Before I get deep into this topic today, I want to qualify myself. First off, I’m not a doctor or have any healthcare experience nor have I worked in that field before.
I want to share some ideas to try that might minimize panic attacks especially if you suffer from chronic anxiety. My VERY best advice is to talk to your own physician or psychiatrist especially if you have physical health issues that also need to be addressed. Anxiety can come about due to physical problems as much as experiencing trauma.
In a nutshell 2016 was a very hard year for me and it ended in December with me having a nervous breakdown. The anxiety was the worst I’ve ever felt. Some of my symptoms were:
- Chest pains
- Irregular heart beats
- I couldn’t focus or speak correctly. I wasn’t able to form complete sentences
- Uncontrollable body shaking
I was really scared. I had been trying to keep my anxiety secretive and handle it by myself.
After the breakdown, I couldn’t keep it to myself and my husband could see how serious my condition was. I think it was a month later when I was finally was able to talk about it. Since then, I’ve tried a myriad of self-help remedies and these listed below are ones that really help:
- Don’t deny the problem. I admitted that I am not invincible. I think that when you have a problem especially one that you can’t see on the outside, it’s difficult to admit there is a problem. So admitting that I couldn’t handle my life was the first step. I’d always thought of myself as a tough chick, I was a fiercely independent woman for years.
But, the reality is… none of us has it all together. We have to realize that we need God. And to add to the trauma… all the demands coming from my day job and personal problems while running a business was literally sucking the life out of me. Once I realized there was a problem, I started talking about it. I told my husband all the details of the trauma and all the other demands on my life and that I needed his help and understanding. He and I talked for days/weeks and he was a blessing. He intently listened to me and didn’t try to gloss over my feelings. It helped me a great deal to get all of it off my chest. Talk to someone you can absolutely trust: a best friend, a family member, spouse, professional healthcare person but don’t keep it inside.
- Pray. I’m a devout Christian and I turn to my faith in God for the most part but I was even hiding my feelings, or so I thought, from God. In other words, I would pray for everything else, but I wouldn’t mention the anxiety. I would just ask for God to heal me from being afraid. But I wasn’t specific. It was like I was trying to forget the trauma and trying to stay in control of my “out-of-control” schedule. The Lord cares about us and He wants us to bring our traumas, sadness, confusion, depression to Him. He can heal us from the inside out. I had to talk about how I was feeling with Him, even the parts I didn’t want to admit.
- Read relevant Bible verses. There are many scriptures dealing with fear and anxiety and I looked them up and read them daily. I would search Bible Gateway everyday for them and just try to focus on those verses even saying them out loud.
- Learn to say “no.” There’s an old saying, “Man works from sun to sun but woman’s work is never done”. We women wear so many hats and do several jobs at the same time all while trying to keep up with our looks, weight, attitude and running a household. It’s really too much. And, we have to be honest with ourselves and find ways to minimize these extra responsibilities. So, I’ve gotten to the point of not being afraid to turn down extra work or delegating when possible. Burn out can also lead to anxiety and panic attacks.
- Listen to nature sounds. This is something I started last year. I love to hear waterfalls, rain falling, ocean waves and wind sounds. I find it soothing and so I searched on YouTube and found this channel: “Relaxing White Noise“ and they have a lot of videos anywhere from 3 to 10 hours of continuous nature sounds without music. I listen to these all day while I work and it really helps to keep me calm. If you like podcasts, listen to your favs or try some type of music that’s not too distracting but that soothing and calming.
- Find a prayer partner. This goes along with Tip #1. To have someone praying with you and for you is so helpful. Knowing that you have a prayer partner who is trustworthy and has your best interest at heart can give you strength.
Life doesn’t stop just because we do. We have to be able to carry on so don’t take for granted your emotional and mental well being. Take the necessary time you need to reset, to relax and if you are experiencing extreme fear due to a trauma or if you’re just feeling overwhelmed, please talk to a healthcare professional. But, don’t ignore your symptoms like I did. Sooner or later you’ll explode so taking necessary steps beforehand is so vital.
Be sure to read my previous post, “Fear doesn’t have to make us Slaves“