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I had a panic attack yesterday

I wanted to post this as I’ve been silent for the last day or so and I wanted to give the reason for it. I had a very strange day yesterday, I was trying to be productive in a cafe, I set up my laptop to blog and a couple of events triggered a reaction that sent my plans out of the window. 

I was in the cafe in the city library, pretty tired from the night before. I had an iced coffee on route, but it didn’t really wake me up. So, I decided to order a large coffee in the cafe. This would later turn out to be a mistake.

The coffee started to kick in, and I am terrible at making drinks last. I had a few large gulps straight away  so the caffeine quickly got to work. Before I knew it I was full of energy, too much. I started to get the shakes and regret ordering a large. 

Now I’m not sure if you are aware, but it is Riverfire in Brisbane this weekend and tonight is going to be pretty epic on the river. There are military flybys going on, as well as a firework display this evening. Yesterday there was a practice run, one I wasn’t expecting. As I was trying to focus on blogging, a jet flew by and the sudden sound of it caught me off guard. Everyone in the library turned their heads to see what it was about, at this point I had no idea what was happening as the sound became deafening. I thought a plane was crashing! I’m an anxious person in general, and I often fear the worst. Despite realising that this was a flyby in preparation for today, I still went into shock. It sounds so silly, and I had no idea a panic attack could occur due to a coffee and a low flying jet, but I did. I love an airshow, and I love the roar of a low flying airplane, however as I couldn’t tell what the sound was as there was no visuals to go along with it, it just set me off. 

I tried to open Instagram on my phone to distract me however I could barely hold it in my now trembling hand. I struggled to even press the power switch on my laptop as I knew I couldn’t stay sitting there, so I just shut the lid and left the cafe. I wanted to go outside to see the plane as a method to calm my nerves, I needed to confirm that what I heard was indeed harmless. I did so, and I managed to compose myself and get a couple of videos and shots of the scene.


Despite this and having no reason to panic, the thought of having that happen again was enough for it to, you guessed it, happen again. I was outside as the jet was circling above, and every low pass just created more anxiety. I had to put music on to calm me down, as I tried to walk back inside my legs were weak and I started to see stars. Oddly enough, my heart rate didn’t seem to increase, although I was expecting it to. I kept taking deep breaths, drank plenty of water and sat down as soon as I made it back inside. 

I sat on a chair in the library for 45 minutes or so until I calmed down and felt like I could walk back home. I just sat there staring at the floor, letting it take its course as well as reminding myself that it will pass. Another reason I love the internet is that I typed what to do during a panic attack and instantly I was reading a step by step guide as to what I should be doing. It was pretty reassuring and we are fortunate to get instant knowledge at our fingertips, something previous generations were unable to do. 

It was a pretty terrifying experience, and I haven’t had a coffee since. It reminded me that panic attacks are real and not to be taken lightly. It also made me think how terrifying it must be to be in a warzone, if I could be in this state in a calm and peaceful environment. No wonder people flee across borders. 

I know people will be able to relate to this post, and I like that I can provide my thoughts and feelings on this website. As I type the planes are doing some rapid flybys, and I love it. The mind is pretty unpredictable and very scary at times, and just because someone was okay yesterday doesn’t mean they have to be today. I was that person yesterday, and if I have any advice for myself or others, it is that the feelings do pass. It’s all about riding the wave and knowing that time is a great healer. 

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52 replies »

    • That’s the best thing to do for me, realise it’s happening and breathe until it passes. It’s pretty scary, I’m sorry you have been through it!

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  1. Panic attacks are terrifying. The older I get the more I find coffee makes me anxious if I have more than a cup or two. I used to drink a pot by myself and still want more. I order a lot of decaf. Something I never thought I’d find myself doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s exactly what my mum said after she read my post, she has to drink decaf due to a minor heart condition and I think I will start doing the same. I enjoy the taste but I don’t always need the kick.

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  2. Glad you’re okay. It sounds like a scary thing to experience. And also sounds like you were triggered in some way.

    As a student I drank waaay too much coffee. One day I decided to give it up cold turkey. I ended up three days on the couch with severe cramps that the doctor attributed to caffeine withdrawal. Who knew the humble java juice could do that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What made you give it up? It’s strange, as some days I can have one or two cups and be fine, other days I can have one and it hits me like a brick. It’s not the first time coffee has made me this way, and it’s pretty terrifying when an attack occurs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fully understand how this must feel. One day, after a long walk, my heart raced and I had a sense of impending doom, similar to a panic attack. Given my children were so young at the time, it made it stop! I drink a couple of cups of coffee a day now.

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      • I guess having children and knowing how they may react to it may help you overcome it? I am not sure. I will have to limit myself to two cups a day I think!

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    • I’ve looked into what to do from previous instances and thanks to Google I could look it up as it happened. Not everyone can or does know, however after an attack I hope they look at what to do next time.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The fear of it happening doesn’t help at all as this could lead to one, it’s important to realise what it is and that everything will be fine. Thank you for your kind words, and I am glad yours aren’t as common as they were!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That sounded very unpleasant, glad you are okay now. Well done for sharing this Sam. I think it’s really important that people know even an outwardly confident seeming person, travelling around the world etc, can have moments of anxiety, experiences lack of confidence. Because otherwise people think only certain kinds of people can go travelling, have adventures etc. It’s good to share a fully rounded perspective. And yes I totally find coffee can make me jittery. On a lighter note, you ordering one, it not seeming to work, ordering another and regretting it, reminded me of that Streets song I think it’s Blinded by the lights, about, these pills are crap, they aren’t working, better have another one… a bit later… oh, maybe I shouldnโ€™t have had the second one…

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    • I will have to listen to the song! I’ve started typing another post actually that your comment touches on, about people that travel and that the reasons for travelling isn’t always due to confidence or happiness. I felt it linked in well with this post and I will post it soon.
      Thank you for your kind words ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. Panic attacks are definitely connected to post-traumatic stress- very often from incidents early in life, which are buried. Take gentle care of yourself. Such attacks should be take seriously by all who claim to care about you.

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    • I have a great family and friends to support me, it is just harder when I am away from them all travelling. I have always been an anxious person, through neurological disorders and I was bullied as a child which probably didn’t help.

      Thank you for your kind words ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. Oh, been there, done that! Lovely post. Thanks for following my blog, You can teach me too. About the panic, Dr Claire Weeks (old fashioned now, but still relevant) said to imagine you are the cork floating on the top of water. As you get buffeted around to remember the cork cannot sink. Just float till the emotion recedes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really like this. I will try to think of this if it happens again in the near future, it is a good way to process it as it is happening. Thank you for your comment! I hope you are well.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I did respond to this, but looking back it hasn’t saved the comment… Sorry! I really like the comment about the cork, I think it will be really helpful to think this way if it happens again. Thank you so much for the advice ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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