Hitting the Panic Button

BY RACHEL WONG

I remember the very first time I had a panic attack, and I remember the “help” that came with it.

I was 16 years old, getting ready for an end of the year production. My grandfather had recently passed away and I wasn’t getting any sleep. Rehearsals had been running longer than they usually did and I hadn’t been eating. One day during practice, I fainted. When I had finally gotten back on my feet, my director was angry at me, saying that I wasn’t pulling my weight. And despite what I told him, he threw probably the worst cliche possible at me – “the show must go on”.

And that triggered my first panic attack.

scared-woman-looking-out-window-350I was inconsolable. I sat on the sidelines crying, but it was the kind of crying that had no sound, just tears. I was shaking and trembling, dizzy and nauseous, and all the while, I could see people passing by. They were nudging each other, trying to get someone else to comfort me.

“You help her!”

“No, YOU help her,” they pleaded.

It was almost like I had the plague.

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Fight or Flight: The Difference Between Stress and PTSD

By MindfulAide

Everyone has felt stressed out at some point in time.

A looming deadline approaches and you don’t feel prepared. You haven’t completed something that you know should be done. There’s something going on at home, or at school, and it puts considerable emotional pressure on you.

10402476_10203664327632198_266548456325420440_n (2)It feels as if there is a weight on your shoulders and chest. You feel bogged down and heavy. It may be hard to concentrate or sleep, you may be tense, or maybe you’re jittery. This is stress. It is a normal human reaction to not feeling like you can cope with a situation or obstacle.

This type of stress can be managed using a variety of coping mechanisms such as working out, journal writing, meditation, reaching out to friends/family, working on a solution with time management and/or assertiveness training, or communication with others. Managing stress is an important part of life for everyone.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has many similar symptoms as regular stress, and some additional ones, but the most important thing is that PTSD cannot be managed using only the traditional stress management coping mechanisms. Continue reading

When ‘Yes’ Means ‘No’: How to Identify Rape

By MindfulAide

Trigger Warning: themes of sexual assault

I knew him from my group of friends in high school. He was in university, he had drugs on hand that I had never heard of, and he loved to dance. One night while smoking weed with some friends he innocently asked me if I had ever been to a dark rave, and would I like to go dancing with him and his girlfriend? She seemed cool, and I would have loved to get to know her more, so I said yes. I was barely fifteen, and they were well into their twenties. We all ordered in pizza, ate, and then started drinking magic mushroom tea. Then we dropped acid. Then we popped MDMA. It is at that point things get a little fuzzy around the edges.

I remember being at the club – no idea how I got in – and eventually not being able to stand anymore. His girlfriend  disappeared; were they arguing? He gave me another alcoholic drink. I remember not being able to walk properly outside the club. After that there are flashes of some sexual acts, but I was really out of it. I remember puking into a toilet for a long time afterwards.

I woke up the next day naked in his bed. He had his clothes on. He told me that he wanted me to get out, so I got dressed and left still somewhat buzzing. I knew I had sex with him, my clothes were everywhere, and I did remember doing it. I just felt incredibly guilty. I felt as though I had cheated on my boyfriend. I felt I did something wrong. I knew I must have agreed to it because I was enjoying what I could remember… didn’t I? I never said no, did I? I must have agreed. I must have.

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