Remembering To Breathe


I have picked up my laptop so many times in the past month or so, stared at the blank screen, & placed it back down again.

So many things have been happening. Things that I don’t even understand,.. so how could I possibly find the words to explain it to all of you.

Then I remembered I started this blog because I wanted to start being honest and open. I wanted to learn to accept and love my life for exactly how it was, no matter how messy or hard. I wanted to be Raw and Real. So instead of trying to come up with ways of explaining, I’ll just tell it how it is…

In the past 2 weeks I have had 4 panic attacks. And although I have always had a history of anxiety and depression, these were different. Scarier. Uncontrollable.

The first one happened on my way home from work. My kids were in the back seat. I felt a weird tightening pain in my chest, my fingertips started to tingle & I noticed it got harder to breathe. Then came this overwhelming feeling to cry, for no reason at all. In two minutes flat I had gone from singing along to the radio, to having a complete meltdown in the middle of the highway. It was the scariest feeling I have had in so long.

The second one was two days later.. And I never knew this was possible but I literally woke up with it. At 8am on a Sunday morning, I woke up because my throat hurt and I had a weird pain in my chest. I drank some water, tried to get comfortable. Nothing worked. And the pain grew stronger. An hour passed. Then two.. By 10:30am I was in full panic mode. Clutching my chest trying to breathe wishing I could rip it open and let the air in myself. Hands shaking, crying. I went to the ER. The triage nurse took one look at me and had someone take me straight back to a room. I can only imagine how I must’ve looked to them.

The dr said I was in a full blown panic attack and they had to give me something to calm my body down because I couldn’t do it on my own. At this point, it had been FIVE HOURS! I was exhausted!

Fast forward a few days & I went to see my dr. I left his office with a prescription & an apt with a psychiatrist. I’ve had two more attacks since then.

Since then I have been taking my medicine everyday and waiting for the apt with the psychiatrist. It feels kinda weird telling the world this. Being so vulnerable and admitting that I live with mental illness. But if I didn’t I would be like everyone else who looks down upon it with shame. As though speaking on it makes it contagious.

There’s one thing that the dr said that stuck with me. It can happen at any moment, anywhere, for no reason at all… & it can be genetic.

That’s when I remembered 5 year old me. At my grandmothers house watching TV. Family talking in the background. My mom was sitting on the couch helping my sister with her homework. There was nothing happening.

Next thing I know my sisters homework is dropped to the floor and my mom is shaking, except it wasn’t a seizure. She’s crying and mumbling something no one understands, and it gets so bad my uncles have to pick her up and put her in a cold shower to calm her down…

I remember 7 year old me. Sitting in the room I shared with my sister directly across the hall from my mother’s. I remember hearing crying from my mom’s room suddenly. Loud, sad crying. Out of control sobbing. I open the door to my mom’s room and see her on the bed shaking again, except this time her hands are on her head and she’s breathing really heavy. I ran to get my brother…

For so long I didn’t understand why that happened to her, or why she was so upset. I was scared to ask. And now, years later I get it.

For someone with an anxiety disorder, especially in severe cases, the trigger doesn’t have to be something big. It doesn’t have to be a loved one dying, or losing your home. It can be as something as simple as forgetting your wallet or missing your bus.

And what makes it SO FRUSTRATING, especially for me, is that it comes whenever the hell it wants. Before this I hadn’t had a panic attack in almost 3 years. I’ve had my ups and downs. Still struggled with depression. But nothing like this.

Then one day it just creeps up & says “Hey, its been awhile. Lets see if you remember me.” & Just like that your laying on the floor clutching your chest begging it to stop, dying to breathe.

I didn’t write this post for pity or concern. I wrote it because in that small amount of time I remembered what it felt like to feel completely hopeless and out of control. It made me feel as though I should just stop trying. At everything. And I know that might seem silly to a lot of you. But that’s exactly how it is.

Posting here wasn’t a priority anymore. Writing in general just seemed like a waste of time. What was the point if I knew that I wouldn’t make it to where I wanted? I just didn’t care. And I HATE when I feel like that because I know that I’m better than that. And I know that’s not me.

So that brings me to here. Right now. Writing a post almost 2 months after my last one. Telling all of you that I am human, and that just like most of you, every day is a constant struggle for me. I am sorry for abandoning you for so long, I am going to try my hardest to not let that happen again. But if it does, I ask that you please bear with me as I am probably trying to snap myself back out of it.

Thank you for all of the continued support & love & I hope you’ll continue reading!

xoxo – Jani

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