My struggle with panic attacks


 Lately I have been struggling with panic attacks. I have severe anxiety, which could be related to me being Autistic, but it also could just be something that I have. I have not been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, but I am thinking that maybe I will be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder(s) in the future. So, what are my panic attacks like?

I think panic attacks are different for every person. I myself do not have all of the symptoms for a panic attack, but I do have a lot of them, and they vary in each panic attack. The symptoms that I have experienced are (1) Increased heart rate, irregular heart rate, (2) abdominal distress/stomach ache, (3) Tight/heavy chest, (4) difficulty breathing, (5) tight muscles, (6) tingling in hands, feet, or legs, and (7) dizziness.

Panic attacks exhaust me, it saps the energy out of me. Sometimes all I can do is lay in my bed and wait for the panic attack to subside. I can also hide my panic attack very well, people could look and me and probably tell that I’m not going crazy, but on the inside my body is in panic mode. Sometimes my panic attacks are triggered by me thinking about something that makes me feel anxious, and sometimes they just pop up on their own.

One of the only things that helps me feel calm is dogs. Breathing exercises do not help me feel calmer. This is why I want my own service dog, because a service dog could help me in the following ways,

(1) Recognizing changes in my heart rate and breathing

(2) Providing DPT (deep pressure therapy) to help calm me

(3) Doing tactile stimulation (licking the face, hands, or arms)

(4) Alerting to panic attacks

(5) Reminding me to take my Zoloft

(6) Guiding me through a crowd

(7) Guiding me to an exit

(8) Getting help


Service dogs can also help with loneliness. Dogs have many health benefits including lowered blood pressure, increased serotonin levels, reducing depression, etc.

I hope to get a service dog. I would really like a Cairn terrier puppy to train to be my own service dog, but if my family cannot afford a Cairn terrier, than I want to look into adopting a small to medium size dog (even though I wish I could take all adoptable dogs home).

The best thing to do for someone having panic attacks is listen, and just be there for them. They may feel like they are dying, and they need someone to reassure them that it will be ok. If the panic attack is severe, he or she may need medical help. It is also worth a try to recommend trying breathing exercises, therapy, meditation, or seeing a doctor. It’s not just in our “heads”, panic attacks feel very real to those of us who have panic attacks.



I would like to get a service dog, here’s why

Lately I have been wanting my own service dog. I would like to get a puppy, and train it to be a service dog. So, why do I want a service dog? Well, I love dogs. I have always loved dogs since I was very small. I used to collect stuffed dogs, from poodles to Chihuahua’s.  I also work with a dog in a small dog club. I like doing rally courses and showmanship. It is fun, and challenges me to use problem solving when my dog doesn’t do something right or if I make a mistake.

I also like dogs because they are very calming to me. Petting a dog can make me feel a lot calmer. In my last vaulting performance, I had the opportunity to snuggle with an adorable Sussex spaniel puppy. His fur was super soft and I loved stroking his fur and holding him in my lap. I felt calmer as I stroked the puppy’s fur and my sensory processing seemed to be less noticeable, as I often hear every sound and sometimes get overwhelmed by sound.

I also have anxiety/panic attacks. Although I do not know if I am truly having panic attacks, but I do have symptoms including tight chest, sweaty palms, increased heart rate, irregular heartbeat, shakiness, stomachache, burning in stomach and chest, tinging in hands, arms, legs, and feet, and sometimes difficulty breathing easily. All of these symptoms do not happen with each attack either, sometimes they are combined, and sometimes they are not.

These can make me feel very uncomfortable. One I had made me feel like I was dying, because my chest was so tight, and my stomach was hurting, and my heart rate was up. I felt like my whole body was going crazy on the inside. I can act pretty normal on the outside, even though on the inside my body is going nuts with anxiety.

Service dogs can help with anxiety by doing anxiety alerts, DPT (deep pressure therapy), guiding to an exit, getting help, etc. Service dogs can also help with autistic people with sensory processing difficulties and meltdowns. One autistic individual I read about found it easier to communicate to people with her service dog by her side.

I think a service dog would help me a lot. Although I am on Zoloft, It does not completely prevent anxiety/panic attacks. It has helped some, but it does not “cure” my anxiety. My mentor likes to think of medication as the foundation for working on your anxiety, if you have a firm foundation, then you can find it easier to work on your anxiety. I wasn’t put on medication for a long time, and even before going onto medication my therapist and I discussed whether or not it would be beneficial to me.

I hope someday that I can get a dog of my own to train as my own service dog. I know it would take a lot of time and effort, but I am willing to do that. I encourage anyone interested in a service dog to look into getting a service dog, or training one of their own. Service dogs are great dogs, they can help so many people with many different issues feel happier, safer, and more confident.

Project semicolon


Project semicolon is for people suffering from mental illness such as anxiety or depression. The semicolon represents that the author could have chosen to end the story, but decided to go on. People are using semicolons in art, tattoos, jewelry, and more to symbolize that “My story isn’t over yet”.



The monster arises

The monster arises,

Slowly creeping,

Its voice whispers,

And then starts to scream,

It plays with my body like a puppet,

Tingling in my hands in legs,

Heart starting to beat louder, faster, stronger

Muscles tightening,

My thoughts are whirling,

I want to escape,

I want to scream,

To make it go away,

The feeling goes on,

The minutes tick by slowly,

After what seems like an hour,

The monster goes away,

Its voice stops,

My mind quiets down,

My muscles relax,

The tingling fades,

And my heart slows down,

I can now breathe again,

Anxiety, a monster,

You may be strong,

But I will not let you win        ;