My very first panic attack

I don’t normally consider myself an anxious person, nor am I high-strung or a type A personality. In fact, I am the exact opposite. I pride myself on being cool, calm and collected, even more so than my hubby. I thrive in challenging situations, aka, travel nursing and traveling in general, I constantly seek adventurous and exciting things to do, I oftentimes have this nonchalant face that I would like to project when truly deep inside I am scared shitless and know nothing about what to do.

When push comes to shove, I am better at handling stress than my hubby. And he himself admits that. Sometimes though I get tired of pretending to be strong and putting up a brave front and would just like to have a good long cry in one corner of our bedroom. It happens, sometimes. And then I just stop, wipe away my tears, stand up and brush it off. No biggie.

So, thats me in a nutshell. Well, just a part, really.

But mention my in-laws and that can bring a slight tremor and a high pitch to my otherwise flat monotone voice. Mention them coming over to visit us in Florida and that can make my heart race and emotions upside down. Mention them staying with us for four months and that brings me to a full panic attack!!!

I didn’t know what it was at first. My thoughts were racing (not that they don’t) more than the usual, my mind was wandering elsewhere, my breathing was fast. I couldn’t keep still. Dark negative thoughts kept on clouding my brain. I felt so so lost and out of control. I was googling some psych stuff trying to find answers to what was going on. I tried to tell my husband about it but couldn’t really express myself. It ended up me being upset and mad while he went to work.

Hours later trying to find a “cure” to this severe distress I was having, I resigned and went to bed. There, I found sanctuary in the darkness and cried and cried. I was about to text my hubby that I needed help and that I was in a dark place (yes, it was dark in my bedroom) but suddenly, a thought just popped out of nowhere. Or maybe it was more like Elizabeth-Gilbert’s-revealing-moment-when-she-heard-“that-voice”-while-crying-on-her-bathroom-floor kinda thing, except that I was on my bed not the bathroom floor. Or maybe it was simply a lightbulb moment or the universe trying to whisper to me, whatever it was, it was there.

I paused and stopped crying, lifted both knees up, opened my knees out to either side and brought the soles of my feet together. Reclining bound angle pose (goddess pose).

photo from

I know the pose looks weird and funny but it is a great hip opener and a calming posture.

Now, I may not have mentioned here on That Traveling Nurse but I have been practicing yoga for a couple of years now, a struggling yogi so to speak who still cannot perfect the Crow and cannot do a proper headstand without having neck pains afterwards. But I try to be a good student and it really does give me some calm and clarity and much needed exercise. No, I am not vegan and no this is not a religious thing either.

Me in Reverse Prayer pose

After becoming that “goddess” splayed in bed, I proceeded to do Pranayama breathing which is alternate nostril breathing. I recently watched a video on how to do it. If you like, here is the link.

I promise you after several repetitions, my restlessness slowly went away. That feeling of panic melted into nothingness and I can feel my mind emptying its thoughts while my breath was synchronizing with the hand movements. I eventually became peaceful enough to put me to sleep.

Bam! A yoga moment for me!

I’m not saying that the issue of my in-laws arrival has been resolved. Their visit is looming heavy and large like thunderclouds on the horizon but I am not there yet. I will only worry about it when I get there. Maybe a lot more Pranayama breathings is in my future. I refuse to pop a pill. I am not also saying that they are not nice people because they are, they are just my in-laws. I’m sure you can relate to that too and to some extent know what I am talking about.

Which brings me to conclusion that I am not the cool, calm, collected person I once thought I was. I have evolved. I am getting old.




10 thoughts on “My very first panic attack

  1. Ha ha ha Belle, you’re too funny, I enjoyed reading your reactions! Mind you, I’d have felt the same way too. 4 months? I guess if they are visiting from the Philippines they have to make it worthwhile and stay the course right? It reminds me of my ma in law when she visited us from Australia each year… She’d stay for 3 months at a time. She was great, but never held her tongue when she wanted to make a point, needless to say I felt much like you every time she announced her trip. Good luck, I’m sure it won’t be too bad. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well when my parents came to visit, they only stayed 3 months. I was at the end of my wits by the 2nd month. So can you imagine my in-laws here for 4 months? I tried to negotiate with hubby for 3 months just like my parents did but he wanted them to stay over till his birthday… what can you say? And that is true, coming all the way from halfway across the globe, you just have to make it worthwhile, with the travel time and cost of tickets. Australia is even further away from the Philippines. Thanks for the laughs too! πŸ™‚


  2. I would totally have a panic attack too! Good luck with the in-laws and thank you for the yoga reminder ~ it will definitely come in handy, if I can remember it when I need it πŸ˜‰
    Might be time for a yoga tattoo….

    Liked by 1 person

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