Wednesday, July 09, 2014

8 Steps to Relieve Anxiety Without Big Pharma Making a Buck

We all have our limits with anything. Every one of us stresses over particular things in life because we all hold different lifestyles. Some have kids, some have demanding jobs, some have troublesome relationships and marriages and others just have anxiety disorder stemmed from PTSD or going through a rough patch from something in the past. We all look fine on the outside, but on the inside, some of us are dying. I remember watching this woman at work who was directing a seminar on "better customer service". I couldn't believe how chipper and outgoing she was. She was zipping from one side of the room to the other, full of excitement and positive energy. You never saw this woman without a smile. It was like - wow - can someone be this happy all the time? I sat there and envisioned her having some sort of mental breakdown. Her happiness was so extreme that I entertained myself with these scary images of her curling up into a ball screaming and crying in some corner of the room. I don't know why those thoughts entered my mind, but I do know that months later, she did have a nervous breakdown and eventually, had to leave the company for good.

Anxiety comes in many forms. Some have a full blown panic attack, while others may drink it away. Some have insomnia while others develop phobias and become a recluse to society. My anxiety shows up when I'm trying to fall asleep at night. My body violently jerks me awake as if I'm having a mild seizure. Even sleep studies showed that it was nothing but anxiety. They're also known as "hypnic jerks" or "sleep jerks". And so, it's a matter of relaxation techniques that are very challenging for someone going through anxiety disorder to maintain. For me - if I know I'm trying to relax myself, my body fights it, so that I can't concentrate on feeling better. My mornings are much better. I developed this fear of going to bed at night. So when night falls, my fear kicks in. This pattern has gotten worse as the symptoms were just relentless. My bed has become my torture chamber. I fear it. The morning is my savior, if of course, I had gotten at least 4 hours of sleep.

The worst thing you can do to someone experiencing panic attacks is diagnose them with "something". It's not your job. And not only isn't it your job, it's insulting and demeaning. I also find it insulting when people try telling me, "Here, take this pill! And oh, you should go on this medication!" I don't believe in medication. I believe people get hooked on pharmaceutical poison and the "big business" stays…big. So what - I go on Klonopin to only get addicted to this narcotic? And then people want to give me antidepressants so it'll help with my…anxiety? That right there is the biggest pharmaceutical lie ever: antidepressants are for people who are depressed. There was one time I had actually tried all the antidepressants available. You know what they gave me? Anxiety. it's because it's not meant for high strung anxiety-stricken people. It's meant for lifeless, depressed people who cannot get out of bed. It gives you energy. It helps to push you to your limit. And for me, one of these medications gave me a full blown seizure where I had to be taken to the ER for help.

No wonder why everyone is such a mess. They're relying on pills and then drinking themselves into a coma. And I'm no stranger to tapping into my wine here and there, but I have seen a lot of my friends self-medicate themselves to the point of forgetting even if they had kids at home. This world has gotten so crazy - we're overwhelmed and so unhappy - all of us. And I can safely say ALL of us. And nobody should be giving advice to anyone else other than their psychotherapists. But of course, people are "too proud" to see a shrink or get real help from someone who can practice CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) on them, and then again, who has the money to see someone for 45 minutes and shell out $200 a week?? That's just crazy. I can go to my family doctor, get x-rays to see if I have kidney stones and pay $10.00 as a copay. But 45 minutes of a conversation will cost me an arm and a leg? No thank you.

Beware of fakes. There are so many "psychiatrists" who have big degrees on their wall and who are certified as "real shrinks" that do nothing but drink coffee and listen to you ramble on for 45 minutes and then steal all your hard earned cash. (And notice they only accept cash?) I'm in the wrong business. But the last shrink I saw that try to convince me that he could have me fixed within 2 sessions was a complete quack! Not only did he talk about his accomplishments and what music he enjoyed, but he took me for a tour of his 4,000 sq ft home. Unprofessional. And this guy is supposed to be this top notch psychiatrist and professor in my area. He even showed me his hot tub outside of his home. So, now he has wasted 10 minutes of my time that I'm paying for. As we eventually got into 'talk therapy', so he could get to know me a bit better, he was completely scatterbrained that I had to ask him to repeat what I had just told him. He couldn't.

Fired.

