Thursday, 7 May 2015
Coping with Anxiety and Panic Attacks
If you suffer with an Anxiety Disorder and Panic attacks , then you will know just how awful these can be. And that they can really interfere with your everyday life.
For me I have suffered with Anxiety and Panic attacks all my life, due to the Trauma and abuse I faced as a child, However I didn't actually realize what it was until I was about 19.
I had seen a video that someone had made on You tube, about their Anxiety disorder, and everything they said was exactly the same feelings I was having.
From then on I decided to research further into the disorder and How i could cure my Anxiety and Panic attacks, however for those of you who suffer with this you will know that it really isn't that simple, and can take a long time, and really changing the way you think.
At around this same time, my anxiety was at the worst point it had ever been, and I couldn't even leave the house, even for something as simple as going to the shop, it made me panic like crazy.
I was at university at the time and I had stopped going in because i was just so afraid of having a panic attack on the way there, or in class in front of everyone.
So I knew that I really needed to do something about this and get it under control.
Below are the steps I took in order to manage my Anxiety and panic attacks and a few things I have learn't over the years, to help me cope with them.
Go see your Doctor
I would definitely advise this as the first step for you to take as, your doctor will be able to help and advise you.
They may offer you medication, however most doctors tend not to give out Anti Anxiety medications Benzodiazepines, as Long term these medications can be very addicting, and can cause more harm than good. However they may offer you a low dose Anti Depressant which can be useful in the treatment of Anxiety.
Medication is a slight help but for the most part it will take more than medication to solve anxiety.
My doctor offered me counseling which i found quite useful, however for me I needed something a little more intense, I also tried Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), but this service was only offered for a short period of time so wasn't really enough, I then tried Psychotherapy which I still see my therapist now and I have found this to be the most useful treatment for myself, as this is a long term therapy that is a lot more in depth and really works with you as an individual.
Medication and Therapy are all well and good, but when you suffer with something like Anxiety you really are the one in charge of your condition, and have to really help yourself.
Like I said before when I was at my worst, I wasn't even leaving the house, which was possibly one of the worst things, I could have done.
By doing this I was basically telling myself that I couldn't do something like go to the shop, and the more you do that the more your brain starts to believe it, so I was letting my Anxiety win.
So what you have to do is really try hard to keep on with your normal routine and push through those feelings of Anxiety and tell yourself I can do this!
Maybe you will have a panic attack when you are out, but a panic attack is really not dangerous it can't kill you.
For me going out was difficult because I felt if I did have a panic attack that people would be looking at me and thinking I was crazy and laughing, but really people aren't paying much attention to you at all, and they probably wouldn't even notice if you were having one.
And even if they do, its not really a big deal A panic attack is something perfectly normal and many people do suffer with them, so you aren't alone. I know there are also a lot of people who don't understand them and are ignorant, but that's there issue really.
So please don't stop going out, and doing the things you usually do, and if friends invite you out say yes the more you push yourself, to do these things, the more it will build up your confidence, and you will feel you are able to do them.
Tell people close to you about your Anxiety
Letting friends and family members know about your anxiety, will help them understand a little more about your behavior, and when you have panic attacks, will be able to help calm you down.
Although your friends and family members, may not fully understand your anxiety, if they truly care for you they will try their best to understand.
Meditation and Yoga
Trying something like meditation and yoga can really help to relieve stress and free the mind of anxious thoughts, so give it a go, it doesn't hurt to try.
Eat Healthy & Exercise
For some Anxiety can be caused by the foods they eat, so sticking to a clean diet of lots of fruits and veggies, keeping it balanced with protein and carbohydrates and staying away from processed foods as much as possible.
limit your caffeine intake as this raises your heart rate and stress levels
Also don't drink too much Alcohol as this can make your Anxiety worse.
So stick to none or little amounts of alcohol.
Exercise is great for relieving stress, so aim to do 30mins of exercise each day even something as simple as walking.
Get enough sleep
Aim for 6-8 hours a night for some we need more.
These are very useful when you are having a panic attack, and need to calm yourself down.
the technique is to inhale on a count of 8 using your belly breath so you stomach will expand, and exhale on a count of 8, and your stomach will contract.
You may found it helpful to look for a tutorial on this try you tube, also yoga and meditation is really good for teaching you the correct breathing techniques.
music can be very therapeutic, try listening to your fave songs, I find upbeat music to be better, and put your earphones in when you go out and just get lost in the music, and this will help to keep your mind of worrying and having panic attacks.
I hope you find these techniques to be useful for you, It can take time for it to get better like with all things it won't just happen over night, but being consistent with these things and having a positive outlook, and a good support system will really help, and it will get better.
lots of love