A day in the life of -
Morning commute is hell. I am short of breath. My heart pounds. Chain reaction of panic attacks and I drown and sweat.
It was'nt always like this. Something happened last year that has turned my mornings into living hell. I turn the air conditioning full blast while driving if I get this sensation. Want my body to be aware of the surroundings, open the windows let the Karachi air slap me to my senses. If this does not work, I rub my cold hands on my face. Need the contact. Need the touch to be stronger than the thought that I am sinking.
A friend has the same problem. His anxiety is work-related. But when he shared his problems, it sounded familiar. I could empathize with his predicament. And I was happy that what is happening to me is also happening to others.
People talk about having a strong will power to sort out challenges but it is not that easy. It you are drowning and the current is strong, no matter how much you want to stay afloat, you only head to the bottom of the abyss. I do not know how to swim so that drowning analogy is even more painful to imagine.
Working on mental toughness is a long drawn out process because the most potent organ of your body, the brain is playing tricks on you. It is hard to do a con job done on an expert of mind games.
My friend consulted a doctor at Aga Khan and suggested breathing exercises and tranquilizers. Tranquilizers have not worked for me even for a day. I have always been in total control of my emotions and my fears. Medication has nothing to offer me. Infact during the month that I took the tranquilizers I woke up gasping for air.
The breathing exercises do work. You take a deep breath and hold it for 5 secs and then you slowly let go.
It has been 10 months now that I have had this problem but things are getting better with time. It is true that time is a healer. This started last October and I really am glad that I now have some tricks up my sleave to fool the senses. Music is a great companion, another way of relaxing especially in rush hour when some freak is honking at me when I am in the slow lane.
And to top it all, once the morning problem has been addressed, the rest of the day is ok. There is the usual crap at work that needs to handled but getting paid for it eases the pain.