I have been off the radar for a time and have not even written a post for the last 5 weeks, mainly because I’ve been quite poorly. My depression got real bad, with numerous panic attacks and anxiety. It’s been a pretty hellish time for me, and it hasn’t helped not having much work, therefore, I’ve been at home ruminating on worrying thoughts, which is incredibly unhealthy and non-productive.
I’ve been given advice on upping my dose of medication, which has kind of worked, but I always feel that it’s like putting a plaster over a wound. It seals it for the time being but doesn’t quite get to the root of the problem. So some CBT therapy has been booked for me which I hope will put pay to this pretty crappy existence that I’ve been tolerating for too long. I have a couple of close friends that have been wonderful providing much needed support and distraction, and a couple of people I thought genuinely loved me that haven’t given a toss, so basically it’s been a bit of a lonely road.
If you’ve ever had a panic attack or suffer with anxiety you can probably relate to the desperation it can make you feel. You have a sense of losing control, the sweats begin, pounding heart, shaking, tingling hands, numb face, aching muscles, shortness of breath and so on. It can be truly terrifying; but I have learned over time that they cannot hurt you, and the feelings however intense, will pass.
Here are some of the things I do when I begin to have an attack. They won’t work for everyone because we’re all different, but at least if one of them helps you, then it’s worth telling x
Be aware to begin with of any triggers that can set of a panic attack or a bout of anxiety. If you experience anything that causes you to feel anxious, whether its being in a crowd, checking your financial stuff, watching a distressing programme, anything at all, get yourself out of that situation right away. I know therapists can encourage you to face your fears head on to get better, but it’s all about taking little steps, so you need to take care of yourself and be mindful of where you are in the whole stream of things. Set one goal, and don’t rush. A trigger can set off a panic attack which can set you back.
This may seem a little odd but it works for me. If you feel a panic attack occurring, and you are able, go for a walk in the fresh air, and power walk so that it gets your heart pumping. I’ve bought a skipping rope and it’s great for moving the built up adrenaline and channelling it in the proper way. To skip makes me feel exhausted, which ironically makes me feel better. My doctor told me that at one point, when I paid the surgery a visit, going through a panic attack at the time, that I was full of adrenaline and it had nowhere to go. Exercise doesn’t do this for everyone though. It may be a good idea to sit on the floor and do some yoga. Stick on a youtube video and have a go at some deep breathing and yoga stretches. It will calm your mind.
Deep breathing. This helps you to focus on something else if you count along. Inhale through your nose counting to 5 and exhale through your mouth to 5 again, keep doing this until your heart rate slows. This works for me too. I was in a pub not too long back and I started to have a panic attack at the table. My friend held my hand and told me to look into his eyes, or stare at an object to focus. I kept my eyes on a salt shaker!!!, and counted with me to 5 for about 2 minutes. This did ease the attack. It can be uncomfortable in a public place, but there are many of us out there that go through this so it’s not that unusual. It can be done anywhere.
Grounding technique. Look around to find 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. This will help you to focus on something else.
Call a friend. Even if you’re talking crap, just speaking to someone can ease your fears. Tell them what’s happening and the conversation will distract you.
Is there anything that needs doing in the house. I’m decorating at the moment. A few evenings I felt really poorly, so I got out the paint and started glossing the doors. It worked. I painted for about 2 hours and got my doors finished. Anything can be done like this no matter what time of day. Bake a cake, do some ironing, tidy a cupboard, all these things will again distract you.
These are just some of the things I do to manage my anxiety disorder, and I hope that at least one of them helps if you are going through the same thing. x