So when you live life on the border of existence you find it awfully hard to get back into the swing of things, like going to any sort of social gathering, crowded shopping center, or anywhere that is more than a mile from your home without breaking down into a panic episode in which you either throw up, think you are going to need a new pair of pants, or publicly humiliate yourself in one of many unpredictable ways that you are just confident will happen regardless of what you do.
Relax, it happens. We have all been there at one point or another or happen to remain there as a constant state of being.
In this blog, I refer to myself fictitiously as a “ghost.” in which I mean that as far as society is concerned I don’t exist. (until I am randomly summoned for Jury duty that is…) I have agoraphobia, a form of anxiety and panic disorder that makes it extremely difficult to accomplish everyday situations to the point where I hardly leave the house or go outside a one-mile radius of my home. My anxiety has grown over the years, and with it, so has my repertoire of coping techniques.
Now, I am by no means a mental health professional, if you are in need of medical intervention I urge you to talk to someone you love and find a healthcare professional.
But without further adieu.
6 Tips to Overcome Panic.
- The first tip is one that you probably hear all of the time, to the point that you are probably tired of hearing it over and over as it never really seems to help but that is Breathe. When we panic we have a tendency to breathe very shallowly which makes us start to feel lightheaded and claustrophobic like the whole world is closing in. The method of breathing that I have found the most helpful is Nadi Shodhan Pranayama or Alternate Nostril Breathing. A short google search would give a far better explanation than I probably could. But it has been a real life saver for me in times where I felt like I was dying. The gist of it is that you plug one nostril with your thumb on the side of your nose and breathe in deeply to fill your lungs, close that nostril and plug it with your ring finger and exhale from the previously close nostril. Breathe in. Plug. Repeat. This simple method keeps your breathing rhythmic and circular slowly calming your heart rate. The plus side is you don’t have to remember any numbers like other breathing methods. Just breathe.
- Don’t Prepare. Now, I am not saying that you should not be prepared to quell a panic attack when it arises, but do not set yourself up by stocking up on coping products, essential oils, barf bags, and other safety nets. When you do this you are setting yourself up for failure, and even though you may not be thinking it, your body is intelligent and uses these things as an excuse to further perpetuate its own safety mechanisms. When your anxiety becomes touchy to the point where it is easily triggered by, the last thing you want to do is feed into your anxiety paranoia.
- Take Baby Steps. If you followed the previous step then you might be feeling a little frantic confronting the inner demon that is your anxiety and pushing past your previous limits, you feel like you are walking on ground that is growing more and more unstable the closer you inch toward the scary thing that you have to go and do. But this is okay, it is natural, but remember that you are trying to teach your body’s emergency shutdown switch to chill a little bit. Reward yourself for little victories, and allow yourself recovery time after each exertion.
- Talk to yourself. Take a moment to identify with yourself, talk to yourself by name in your mind. Wiggle your toes in your shoes, admire your clothes simply because you like them and they make you feel like you look nice. Acknowledge yourself as a being that is separate from your anxiety. It is something that you can choose to either coexist with it or let it control you. In some cases, it will eventually go away, and others it is just like a crazy paranoid roommate in your brain that is always throwing shit around trying to barricade the doors because of some unseen doom that they believe is coming but you know logically is not. Don’t play into your brainmate’s craziness. Get some autonomy from it inside yourself when you have quiet time to yourself.
- Play Pretend. As odd as it sounds adults always seem to forget how to do this, even though personally I think it makes life so much more fun, now don’t go off the deep end and delve into full on psychosis due to your anxiety, but changing how you view the world, or even yourself in your mind’s eye can do wonders to your self-esteem and how you carry yourself. You are now a 60-foot tall dragon that breathes fire and is beyond mortal comprehension. What does a 60-foot dragon have to be afraid of? Not much really, think, how would a colossal dragon carry itself personality wise? Play, Act, Pretend, even if it just inside yourself, you don’t have to have the world play along with your fantasies. As long as you always come back to being yourself acting can do wondrous things for the brain and can even wire new neuro pathways in the brain overwriting old patterns of anxiety.
- Medicate. Now I say this last tip with the utmost gravity as it has taken me many years to accept the point in which I would even accept medical help of any kind. Know that doctors are not there to judge you and truly want to help you be your best self and get you regulated on whatever medications that may be right for your specific chemistry. Now the adjustment period can be hard and I urge you to please be gentle with yourself if you are struggling with extreme anxiety and medications. You and I both know that there is no miracle cure for anxiety on the market. Because if there was you know it wouldn’t be cheap, and I’d probably already be down a kidney and some other organs I probably don’t need am i right? *wink*
If seeking out medication makes you apprehensive or uncomfortable I completely understand as I used to be in your exact shoes, however, it just got to the point where I could not go without medical intervention of some kind. I do however have a few natural remedies that I can recommend to you as an alternative by request, or in a future post.
I wish you the best of luck with your anxiety, and I pray that you and I can overcome it someday, one step at a time! I’ve got your back and you have my endless support. Best of luck all!