I think the best "professionals" are those who have or are experiencing anxiety and panic disorder. What works for them? What helps them calm down? And I have learned a few techniques of my own that may help you if you're suffering.

So here is my "free" advice:

  1. First of all, do not let anyone's "advice" absorb into your mind. Once they start talking about which medications that you should be on while they're holding a glass of scotch -- hold out your hand right to their face. Say, "STOP." Don't allow them to feed you this garbage. There are so many people who have anxiety disorder themselves, even worse off, who pretend they're "okay" and then try to feed you garbage so that they feel like they've helped in some small way. 
  2. Push away people who overwhelm you. You don't have to write a Dear John letter. You just have to stop letting these toxic people into your life. This even goes for family members, if that applies to you. Stop letting arrogant know-it-alls try to tell you what to do or what you should be doing. Dismiss them completely.
  3. Go to your higher being (GOD) or whoever you pray to. Pray for a hedge of protection around your entire body, mind, soul, spirit and heart. Pray for health, mental and physical. But the best way to get this help is to not only pray, but to meditate and "listen". We pray and pray and pray and wonder why we don't get a response. LISTEN. Feel it. Trust it. It may feel or sound 'cooky', but this is what truly works for me, when I let it. 
  4. Drop everything. The world will go on without you. Even if it's for one day, give your kids to a babysitter or spouse. Tell them, "I'm having a mental breakdown, please help me!" Too embarrassed to say that? Then explain that you will not be able to function properly if you don't have this "mental health day". And whether that day consists of a mani/pedi, message, spa treatment or just simply sitting by the lake on a beautiful day and/or watching rerun episodes of Roseanne in your bedroom - that's YOUR getaway.
  5. Just say no. Simple as that. Whenever you are stressed or pressured to be present at some event and you don't want any part of it - just. say. no. Don't confuse this with having anxiety about going - because you should definitely do things in fear - I'm talking about not having the desire to be around people you don't necessarily enjoy spending time with. I remember my dad telling me, "She's right! If she doesn't want to go, why should she?" Then he glanced over at me and said, "I wish I could say no!" My friend recently just told me the same thing. "If it's not your cup of tea - why should you be miserable and waste your time on something that's not of interest?" And yes, while we should do things we don't want to do, it's important to put limitations on certain things. 
  6. Sit outside. I'm talking, for hours. (Not all in the sun mind you.) There's something about being outside that rejuvenates your entire wellbeing. Fresh air, vitamin D from the sun, the sounds of birds - being in the elements helps me a lot. But don't expect me to do this if it's 100 degrees out. You'll find me in the A/C watching the outside on TV. 
  7. Especially when you are stressed out, eat nutrient dense meals - meaning, eat the eggs without the empty nutrients of breads. Eat a hamburger without the bun with tons of veggies and fresh garden salads. Try incorporating avocados into your meals. I even put them on my plate when I make a couple of eggs for myself. Most of all, I take 3,000 IUs of vitamin D every single day and try to get extra sun into my regimen. NO sugar (if you can). No corn with your barbecues. Lots of blueberries, coconut water and be fully hydrated. Food is medicinal. It can really make a difference in how you feel. 
  8. Go "OCD" crazy and clean your area and house. Clean until you can't clean anymore. Just being in a beautiful and clean environment will lift your spirits up and calm your nerves. If I see my area is cluttered, my anxiety goes through the roof. I'm also big on ambient lighting. Try to make your home as cozy as you can - I don't care if you're in some studio apartment or some teepee down the street. Own it. Make it happen. Now, if you're spiritual like myself, you have probably heard that a cleaner environment invites positive energy into your home. I even heard that angels only visit when it's clean. I guess they have OCD too. 

Take the advice of a crazy lady! 
That's all I have for now. But remember, eliminate the bad static in your life and create new positive forces that'll help you maintain your sanity when you're feeling overwhelmed. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but isn't it better to hear from someone who goes through it, instead of someone who doesn't know a thing about panic and anxiety, trying to give you unsolicited advice? It's like an AA director who has never touched a drink. Would you want her help? Of course not.  Feel better and let me know if those little tips helped you. I have an area if you look to the right of this blog that lets you write in. It's a message box. Please let me know how this has helped you or if this has helped at all.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!