Let me start by saying panic attacks are awful. You literally feel like you’re dying.
If you could calm yourself and think rationally, you could come to the conclusion that “No, I’m not dying. I’m fine. Everything is fine.”
But during panic attacks, you can’t think rationally because your body is rolling through symptoms that you can’t control.
The shortness of breath.
The feeling of wanting to run.
The heart palpitations.
Your brain attempts to tell you that something awful is about to happen. That you are in danger.
This happens even if you are in a controlled environment that you’re familiar with.
However, they are even scarier when they happen away from environments that you are familiar with.
I’ve been experiencing them regularly during my travels. This is new for me.
Yep, here I am. Trying to live my best life and visit places I’ve never been to before and DO things I’ve never done before and panic attacks have turned me into someone I don’t know.
Someone I am SO frustrated with.
I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.
I almost canceled my trip to San Diego. You see, months ago Kia invited me out to learn about their new Stinger and to have adventures up and down these San Diego streets…in sexy cars!
The entire event combines everything I love – exploring new places, new car smell (seriously, it’s the best), adventures and connecting with like-minded people. I couldn’t say YES fast enough.
After my crippling panic attacks before my trip to the Grand Canyon and while there, I didn’t know how I was going to make it. But I did.
And on the last hour of my trip to San Diego, I had a panic attack set in and its effects reverberated my entire trip.
I don’t think anyone could tell. For the most part, I was still myself.
I laughed. I chatted. I talked with people and was my bubbly self. I was a team player. I was THERE.
Well, at least people thought I was.
But on the inside? I had to remember to breathe. I had to step away from the fun activities every now and then to do breathing exercises and center myself. I couldn’t enjoy karaoke because the heart palpitations were incredibly intense.
I didn’t take as many pictures as I wanted to because I was too busy focusing on my breathing.
I had more quiet moments than I normally do on influencer trips. I took more trips to the bathroom just so I could gather myself.
I was myself but a different version of myself. I tried hard to not overdo it and I knew my limitations.
I was a wreck.
In this picture? I was a wreck.
I managed to push through and I’m so grateful for this opportunity that Kia provided mentally frazzled me. I’m happy to have brand partnerships that aren’t tied to perfect pictures and constant chatter. I’m happy that my presence is enough. That despite my struggles, my value is still seen.
This means a lot to me.
I’ve got work to do. I have lots of mental and spiritual things to work on but let my story remind you of one thing…everyone is going through something, y’all. ALL OF US. For me, it’s anxiety and panic attacks. For someone else, it could be chronic pain, aging, or ill parents, invisible diseases or asthma. That co-worker that seems off could have just suffered a miscarriage. Your friend that keeps turning you down for lunch dates may have just filed for bankruptcy. Your sibling could have just contemplated suicide.
We are all dealing with our own version of mess. Be empathetic. Smile to strangers. Reach out to people you haven’t heard from in awhile. Be vulnerable enough to share your own story to help heal yourself and others.
Trust me, whatever it is you have going on…you aren’t alone. Though it seems like you are. In this big, big world, there are more of us dealing with crap than not.
I’ll be back with regular updates on how I’m processing and working on these panic attacks.
FTC Disclosure: Kia brought me out to San Diego for an awesome experience however, these are my own thoughts and opinions.