How to Help: Panic/Anxiety Attacks

Every word feels like it weighs a thousand pounds. Every decision feels like it is life-threatening. Every move feels like it is the most important thing in the world. The world feels too bright and the light hurts my head. Everything is spinning. I cannot breathe. I cannot think.
I get anxiety and panic attacks a lot. Lately, it has been daily. It’s been hindering my writing, hence the lack of posts in the past month. Thank god for my dog, who always seems to know what’s going on, and cuddles me even though I can’t stop hyperventilating. When I’m able to clear my head, I realize what I must look like from the outside, and how hard it must be for the people who love me to see me like this. I’m writing this for anybody who loves someone who suffers extreme anxiety attacks, and for those of you who suffer attacks like I do, I would suggest creating something similar to show your loved ones.
A few simple steps to help somebody having an attack:
1. Listen to them. If they tell you to stop talking, do. If they tell you to leave them alone, do. Don’t completely abandon them and walk away, but take a step back and be there to listen.
2. Get them water I know it’s something very simple, but it helps a lot. Especially if they are dry heaving or hyperventilating. They need water. It can help calm them down.
3. Remember, this is NOT who they are The person they become when they are having an attack is not who they truly are.
4. Do NOT downsize their problems While the situation at hand may appear easily fixed from your point of view, to them, it’s the scariest thing in the world. Do not downsize or try to fix their problems. Listen to them. If they want to think of a solution, you can help, but do not try to fix everything yourself because you do not see the problem the same way they do.
5. Be there Honestly, that’s the best you can do. Sit with them through it. They will appreciate you so much for it.

Hope this helps somebody. Will try to write more these coming weeks. xoxo

On Self-Empowerment

I figured today I would post about something marginally more up-lifting: self-empowerment.
Growing up, self-empowerment was almost a foreign concept to me. I had always told myself that my feelings of empowerment comes from other people – I wouldn’t feel good about my outfit until somebody told me my shirt was cute, I would be convinced my new haircut was ugly until somebody told me it looked nice, and I would think my grades weren’t good enough until my teacher told me I was smart. It was a cycle: a cycle that became extremely harmful and gave other people the upper-hand on my happiness.
The feeling of empowerment that derives from compliments and kindnesses that others do unto you is totally normal and beneficial. However, there comes a point when one can rely too much on others to bring you up, so much that it brings you down.
To be completely honest, it wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I really began to learn how to empower myself. I am still teaching myself. The first step is to recognize that the only person you need approval from is yourself. Okay, and maybe your parents too if you’re under 18, but that’s besides the point. The second step is to recognize that you are the only person in the world that can make you happy. That statement can be kind of frightening, but you have to look at it positively. Yes, other people can make you feel happy, but you yourself are the one that can make you BE happy.
It’s hard, but it feels so incredibly wonderful to free yourself from that dependency on other people. I’m still working on it. It’s a slow process. But freeing yourself from one negative person at a time feels so good.
My task for you is to find one thing that you can wear, do, see, listen to, say, or sing a day that makes you feel empowered. Maybe your favorite song, your favorite dance, an awesome work-out. For me, it’s wearing red. Sometimes it’s my favorite red flannel, other times bright red leggings, other times something small, like a red bracelet or my red-painted nails. Red is such an empowering color for me and when I wear it, I feel bold. So join me in wearing red, or another color that makes you feel empowered. You are bold, and you deserve to feel that way.

Shout about Suicide

As many of you have probably gathered from the title, this post isn’t going to be particularly light-hearted. Which I know is a bit of a bold move considering this is my first post, but I hope that it can draw in attention. This is a topic that needs to be addressed.

Suicide is tabooed. It’s one of those things that people just don’t talk about. Yet, suicide is the #10 cause of death in the United States. I actually find myself cringing typing this because I can’t believe that, even after losing so many valuable people to suicide, NOBODY TALKS ABOUT IT.

So that’s why I figured, why not start something? Why not…shout about it?

To start things off, I want to establish something. I do not believe that suicide is entirely a choice. Depression attaches itself to people and eats away at their lives. Suicide does not necessarily mean that the person wanted to die, but it means that they could no longer live the way they were, with depression or anxiety or sadness or oppression ripping them to pieces day after day. And so, the next person that says “it’s their fault, they decided to kill themselves” will get virtually slapped by me because you sir/ma’am, are completely incorrect.

I do not think that the matter of suicide can be fixed. Mental illness is inevitable. And many people understand this too: since mental illnesses are often hard to diagnose or let alone see in people, the ultimate decision that humanity has come to, from my experience, is to…ignore it. Now, how is that going to help anything? We need to talk about it.

I can say this from personal experience: when a person is having suicidal thoughts, yet feels as though they can’t talk to anybody about it without being threatened to be shipped off to a mental hospital, it gets pretty damn scary. Although suicide should NEVER be taken lightly, it should not be such a scary topic that we avoid it at all costs. The first step is to take down the stereotype of mental illness and make not just the counselors office but instead all of your surroundings a safe place to talk about suicide. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, tell someone. And if somebody tells you they’re having suicidal thoughts, don’t freak out on them, just listen. Let them know it’s okay.

I want to start a movement. A movement that sweeps the nation, which is probably going to be hard, considering I’m a quiet girl from Seattle spending time on her blog instead of doing her schoolwork (college life…). Shout about Suicide. It has a nice ring to it. People need to spread the word, people need to make it okay to have conversations about suicide because way too many lives have been lost due to people becoming so afraid and so isolated by what they are feeling. Talk about it, shout about it, hell, you can even whisper about it. I just need to make the world so that one day I can live in a place where the topic of suicide doesn’t make the entire room fall silent and bite their nails.