So I have taken some time off recently from the whole online world. Life gets busy and grown up things happen. For this particular post I wanted to touch on the subject of panic attacks and anxiety. Now I was a bit dubious to open up about this at first but then thought if it could help one person or spark some thought then that is enough. Mental health is being made more aware and talked about more and more and I feel the more people share their stories, the more others can benefit and learn.
The other week I was in our house and had a panic attack, my heart was thumping – I felt it was going to jump out my chest. I found it hard to catch my breath and all my energy was zapped from my body. This feeling wasn’t new to me, I have suffered with panic attacks in the past so when I feel one start I try to calm myself straight away with acknowledgement, acknowledge that I know what it is and that I am safe (at least you try to believe that in your panic).
This particular episode I had another attack straight after which I hadn’t experienced before, usually I can catch my breath, get calm and relax again but this time another waved over me but this time with tears and fear. It can be scary but like I said; knowing what it is and acknowledging what is happening to you, you can try to reassure yourself that you will be ok. I feel that this is key. After a little while I managed to get myself together – with a little help from my man Matt being there to ground me.
Sometimes life can get on top of you and you can feel like you are being swallowed up. Work, friends, family, life. The problem is though, you may not always notice it until one day it just hits you. I wanted to share some ways in which you can try to handle them, now I am no doctor and these are just my personal ways in handling my own attacks – but I felt maybe you or someone you know can take something from it.
It sounds so simple but it is true and fact that the breath and its rhythm can and will calm you. I always try breath in for 4 pushing out my stomach, hold and then exhale out for 4. I was taught this in yoga which has stayed with me since. Meditating is a really great way to keep calm and keep yourself balanced. You can find different meditation techniques in books, apps, videos or even you can join in and go to one in your local area.
Now in the mist of my attacks alongside trying to use my breath to slow me down, I visualize a place of calm, a happy place. Mine sounds a bit strange, it’s a bench looking out to a view under a blossom tree in the warm sun, with blossom petals all around my feet. I have never been to this place I just created it. Yours can be anything, take a moment to think what things or place make you happy and then combine them and see where you are. This is my go to when things get too much.
Gorgeous blossom image by M.Rainford Photography
I love a good quote, always have done whether it is within a song lyric or a quote or from a book, film or person. They keep me calm and make me check in and put things into perspective. I have been given many quote books in the past, some pocket-sized which are perfect to carry around.
Write a list
Get organised, write a list if your mind feels full and see how you feel once it is all written down. Night time can be the worst, as soon as the light goes off I feel my head switch on as it decides to run through every little tiny thing from the now, future and even things that have happened 10 years ago?! Bets thing to do – note pad by the pad and write it down. Get it out of your head and on to paper.
I feel like nowadays there are so many books available that can help with times of anxiety. Whether they help you to understand it a little bit better or help you in ways to keep you calm, here are some of my favourites:
It is so easy to go about your day and pretend that everything is ok. I am still working on being better at talking more! Talking to people and off-loading is really important, whether it is to family, partners, friends or co-workers – you will rarely find someone who isn’t willing to listen and they might even have some experience or advise to offer up to help.
Most of us are all terrible at doing this! Putting yourself first. Sometimes we are so on the go and in a hurry that we forget to check in with ourselves, make time to stop and do things that we want to do. Self care, we all need to not look at is as being selfish – if anything we need to be more selfish! Have a pamper evening, go for a walk, curl up and read a book don’t forget to look after yourself too.
My good friend Rosebud & Chocolate has the right idea in her picture. My favourite self care: bath, candles and a good read.
Some may roll their eyes but I am adamant that any form of exercise is good for the your mood and your brain. I have started to run again recently, I have run for years but it can be so easy to stop, to come up with excuses. Too tiered? Too hot? Too cold? Too busy? Even just getting out for 20 minutes I can guarantee I will feel better for it. It is my go to when I have a hard day, go out and clear my head to come back more focused and clearer.
I have grown up with music all my life, I love it. I believe there is a song or a lyric out there for any moment in your life. Like a quote it can pick you up and change your mood. One of my favorites which speaks so much truth:
“The movement you need is on your shoulder” – Hey Jude, The Beatles
I would love to hear from you and any further tips and advise you may have.
Thanks for reading