Hello, Miss Lauren.
Don't shame yourself. First and foremost. Shame has never inspired anybody to do anything. When Winston Churchill sent 37,000 men to their deaths at the Gallipoli Campaign during World War 1 and lost his status in the British parliament, he didn't enlist out of shame, he swore to himself that he'd recover from that titanic mistake, and he became Prime Minister in his later years.
You made a mistake. That is the long and short of it. It doesn't forebode the rest of your existence, nor does it have any control over what you do. Choose not to do it again. Mentally prepare yourself for your next panic attack and discipline yourself as to what you will do the next time you have to rapidly calm yourself down, but the very first thing to do is erase hurting yourself from that list. Assert with yourself that it is not an option.
Understand: You cut yourself to relieve stress; the stress is the problem and the cutting is the method your brain found as a solution to your stress, but it is a bad solution, so focus on a new solution.
First, stop thinking in terms of being "dirty" or "clean", get that self-limiting drivel out of your head. You aren't living in unobservable states of purity or unclean-ness, you are making and reinforcing choices in your life. You hurt yourself, and that is what matters. So don't hurt yourself; look within yourself and create the strength to stop yourself when you feel a panic attack coming. Learn what your body and your mind do when that is happening, understanding the process will help you stop it.
If you were to sit and do nothing during a panic attack, not move or even express anything with your face, nothing would happen; Your heart would beat rapidly, you would sweat, and you would breathe heavily. You wouldn't come to any harm, you wouldn't be in any danger, and you would have nothing about which to later feel badly. It is not the panic attack itself, but your reaction to the panic attack that matters.
I have a history with panic attacks, myself, they fucking sucked and I hated them with all my being. Every sinew in my body burned with hatred after I came out of a panic attack, and it wasn't hatred at myself, hating myself would have made it worse. it was hatred at my loss of control. After so many months of multiple panic attacks a day, of madly calling people on the phone to come and sit with me so I could calm down, I asserted with myself that I was going to stop it.
I began to sit myself calmly in a comfortable space that I set aside just for myself, that space in the house was for nothing else but me when I needed it. I ended up spending a lot of time there. I would sit on a pillow in that space with a pencil and a single piece of paper. I would sit quietly for several minutes, breathing very slowly, and then I would open my thoughts to what was sending me into a panic attack, and then I wrote it on the paper in front of me so that I had a visual representation of what was troubling me.
It worked. I started to suffer a panic attack, but I refused to move. I sat on that spot on the floor and I held my hands on my thighs, fingers extended so I wouldn't scratch myself, and I literally fought with myself internally for control. Every reaction to that panic attack was to jump up, run to a phone and get someone to come sit with me, because I hated being alone, and that was all my brain was screaming at me: "I hate being alone!" over, and over, and over, it was a maddening experience. But I did not move
That by no means fixed the problem, but what it did do was stop me from making the problem worse
Make a place for yourself. Make it comfortable. Sit there quietly, and just breathe. Breathe slowly
, the slower and deeper you breathe, the calmer you will be. Because you'll notice that when you have a panic attack, you hyperventilate, and hyperventilating alone feels awful. So you have the panic response to your troubles, THEN you have the panic onset by the sudden lack of oxygen in your lungs from breathing like a drowning fool. That is a panic all on its own.
From now on, do not react
to your panic attacks, respond
to them. Reacting is knee-jerk, involuntary. Responding is calculated, determined, disciplined. Choose beforehand what you will do to calm yourself down, and then do it when you have to.
If you ever need to vent or just talk, my inbox is always open.
Always remember that you deserve the same chance at pursing your happiness as anyone else. Never allow anyone or anything to stifle your will to live happily, this includes yourself! Most importantly, never forget that you matter, and you are not alone.If panic attacks are a train, then you must be Hancock.
(Sans the train wreck aftermath)