5 Things That Make Me Feel Safe During an Anxiety Attack

I don’t usually disclose this, but for the last 10 years or so, I have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. It’s difficult for people to understand what it’s like when depression finds you and takes a hold of you. People who have never felt what it’s like to be frozen and in a fog you can’t get out seem to never show compassion. They can’t seem to wrap their minds around it. It’s likely because they don’t know what it feels like to lie on the ground of their room for two days straight, not eating or sleeping, thinking the floor was the best place to be. When I’m in a moment like this, I think to myself, “You deserve to be on the lowest point of the place where you live because that’s who you are.”

Yes, I have PTSD. Yes, I sometimes have depressive episodes, where I don’t shower for days or eat. Yes, it’s difficult to take care of myself during those times. Yes, I am prone to crying during those times. And yes, I am a fighter. I’ve always been a fighter.

Despite the despair I feel inside, something inside me wants to live. Something inside me tells me living is the best revenge. Something inside me always screams for me to get up when I can’t. So I get up. I go to see my therapist, psychiatrist and take my medication. I keep getting up, and I move until moving becomes ritual. I move until I feel like I’m not mimicking life but actually living it.

Feeling safe during these times is extremely difficult. I thought to myself one night, I should make a list of what makes me feel safe as a reminder to myself. So here it goes:

1. My cat.

He was abandoned when he was 4, and I found him at an adoption event. He looked as miserable as I felt after a rough break up. I knew then and there that we were going to heal each other, and we did.

2. Writing.

When I write, I feel free.

3. Yoga.

On my mat is one of the few places I feel calm and at peace.

4. Cooking.

Food and smell has so much to deal with how we commune with people. I feel like family when I cook with people.

5. My friends.

This year has been probably the most difficult of my life, and my friends, the ones who see me when I’m at my worst, have continued to love me regardless. I’m grateful for that.

When you’re having an anxiety attack, what do you hold onto? What makes you feel safe?

This post originally appeared on Wallaine’s blog “lost, found and everything in between.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Spinning ferris wheel on a sunny day

To Those Who Feel Broken From Childhood Trauma

This is for you. This is for me. This is addressing the horror, the invisible illness: childhood trauma. You might feel broken right now. No matter how long ago the trauma happened, resurfaced or how many years you have been on this dizzy, circular ride of healing, you still carry a part of you etched [...]
PTSD word with an old dirty keyboard.

A Letter to Myself After My PTSD Recovery Program

We were asked to write a letter to ourselves as part of a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) recovery program. It was mailed to us by the team three months later. Dear Christina, This letter is to acknowledge all the hard work it has taken to bring you to this moment in your life. I know how much [...]
blurred crowd

When Your Disorder Causes You to Lose Time

Dissociation is something everyone experiences. It is, to put it somewhat crudely, daydreaming. It becomes a disorder, like any other symptom of any other mental illness, when it interferes with day-to-day living, school, work and relationships. I experience dissociative episodes in response to overwhelming situations or emotions. This can be a build up of stress [...]
Sad teenage girl sitting alone near river.

To My Undiagnosed, Teenaged Self: Your Life Matters

Could I have stepped back and fixed you? The darkness was so unnavigable back then. When you crashed, I would have caught you, held you up against the falling world. I could have stopped you from holding that razor blade, that bottle of pills or kept you from the edge of the bridge. When those [...]