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MHM : Anxiety !

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Content Moderator Saturnia 🖤
June 14th, 2021 2:58:08pm
2,766 Posts

 

Welcome back to Mental Health Mondays - with me! So, quite a few of you asked that I cover Anxiety and Panic Attack Disorders and ways to cope with panic attacks. So, let's crack into it! 
 

So, before we delve into how to calm the panic attacks. First, let's take a look at what exactly is Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. 
*NOTE* I am not a licensed professional. So, while I am gonna give info, advice and tips, ultimately the best way to get answers and more personalized, effective treatment - is to seek out a local MH professional.* 

 

From the National Institue of Mental Health, there are many different types of anxiety disorders. Website link : https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/ 
Some of the most notable are : 
1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (I have this diagnosis!) - "People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) display excessive anxiety or worry, most days for at least 6 months, about a number of things such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances. The fear and anxiety can cause significant problems in areas of their life, such as social interactions, school, and work." - NIMH. 
I like to call this the "being anxious all the time about all the things for no apparent reason". Now, that may sound a bit harsh. Please don't take offense! That is my light hearted way of explaining it to others when I am personally asked what it means. 

2. Panic Disorder - "
People with panic disorder have recurrent unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden periods of intense fear that come on quickly and reach their peak within minutes. Attacks can occur unexpectedly or can be brought on by a trigger, such as a feared object or situation."-NIHM. 


3. Phobia Related Anxiety Disorders- " phobia is an intense fear of—or aversion to—specific objects or situations. Although it can be realistic to be anxious in some circumstances, the fear people with phobias feel is out of proportion to the actual danger caused by the situation or object."-NIMH
This is where OCD , PTSD, Agoraphobia, Separation Anxiety, and Social Anxiety come in to play. 

So, now that we know a small basis for the 3 types of anxiety/panic disorders. Let's chat about some of the symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks :



  • Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge

  • Being easily fatigued

  • Having difficulty concentrating; mind going blank

  • Being irritable

  • Having muscle tension

  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry

  • Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep

  • Heart palpitations, a pounding heartbeat, or an accelerated heartrate

  • Sweating

  • Trembling or shaking

  • Sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking

  • Feelings of impending doom

  • Feelings of being out of control


Those are just a few of the symptoms with panic and anxiety disorder. Now, here's the fun fact! Not all panic attacks are rocking back and forth while crying or trying to catch a breath! That's right. Sometimes a panic attack can be as simple as an outburst of anger or dissociation. This article that is medically peer-reviewed is a great source for further identifying panic vs anxiety : https://www.verywellmind.com/anxiety-attacks-versus-panic-attacks-2584396

A thing to remember - while panic attacks and anxiety attacks are pretty common, symptoms can vary from person to person depending on your traumas or experiences/stressors. You are not alone, even if it seems like "why is this happening to only me?!" .

 

Now, I know what you're thinking ... "That's great, Sat. But how do I make it stop?!" . Well, lucky for you - I've been dealing with GAD and Social Anxiety since K-5/Kindergarten. So, again, I am NOT a licensed professional. But these are my own personal tips and tricks that have helped me over the years. 
1. Identify what the trigger is. For me, one of my big triggers is not being able to breathe. When I feel like I can't breathe well, I start to breathe really shallowly and very quickly. I start hyperventilating basically and it feels like my throat is closing up. 
Another trigger is being overly stressed. When I have too much on my plate and a lot of people asking a lot of things of me all at once - I start to get very overwhelmed and that is when my anxiety takes over. I start thinking "Omg.. I'm never going to be able to get this all done - I have no clue where to even start - I have no idea what I'm doing - everyone is waiting on me and I'm gonna be letting them down - I can't do this" and so on. 
2. Plan your attack. No, not plan out having a panic attack. Plan out your attack against the panic! Since I know what my triggers are - I know the best ways (for me) to target them. When I feel like I can't breathe, I stop - sit down - and force myself to breathe in and out in time with a gif I found. breathe in for 5, hold for 3, release for 5. This biologically forces your brain and your lungs to slow down and process the air and realize on a biological level that you are okay. 
With my over stress - I stop and take the time to brain dump. I write down EVERY single task, thought, reminder, note that I need to know or feel that I need to remember. Write it all down. I make a list of what I need to do in order of importance. I also play a calming playlist and slowly go step by step through each task. No time limits, no pressure. Just getting things done 1 step at a time. 

"Alright Sat - enough trying to be sooo polished, give us the good detail!" 
Here are 2 breathing gifs that I use to calm my breathing down : and
Here is a calming sound youtube video that I play and watch/listen to : https://youtu.be/2OEL4P1Rz04 and also https://youtu.be/SCWtZihkAE8
I like Sleeptube's channel because they have the circle imagery that helps you to pace your breathing. 

