Panic Life

Fighting Stigma and Living with an Anxiety Disorder

Panic is Mental and Physical

A panic attack can have both psychological and physical symptoms

If you've never experienced clinical levels of anxiety, you may not release this: anxiety can feel physically draining on your body. 

Here are some symptoms you might experience when having a panic attack:

  • Dizziness
  • Racing heart 
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Muscle spams and/or pain
  • Headaches
  • Body aches

Reading that list makes one think that panic is more than just being nervous about something. Anxiety has physiological symptoms that are draining to the mind and the body. 

I remember being in the midst of an episode of panic in 2011. My heart had been been racing for quite some time and my breath was heavy. I had to lay down. My body was exhausted from fighting. 

I've learned through dealing with panic to listen to my body. In the midst of feeling anxious, my body responds differently than it would on a regular day. For example, when I am anxious, I tend not to eat sugar or consume caffeine. I normally love cookies and coffee, but when I am experiencing high levels of anxiety those things work against my body.

Being mindful of your body when you are dealing with anxiety is one of the best things you can do. Be in the moment and listen to what your body is telling you. You may need more rest than usual. You might need to go outside and breathe some fresh air. Your body is sending you a message as to how to cope with your feelings. Listen to it. 

It is when we ignore the messages from our mind/body that we can get into trouble. Be respectful of the fact that your body needs more rest during an episode of anxiety, because the last thing you want is to become overly exhausted. 

Our bodies are powerful communicators. If we listen to them, we will be able to be the best possible version of ourselves. 

 

Sarah Fader is a mental illness advocate and mother of two living with
panic disorder in New York City.

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