Let me tell you something about anxiety. There should never be a JUST in front of it. There is no such thing as JUST a panic attack. That’s like saying you JUST felt you heart jump out of your chest, you JUST felt you hands go numb to the point of not being able to pick up the phone to call for help. Or you JUST began to black out and imagined yourself literally dying right in front of your children.
This is what I experienced for the first time a few short days ago and I would not wish it on anyone! While I have experienced anxiety in the past, this attack sent my husband running though red lights to get me to the Emergency Room. When I stumbled in there, I was completely disoriented and could barely form a sentence. My hands turned to claws and I couldn’t even hold my Insurance card. I was hyperventilating and in complete panic!
The E.R. tech sat me down and helped me to calm down. I then had an EKG and a chest x-ray since I had been having chest pains for weeks. I was given a prescription and a referral. I could not help but think about what would have happened if I had been alone with my kids. Thankfully this was not the case, and thinking like that does nothing but cause more anxiety.
While my experience is very personal, I feel the need to share it to hopefully help others to stop feeling so alone. Anxiety is a REAL thing and more awareness has to be brought to this topic.
I am learning to cope with my anxiety in natural ways. I have had too much going on with in my life these days and I reached my breaking point. Now I am learning to slow down and BREATHE!
Here are a few strategies I have found to work when I feel panic coming on:
- DEEP BREATHING – This helps prevent hyperventilating, which brings other symptoms. Focus on taking deep breaths in and out through your mouth, feeling the air slowly fill your chest and belly and then slowly leave them again. Breathe in for a count of four, hold for a second, and then breathe out for a count of four.
- CLOSE YOUR EYES – This reduces the stimuli that may overwhelm you. It also allows me to focus on my breathing with fewer distractions.
- RECOGNIZE THAT IT IS A PANIC ATTACK – This is important to preventing my attack from getting worse. The moment I started to believe that I was going to die and my heart was giving out, that was the moment my arms went numb and I could no longer move my hands. I thought I was dying and my body reacted accordingly.
- FINDING A HAPPY PLACE – I think about my children laughing, or a recent tropical vacation. I take myself out of my current situation and think about something that brought me peace at one point.
- REPEATING OR COUNTING – Song lyrics or a mantra. “This too shall pass”, or an old nursery rhythm. Feeling my pulse and counting heartbeats. For some reason I find this therapeutic and calming. This may actually cause anxiety for some people but it works for me.
My family needs me and I need to take care of myself in order to be the best mom I can be. Taking on too much may seem like the only option at times, but it’s not. Learning to slow down and make time for yourself is the best thing you can do for your mental health.
Please comment with your own personal experiences with anxiety and/or your own suggestions for keeping it at bay. I am new to this and learning as I go.
I haven’t had much of a struggle with anxiety, but it has popped up every now and again. What I find most helpful is your suggestion of repeating or counting. I will repeat Bible verses, or remind myself that I am overthinking, that has helped me a lot!
Repeating Bible verses is a great idea! I find myself saying “this too shall pass”. Anything that helps is worth a try.
Thanks for the tips, I really need this to learn how to calm down. But good thing, my husband gives me few tips too since he does psychology. Breathing exercise and changing location help me!
That’s great that you have your husband to help! I feel like mine tends to make things worse sometimes just because he doesn’t understand it.
Yes!!! Anxiety sucks and panic attacks are just evil. Thanks for the tips.
I completely agree! Getting through it is the important part!
Thank you for sharing these tips! These strategies I feel could help anyone feeling anxious.
Every person and situation is different. HopeFully these tips will help someone.
I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks (though not as severe as yours). It is difficult to explain to people who never experienced it. It is frustrating to hear pepole tell you to just not worry about or calm down. Thank you for shining light in this subject and giving valuable tips.
This was the first time my anxiety ever got to this degree. It really scared me that it could get that bad. Now I understand more about what causes it and how to help prevent it.
I felt this post. I too struggle with anxiety and my husband just doesn’t understand. He almost mocks me (maybe not trying to) but it is so hard. Anxiety takes over and I can not focus, it sucks. I love your tips. I am working through mine, it has only heightened since having kids. I think I worry so much about them. Hang in there! Thank you for your post.
It is hard to understand if you have not experienced it yourself. Mine definitely heightened with kids also. Before my babies, I could handle anything. Hang in there. Many of us go through it. xo
I agree! I don’t think is quite fair to minimize someone’s experience just because it might feel so foreign to them!
thank you for the tips 🙂
I have to admit, I did not understand it until I went through it myself. Teaching others is key. That helps reduce the stigma. Thank you for your thoughts. xo
And by the way i didnt mean to sound harsh :p i am actually the one that has to get more knowledge about this. My husband has anxiety as well so , after a long time, i am starting to understand how it works. So i really appreciate you talking about it and make us all more aware 🙂
I did not read it as harsh at all! Thank you for your kind words 🙂
Thanks for being so brave to bring something so personal and often times downright embarrassing (to some) to light and reminding us that we are all human and sometimes live our days under the influence of the society we live in- which can be fast-paced, demanding, and unforgiving. Unfortunately we forget to do those “simple” things that can help avoid the trifecta of spiraling leading into a dark hole or cave where we are too afraid to speak up or seek help. You’re a beautiful person inside and out! We haven’t spoken in years but I wish you the sweetest of blessings doll! Big hugs, & thanks again Danielle!
Hi Ale! Thank you so much for the incredibly kind words! If I can help just one person to not feel so alone and ashamed when it comes to mental health, I am happy with that. Unfortunately, I had to spiral in order to realize just how important it is to slow down and take care of myself. Now I know my limits. Thank you for reaching out and I wish you nothing but the best. xoxo
[…] me like a shadow out of sight. For myself, I did not step into the light, I was shoved. After my panic attack that sent me to the Emergency Room with my children in the car, I realized that something HAD to […]