It's hard to share on social media when you're going through difficult personal times, and yet it is so important to also be authentic and real. So here goes: the past few years I have been battling anxiety and panic attacks. It started as a slow creeping dread brought on by profound grief and loss after my parents died and then the trauma of Covid. My blood pressure became elevated and when it was discovered it was very high and I was heading for heart attack territory. I'm now on daily medication, however anxiety is a daily companion and I now have panic attacks during times of stress. The past few months I have had some personal stresses and a few panic attacks in quick succession. Am recovering from a profound panic attack yesterday where I nearly collapsed and feel so weak and fatigued today that it feels like my head is heavy.
I'm learning to accept my fragile wellbeing and find ways to protect myself and manage. I am so thankful for my family, friends, and beautiful co-workers who are there for me and take care of me and show me their love every day. I had empathy for those who suffered anxiety and panic attacks, but now that I am one of them, I truly know how debilitating it is when your whole body and brain turn on you and tell you your life is in danger. I was one of those people everyone always talked about as being resilient. I joked that I was teflon coated and all my trauma had made hardship bounce off me. I am now learning that your body experiences wear and tear and that profound trauma changes you forever. So for now, I'll keep practicing my affirmations. "I am safe, and this feeling will pass."
Amra Pajalić is an award-winning author, an editor and teacher who draws on her Bosnian cultural heritage to write own voices stories for young people, who like her, are searching to mediate their identity and take pride in their diverse culture. She writes memoir, young adult and romance under the pen name Mae Archer.
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