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I had a panic attack yesterday

Yesterday I had an MRI, and was advised that I  had to be in the tunnel for up to 2 hours! 😬


Leading up to it, I could feel myself getting more and more anxious about it, but kept talking to myself and managed to stay pretty calm right up until the moment I was told my head had to go in a brace and secured so I couldn’t move.


As soon as I laid down and put on my eye mask, I could hear things being applied and secured around my head and I started to panic.


My breathing became fast and shallow, my heart was racing.

My whole body started to shake  and the tears were pouring out of me 😭 ….I was deep in fight or flight, when I could do neither.


I had a very kind lady in my ears that was checking I was OK, but even though I said I was (because I knew on a conscious level I was ‘safe’) I was not OK at all.


In that moment a visualisation of ‘anxiety’ from Inside Out 2 popped into my head - if you haven’t seen it, see it! And if you have, I am talking about the moment were she got frozen in her fears and Riley was having her panic attack 😞 . My mind and body were spiralling and I knew I had a choice of what to do next.


Choice One - listen to anxiety, let that fear become me and allow the next 2 hours to be nothing short of hell (because it was a procedure that is absolutely necessary) or….


Choice Two - do exactly what Riley did …… calm my mind using my senses and ultimately reassuring my unconscious that I was safe.


I started by letting the tears out through deep breaths, I consciously slowed my breathing down. I blew the tears away.


I used the power of my mind to take me somewhere I felt safe - I went to a sun lounger on the deck of a villa in Dubai, that I recently stayed in for a business retreat. That trip was life changing and by just taking myself back to that moment, I could feel my whole body starting to ease out and calm down.


I had music coming through headphones I had been given to cover up the sound of the MRI machine, which I imagined coming from the hotel poolside bar that was next door to our villa.


I remembered the smells of the diffuser that was used every day (to get rid of the mozzies!) and the feel of soft breeze and sunshine on my skin.


By doing this, I was able to bring ‘joy’ back into my body, which instantly calmed ‘anxiety’ down.


The unconscious minds purpose is to keep us safe, it functions from a place of lived experiences, pictures images and certainly not from a place of logic and rationale. I was already feeling anxious about this procedure, so I’d already begun the process of triggering the unconscious mind into keeping me safe and whilst,  logically I knew I was safe, the unconscious mind wanted me to get the hell out of there!


By doing all of the above, it meant my time in that tunnel was easier than it would have been if I had stayed in fight or flight mode.


Did I enjoy the experience…no!


Was I overjoyed when she said I was done and she was coming to get me out….hell yes!


But I guarantee the 90 mins would have been so much harder on my mind and body had I not consciously worked to get me into a calmer place.


Anxiety is a hugely uncomfortable experience, but we can work with it, and yesterday I asked ‘anxiety’ to take a seat in her special chair (sorry another Inside Out 2 quote)


Please know that you don’t have to suffer and accept this as a way of life, anxiety is a hugely valid emotion and shows up to protect and serve you, but it often gets stuck in the fear of ‘what if’ which means you miss out on what’s happening right now.


I would love to speak to you if the fear of what may happen in the future is preventing you from having a present.


Steph xx

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2 Comments


Keely
Keely
Jul 10

I will take what you said, on board. I hope you get something positive out of it. Thank you. I've had panic attacks. Sending love Steph ❤️

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Thanks Keely, I really hope it helps x

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