How a Panic Attack on a Plane Forced Me to Finally Face My Anxiety

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Panic attack.

I remember the moment I lost control.  Running through a busy airport to catch an international flight, my husband and I just made it to the gate.  Suddenly, I felt a chill, starting in my calves and working its way up to my stomach.  I knew something was off, but didn’t know what.  Without time to think about it, we boarded the plane.

Our seats weren’t next to each other, I was placed next to a younger man with headphones.  As the flight attendant began to conduct the safety briefing, it happened.  I began to cry, biting my lip, and sweating at the forehead.  At that moment, I realized that my husband and I were on a plane together for the first time since having children.  What if the plane crashed?  Who would take care of our children and handle our bills and finances?  I tried to calm down, but couldn’t.  I was having a panic attack.  Not wanting to scare the man next to me, I pretended my tears were caused by the overhead vents.

A few days later, I told my doctor what had happened.  There had been similar situations before.  Reflecting, I realized that these panics had been occurring as far back as childhood.  I figured that I was just the kind of person who would feel overwhelmed.

The doctor gave me a diagnoses of anxiety.

To overcome my anxiety, I needed to become aware of my triggers.  The biggest one was being a wife and mother.  I tell myself that things that I fear probably won’t happen.  It helps give me perspective.

Taking medication for my anxiety has made a big difference.  Opening up to family and friends has also helped.  Those close to me can recognize an anxiety attack and help me through it.  Self-care tactics help me regain my sanity and strength.

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