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5 Things That Make Me Feel Safe During an Anxiety Attack

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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.”

• What is PTSD?

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.

Originally published: July 6, 2016
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