I am not a doctor and have never had any form of medical training. All the information and ideas I am sharing here today I have gathered over a number of years because I do have Panic Attack Disorder (PAD) – formally known as Anxiety Attacks and Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). I am sharing tips that have been given to me over the year and I found them helpful but nothing can replace you going to a qualified doctor and gaining a formal medical evaluation.
A cheerful hello to you and thank you for dropping by again. I have decided to write a piece about panic and anxiety disorders. As I stated at the beginning my only experiences with this medical condition is as one who had her first panic attack at seven years of age and has been at war with the condition ever since. I am going to share what I have gathered up over the years and hope that it will be of help. Even if you do not have this condition many of the coping methods are nice just to include in your day.
To begin with, this is not a weakness, it is not always obvious, it is not just you being worried, it is not a punishment from ‘God’ because you annoyed him (yes, a Sister of Mercy actually said that to me whilst I was having a full-blown panic attack – I was seven), it is not a sign of craziness or insanity, it is not you being whiny, it is not your choice, it is not life-threatening, and one in three people will experience some form of either PAD or GAD in their lifetime.
I personally fight every day against anxiety, I battle panic attacks, I may keep them at the wall of the fort but it really does not matter because each night till the dawn breaks I wage a war to keep myself living. My depression is not just being ‘sad’, my anxiety is not just worrying, nor it is ‘something’ I play at to get attention, and it is certainly not because I have decided that I no longer want to work but rather head on down to the local Centrelink office to get a benefit. I have an array of tools I use to cope but I am going to make that the last paragraph so it is easy for you to copy down and put up on the fridge for when you need it.
On to some of the more technical details I have gathered up, but do check it with the trained professionals, as I am a Binder and Finisher (Qual), and a School Teacher, and as it is not a book that needs repair or a term paper needing to be marked it is not my field of expertise. Anxiety or panic attacks are when you feel fear and/or anxiety. They often occur ‘out of the blue.’ I know for me what the causes of some of my attacks are, I have gotten to know them over the years and if I feel there is an immediate danger with no chance of escape, everything closes in – some of mine are a busy shopping centre or a bus that is full, then I will have an ‘episode’. However, at other times, panic attacks can occur without any reason. Panic attacks and their symptoms can last for a short time, no more than a couple of minutes to hours. Whilst you are experiencing the attack, you will have an incredible amount of fear, apprehension, worry, nervousness, fearfulness, agitation, and suspicion, that is accompanied by overwhelming urge to escape, a feeling that you are about to lose control, and often (I do, and some of the others I have spoken to, do as well), think that they may even die. The feelings and symptoms that along with these panic episodes can be so strong that just the idea of having another one will cause enough of an emotional response that it will do just that. Do not ever believe that your panic attacks have not created a strong physiological, psychological, and emotional response for you, and this is why you fear them, even as you have no control over them happening.
Before I go to sharing some of the odds and bods I have collected over the years to help me cope, I will say that there are numerous websites that offer ‘guidance’ for the many ‘things’ that impact on the brain, but please never just accept it because it sounds good, I have a couple of very serious medical conditions, and I have a balance of Western medicine and ‘traditional’ remedies to keep my body and mind working as it should things.
As I promised earlier I am going to share some of the things that I do to help me cope with my anxiety. First, however, I am going with the list of ideas for you to introduce into your life that can help reduce the level of pressure you put yourself under:
1) it is okay to run late,
2) it is okay to not get everything finished…that is what tomorrow is for!
3) it is okay to take a break and have that coffee and chocolate.
4) it is okay to say NO!
5) it is okay to answer that email or phone message tomorrow.
6) it is okay to have that sleep in or take that cat-nap.
7) it is okay to turn off ALL technology and ignore the world…try having a lavender scented bath with your favourite music playing, or read that book you have been looking at for months.
8) it is okay to indulge in what YOU WANT TO DO!
This is the list I have assembled over the years, and I always swap it around depending on what I have happening in my life at the moment.
a) sitting in the sun.
b) going for a walk (not a run or jog).
c) having a drink of herbal tea.
d) having a bath with lavender oil.
e) taking omega 3, multi-vitamins/minerals (consult with your doctor).
f) eating oranges.
g) try doing an adult colouring.
h) keeping a journal – does not have to just be written.
i) using lavender oil as an aromatic burn at home, especially in your room of an evening.
j) fresh juice with your water.
k) jigsaw puzzles are well known for there soothing qualities. I personally love them but a couple of others have told me that they have anything but a calming effect.
I hope that this has been of some help and please feel free to share. I have had times where I can not even go from one room in the house to another, much less deal with anything else. Anxiety is very real and living with it is a nightmare, from which you often pray for death rather than have to go through another day. Please seek help, there is no shame in having a medical condition that requires support.
This is the link for beyondblue website in Australia. It is a wonderful site where you can find all sorts of tips. ideas and support.