doesn’t matter if your depression was generated because of what others did to you. If someone didn’t love you and made your life hell. You can love yourself, and you can work to get out of there, step by step, and if it doesn’t come naturally, it is something you can learn. You can learn to love yourself.

I would like to encourage you to go and find a professional Counselor therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist. If you don’t have the strength to look for one, pleas ask a friend you trust to find one for you. There is sunshine out there waiting for you, there is a cold breeze in a hot day waiting to blow on your face making you feel alive and able to get excited again! There are smiles and laughter waiting for you. The journey to get there is not easy! It’s the hardest! But if you are still here, know one thing: you are strong and you can do it. I am still in my journey and I am still struggling to believe I am strong, and it’s like a roller coaster, big highs and big lows, but its moving and we will get there!

We walk through it and we will get there. There is no other way out but through. And we can do it.

Hello world!

Hi there look who’s back!  Maybe for you reading it now it doesn’t make sense (who’s this person?), but for me, the one behind the screen at 00:42 (because I’m sleepless right now) it does. I used to write a blog for years,  of course I am not giving it away now because I wrote some embarrassing things my younger silly self used to think. haha The funny thing is that I used to think I was so wise (she stops and clears her throat). Well I guess I did have some understanding of life, have always been ahead of my age (which I still haven’t figured if it’s a good or a bad thing), then moved to journaling, and now after a very inspiring trip to Queenstown I decided to get back writing a personal blog. I’m not going to lie, the main motivator is that I really like the sensation that in 10 years time I’ll be able to look back through these posts and remember and even revive some of the things and thoughts I’ll share. And who know remind myself of things I believe but forgot! the idea sounds very exciting to me!

Just so you know a little bit of myself, I am from Brazil, Brasilia, but I live in New Zealand. It has been about 5 years since I moved here and boy do I have stories to tell…

Well I will share a lot of them, I believe sharing experiences and thoughts and feelings you had when going through life helps. Helps to grow and develop, helps to express and leave behind things that need to be left. helps to look through a different angle, helps to get back excitement to move forward. I believe writting and sharing can heal and inspire. So here I am, trying to dive right back to it. I hope my journey can be somehow interesting, fun, and helpful to people who come here and use some of their time on me!

See you soon!

with care,

Jaq

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