Here are some other helpful tricks
- Lavendar . If you are able to handle essential oils/smells - Lavendar is an INCREDIBLE calming scent. 
- Crystals! If you are like me and believe in the healing power of crystals : Amethyst , Rose Quartz, and Labrodorite are 3 well known crystals for helping reduce anxiety/stress. 
-The 5's Trick . Grounding yourself and re-centering yourself also helps! Name 5 things for each of your senses : 5 things you can see, 5 you can hear, 5 you can touch, 5 you can smell.. 
- Get out! If you are stressed due to your environment and it is safe for you - WALK AWAY. Go take a walk, go to the freezer in the back of the restaurant, go outside, open a window. Move away from the source. 
- Tea Time! - If you are a tea drinker, any chamomile tea is lovely for calming effects! 
-LOOK A SQUIRREL! - Distract yourself. Sometimes even just a simple distraction is all it takes to re-route your brain to stop focusing on the stress. Scroll through funny videos, listen to your favorite music, call or text a trusted friend. Come to HP and methodically train your animals! Whatever it is that is a healthy distraction for you. 
- Mindfulness. Practicing meditation or yoga (even for 5 minutes a day) can be very helpful. Practicing stilling your mind and calming your mind is very helpful! 
-Get active! Now, I understand that getting active is not always the solution. A lot of doctors will recommend this and as someone who enjoys laying on the couch - I understand that exercise isn't always a great option. It gets you moving, but maybe that doesn't work for you. And that is okay! 


Finally, if none of this seems to help - go and talk to a professional. Going to therapy (if you can afford to) is not something to be ashamed of! Being able to go in and talk to someone and just vent away and be listened to - is so healing! And for some, medication can help. That is not something to be ashamed of, either! If it helps you, that is all that matters. 

Remember this :  . 

And you still have my anonymous form where you can go vent to your hearts content!
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdzfQIXJufNmxEBRZes4l1nj4zWJPt22WsBhL8jPisAjg7qGA/viewform?usp=sf_link




 


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↬ PRYNNE 🐇 the moon knows all my secrets
June 15th, 2021 11:53:13pm
1,366 Posts

As someone who has also dealt with intense anxiety ever since I can remember and has had several panic attacks in my life, this is a great list of tips and tricks to help combat it! I've used many of these exercises in tough situations in the past. My favorites are breathing exercises and the 5's trick. I've also been getting back into crystals and like to keep a few on me when I'm out, if not only for their healing properties but also as a fidget tool to distract myself (and can also double as part of the 5's trick exercise!). Thank you for sharing it so others can find some relief from it as well. ♥


I know it might not be everyone's cup of tea, but in the past month I've started taking THC-free CBD gummies when I know I'm going to have a stressful day or sense anxiety coming on and it has been helpful in reducing the severity of symptoms for me. I still feel a little anxious, but it feels a lot easier to deal with and regulate. 




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adeina ❧ Marley Moo for Mascot!
June 16th, 2021 4:50:46am
1,653 Posts

This is a great read, thank you Sat. I too suffer with intense anxiety and take Citalopram to keep it at bay. Work is my trigger, so I feel thankful to have at the very least identified it - it is only in the mornings as well, pre-9am before I get into the office. Once I am in a situation I have control over and the ability to sit down and think about how to act, I am fine, but the fear of the unknown and 'I wonder what I'm going to walk in to today' is what cripples me. I also have hyperhyrosis which triggers my social anxiety, but I am working on this with breathing exercises, lots of water and losing weight (which I also need to do for my health because I'm on the verge of Type 2 Diabetes).


Rescue Remedy is a great herbal alternative to medication and whether it does actually work I'm not sure, but the psychological thought process behind it sure does!


I hope everyone is okay, and don't forget, HP is a big family and we're all here for you!




 

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Content Moderator Saturnia 🖤
June 16th, 2021 5:06:38pm
2,766 Posts

Prynne - Thank you! I am so happy to hear that it helped!! I also have CBD gummies, but I was scared to recommend those since I know that isn't everyone's cup of tea and I consider it an 18 topic. So I decided not to share that little bit. 

Clover - Thank you as well!! I used to be on Citalopram, so I am very familiar with that one! It was very helpful, but for me.. I was a zombie. They had me on a very high dose, so I was a shell of no emotions. So, I spoke with my doctor and decided to get off of it. Fear of the unknown is sooo true! That is a big trigger for me as well. I like to be as prepared as possible for all situations. 

Sending so much love and good vibes to you both! Thanks for taking the time to read this ♥ 

I'm thinking about covering depression next week! 




 

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