With GCSEs fast approaching and a heart scare to follow, it was easy for panic to set in. I had to deal wit that, on top of past problems, but basically, a lot was going on all at once and I didn't know how to cope. I couldn't sleep, I focused a lot on my heart palpitations as it was so new to me, and then the worry started to set it. I couldn't breathe half the time and got really worked up, my chest was tight and I constantly worried, and it was seriously affecting my exams.
Then, I finally experienced a full on panic attack at the time I was supposed to board a flight (I have a phobia, which, I do not know where has come from) but I have to say, it is the worst feeling imaginable. I couldn't stop shaking for days, I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I had the sweats all day and I couldn't stop crying, it was so bad I couldn't even talk without spilling into tears.
It was really affecting me, and my study, so I had to do something, I was really at my wits end. It was affecting everything I did. So when I was suggested yoga, I was really skeptical, but oh how I was wrong!
There are many different areas of yoga - I was taking on relaxation yoga, which focuses on relaxation poses, breathing techniques and calming exercises. What also helped me was to take up new hobbies, so that I wasn't thinking about my exams or my heart. I took up archery which requires a lot of focus, and started to volunteer for a local charity, which has immensely boosted my confidence (which had suffered greatly!)
I'm also a huge fan of routine - one slip up and that would really wreck my head and spiral me into panic, so the yoga, with breathing techniques, helps me to refocus, take a step back and do things little by little.
I wish I'd known, that, things got better with time - I thought it would never stop, and although I get a rare palpitation or fret, things have been so much easier, I can now cope a whole lot better, as, even when I wasn't under pressure, everything felt so overwhelming.
It's also not an overnight cure - it took me a long time, and I still suffer from it - but now, others can really see the difference in me, and people comment on it in a good way and it's really nice to know your on the path to a much better life (of not constantly worrying over silly things!) I was so adamant on getting it cleared up in the next week, but, by forcing myself to take small steps at a time, at my own pace, it made me a lot more comfortable and has helped greatly.
I strongly suggest for people to talk to others about their anxiety - it's a different experience for everyone, but knowing when and where to get advice on it really helps, because there are loads of options to help you, and I know there is a stigma attached to mental health, but at the end of the day, your pride should not come before your health. I refused to talk to people because, I did not want them to think I was broken, or to burden them - but I'm not. Panic is just one of the bodies ways to cope with stress but when it gets to a point where it is everyday - it will bring you down.
Remember, it does get better, no matter how bad it seems.
Image of yoga mat used courtesy of Celeste Lindell respectively via Flickr under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licence. Images cropped and resized.