Nothing can prepare you for an anxiety attack. I have suffered with them on very rare occasions for many years, but in more recent times they have sadly become much more frequent.
I was due to travel to London recently & managed 2 stops on the tram before hysterically crying & gasping for breath, hence carrying off the wet dog look incredibly well. I had to get off. It was the first time in a long time I had panicked in public & once it passed I went home. I felt scared, embarrassed & even more anxious than before.
In that moment, you can’t breathe, you can’t think clearly or rationally, it’s hard to focus & for me, perspiring is the worst! Due to being in early menopause anyway (another story), the hot flushes at 35 are bad enough, but during an anxiety attack you are so self conscious. Then a huge river opens up across your forehead (as the racing heart, breathlessness & dizziness isn’t enough to deal with). This adds to your panic as it’s now like you have a spot light shining down on you, because you literally are shining! And not even in a glowing positively way either! I can often suffer some of my anxiety symptoms without a full on panic attack so I decided to prepare myself a little kit, survival is too strong a word, but I’ve settled on my distraction kit.
So after researching some articles & advice from friends, I’ve started my own mini kit, I’m sure it will grow with me over time. It’s something to reach out in that moment, because the age old paper bag is: a) rarely ever there when needed & b) is not as useful as you might imagine.
Inhaler – for me it’s essential. I do have asthma which is strongly linked with anxiety (odd that!) I’ve travelled miles back home when I’ve forgotten this as the thought of forgetting it can cause me to panic
Anxiety medication & paracetamol – Once again it can make me anxious just thinking I have forgotten it, even though I can often go months without needing it. I can get headaches during & after anxiety symptoms so water & keeping hydrated is always good too
Portable fan – This was a gift from my sister Rachael & I used it for the 1st time on a busy train a few weeks ago. It probably did little other than to focus my attention on something for a few minutes! But it was worth it
Deodorant – It just makes sense if you sweat more, carry deodorant. For me it’s a shame you can’t get a face deodorant (if there’s one out there, please share)
Cooling mist – It’s my must have item as it genuinely has a cooling & freshening effect, but it’s also the physical “doing” something that helps me to
Wet wipes – This just helps me to freshen up if needed as the aftermath of being anxious can make you even more self conscious
Tissues – These I’ve carried since being a mum (never seem to actually have them when the child steps in dog dirt or is sneezing out of control), but they come in use for the inevitable tears & drying the sweating brow. Both of which usually accompany one another
Lipstick – I always feel better once I’ve applied lipstick
My diary – Sometimes it helps for checking on both the home & work life, but as my brain gets “cloudy”, I find it useful to write reminders in. One of my biggest triggers is having too much in my brain & needing to get it all out far too quickly, so writing it down can help. Don’t forget the pen though!
Make up is another factor I’m yet to challenge so open to ideas on foundations & primers that help keep a sweaty face a pretty face! I’ll try & blog about that again once I’ve found some that helps in this scenario!