Posts Tagged ‘Self-Help’

It has been a while since I have posted and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’m more busier – without the gripping anxiety I was feeling every time I thought about going anywhere – I’m able to do things and visit people I didn’t think I would be able to ever again. Maybe it’s because i feel guilty – I know there are others out there who are where I was a year ago – I don’t really know what to say to make it better. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to remember – by reminding myself that I have anxiety will I create more anxiety?

What I do know is that it’s a bit like being a drug addict – you always need to fight against the urge to “freak out”, remember what you have been taught which some days is easier said than done. Recently it has been harder.

Last week I had my first full-blown panic attack for about six months while I was at the supermarket. It didn’t last too long and I was able to sit it out and then carry on with the shopping and not leave the shop which I have done before. While this in itself is quite small and insignificant I know that this is where it starts. If I dwell on this incident, next time I will already be anxious when I get there so the symptoms will be worse and harder to ignore.

So I have to remember what I have learnt, remember that I can be strong and remember that I don’t want to be chained to the house again.

Therefore, I will be posting my tips on how to overcome anxiety – to help me remember but hopefully it will help others to

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High Anxiety (album)

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Scratching, tensing my muscles, trying to control my breathing (usually by hyperventilating), stamping my feet, blinking quickly, rubbing my eyes, getting out of the situation as quickly as possible. The list of ‘safety behaviours’ are endless – there are probably some I don’t even know I do.   Built up over years of trying to control the anxiety and panic attacks.  Built up one behaviour at a time, as each behaviour proves insufficient against the wave of anxiety so another one must be found to control it further.  Built up until eventaully the bricks have surrounded me and I cannot escape the anxiety or the avoidance behaviours that keep me locked in.

“This week I want you to not do any of these behaviours.  When you feel anxiety, just let it happen.”  These were the words of my cognitive behavioural therapist this week.  It’s that simple.  Yet if it’s that simple why haven’t I done this before? If it’s that simple why have I been wasting my time on these behaviours for years?  Logically, I have known for some time that these behaviours don’t stop the anxiety; that it was probably making it worse, so why didn’t I just stop?

If you’re a councillor and know the biology and psychology it is that simple, or perhaps if you have never had a panic attack it is that simple but the truth is that, despite what I know rationally when I am sitting here now, I also know that when I feel even slightly anxious, I completely believe that what I feel is going to cause me to die.   If you were falling, would you not put your hands out in front of you?  It’s that simple for me!

That is not to say I’m not going to give it a go.  I will try to just let it happen when that nervous feeling whirls around my body. I will try to relax my hands rather than clench them, try to breathe normally rather than hyper-ventilate, try not to twitch, not to scratch, not to fidget or run away.  At best that’s going to take some practice, at worse it’s going to be impossible.  Never the less, I will try as hard as I can – let’s face it –  the behaviours aren’t helping so maybe not doing them will.

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