Living and Coping With Anxiety & Panic Attacks - Brittany Comeaux
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Living and Coping With Anxiety & Panic Attacks

12:49:00 PM

how to live and cope with panic attacks anxiety disorder


Right now, My life is pretty easy. I have a very loving husband whom I get along with very well. I have two kids that are healthy, cute and usually mild mannered. Thanks to Jamy's job I'm free to work in a low stress environment that I enjoy and take summers off. I drive a decent car. I can afford to go to the doctor when I need to or eat out when I want to.  That's not to say that everything is perfect or that I haven't experienced my fair share of suffering and turmoil over the years. But right now.... I'm happy. And thanks to God and Jamy my life is very low key and stress free. So why did I suffer my worst panic attack ever last night at 3 am?

I went to bed in  a peaceful state of mind. If not even a little excited about things to come in the near future. But, I felt a little odd physically. Like, jittery in the way you would feel after too much coffee. I was woken up an hour later, by my two year old wanting to be rocked back to sleep, as she has done most night for the last month. She and I walked into the kitchen to get a sip of milk. And as I tried to hand her cup to her, I just felt my body give way. As I crouched down to the floor for stability, I felt as if I had been punched In the stomach or just finished a marathon and was dying of thirst.

I used whatever strength I had to crawl back into my bed with a crying toddler on my arm, and woke up Jamy. Sooner than he was able to gather his wits, my body began convulsing. Every muscle was cramping and shaking uncontrollably. I couldn't sit up. Or catch enough air to say more than one or two words.

This is when I realized I was about to die. If you've experienced a panic attack before, you're familiar with this moment. Somewhere in between a little shakiness and a complete meltdown your mind starts to think of the many ways that your body is betraying you. And thus, you shake more.

I knew I had come down with some grave viral illness. Or been bitten by a poisonous insect in my sleep. I was sure of this.

Then I called my mom. (Yes, I may be thirty and happily married, but nothing helps like a reassuring word from mom.) She graciously agreed to come over to our home at 3 am. Almost immediately my symptoms began to subside. Why?

Because  I had someone tell me there was nothing wrong. To reassure my brain that it was just playing tricks on itself. And all was well.

 how to live and cope with panic attacks anxiety disorder


This morning, I woke up feeling tired. A little sore (from all of the muscle cramping). And in a bit of a foggy mental space. However, the overall feeling of panic and fear was gone.

The thing about having people around to help you through a panic attack... it's great to have the support. It helps the episode pass faster. But, then the next day, feels a little like doing a walk of shame after a drunken night. You start to wonder about how crazy you must have looked. Or how stupid your logic sounded.

And even though you know that they love you and they understand. You know that they don't fully get it. It doesn't make sense how your body can take on a mind of it's own. Or why you can't just take a deep breath and calm down. It's an out of body experience that can only really be understood if you've been through it.


Recently there was an email that went viral, after a woman sent an inter office message to say she was taking a mental health day. She received an understanding and supportive response from her boss, that was praised all over the internet.

A mental health day sounds pretty silly. And like a blanket excuse for whatever reason you want to skip out on work. But, the day after a panic attack (or when you feel one coming on). A mental health day is a real thing.

I literally did nothing productive today. I didn't respond to texts. I didn't work on my blog. I didn't do any mom of the year (or even decent mom) activities for the kids. I put on Minecraft for hudson, Doc Mcstuffins for Holland and relaxed. I napped, when they napped. And phoned in dinner.

And that's totally fine.

Self-Care feels like a buzz word of the moment. But it's true that you are worthless to your family if you are not taking care of yourself.


In fact looking back on my life this last month, I can see what it is that led to this episode. Sure, I am happy. And my life is easy. But, I don't sleep at night. I stay up until 1 or 2 just so I can have some alone time. I drink lots of coffee to help me get through the day for my kids. I eat whatever is quick and on the go. And that is the perfect recipe for burnout.

 how to live and cope with panic attacks anxiety disorder


After dealing with panic attacks for 20 something years, I feel like I've gotten my life and mental health on auto pilot. I take medication every day. I've heard and rehearsed all of the things therapists have taught me. I know all of the bible verses by heart. I know what food and activities to stay away from.

But, then when you get into a groove, you sort of start to forget you have a problem.

So now it's back to basics.

I cut out caffeine and sugar completely today. I plan on going to bed early tonight. I'm going to let Jamy take over bed time for a couple of nights.

Anxiety ebbs and flows throughout your lifetime. And it's important to have as many resources and knowledge about it as possible. The more you know about it, the less scary it seems. Which, is why I'm always open and willing to talk about it.

Roughly 40 million people in the U.S. suffer from carious degrees of anxiety disorders, but only about a third ever seek out help or treatment. I think partially, because there is a lack of understanding and partially because people feel ashamed or  embarrassed about it. However, it is actually the MOST common mental illness in the country.

If you feel like you can relate to any of the things I talked about today or you have even the slightest inkling that your struggling with stress, anxiousness or depression. I would highly recommend you ask your doctor about it, before it unnecessarily turns into something bigger.

And most of all, please know that you are not psychotic. You're not alone. And there is help out there waiting for you.





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  1. Having anxiety is the worst! This is an amazing post about how to deal with it!


  2. Girl, thank you for shedding light on this! I have definitely dealt with my fair share of anxiety. I've actually only experienced one panic attack like episode and it was when I found out my grandmother died. It's a horrible feeling and experience. Glad you're starting to feel better!

  3. I, too, suffer with anxiety and panic attacks. Thankfully, I have not had a panic attack since September of last year, but my anxiety keeps me up at night. For example, last Sunday, I was up until 2:30 am (I had to get up for work at 6) because of anxiety. I don't have much going on, this is my last week of the summer camp job that I work, so it was weird for the anxiety to hit me randomly. Best of luck to you!

  4. I don't suffer with anxiety but I have multiple friends who do, so it was really helpful to hear your perspective. Panic attacks seem so scary. I can see how burning yourself out can exacerbate that too. It's good you're working to get back on track and taking time to care for yourself. That can be much easier to do in theory than in real life! :-)
    Cheers, Sarah Camille //