I experienced my first attack 10 years ago, a few days after my dad left us for another woman.
A few months later, I was diagnosed with mixed anxiety-depressive disorder.
I have never confirmed if the trauma of my dad leaving is the trigger for my panic attacks, but I do know that I have a certain amount of anger and distrust on people who remind me of my dad.
When I was experiencing a bad streak of attacks late last year, I started blaming people who, in my perspective, had no clue how it feels.
I started yelling at my boyfriend for not taking care of me well.
Yelling at him just made things worse and my attacks started to evolve from terrible nausea to uncontrollable chilling.
I did not want to be unfair to my boyfriend, so I finally collected enough courage to sit down with him for a mature talk.
After talking to my boyfriend, I realized that he knows me more than I know myself.
My whole distrust about my boyfriend not knowing a single thing about people like me is just me being – as usual – paranoid and scared.
I found out that he makes time to learn the science behind my anxiety and has been studying about it for the past five years.
After explaining in complete detail how much he knows about anxiety and depression, he started telling me the things he learned about being in a relationship with a person who suffers from panic attacks.
Acknowledge that you will never understand how she feels, so do not try to fix her. She was not broken anyway.
Never ask “are you okay?”
Just tell her where you’ll be if she needs you then actually leave.
That was when it hit me. It is not that he does not know how to handle me.
It was that I can not merge the feeling of needing to be alone during panic attacks, and not wanting to be left alone because of my depression trigger – my trauma with my dad.
That night, I learned two things about people who go through anxiety and who are familiar with panic attacks:
I am not broken. Sometimes, I just really don’t know myself that much yet, so I get confused with my own feelings.
If someone takes the initiative to understand your situation the best way he can, be grateful.
Featured image via Farhad Sadyakov/Flickr Creative Commons
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