Tuesday, April 02, 2019

My 4 Go-To Coping Skills When I'm Having a Panic Attack

It's late at night and you're scrolling through your social media feeds hoping that something will either be funny, inspiring or thought provoking. You try not looking at the time, but each time you do, 12 midnight turns into 1am, 2am, 3am, and so on. And you think to yourself, "How did I manage to do a bunch of nothing in the course of three hours?" You set your phone back down on your nightstand, hoping the sandman has made his final entrance, to only find that your mind races through the 'what ifs' for the next day ahead, and the worries about how you will manage to get everything done in such few hours of sleep. Insomnia is so common, but it's not technically "panic disorder," unless the panic attacks are keeping you up at night. What I discovered is that random panic attacks, like rapid heartbeat, palpitations or hyperventilation out of nowhere, is panic disorder. The reason why they call it a "disorder" is that you start to avoid places that you've experienced a panic attack, like supermarkets, certain places and even someone in particular. You fear another random attack, so you shy away from it all. That's the disorder. Some would call it "agoraphobia" while initiating the first label, "panic disorder." Call it what you want---it sucks. For the past month, I've been experiencing this for myself. It's scary because when I'm home alone, my heart races up to 130 bpm, palpitates even if I think about leaving the house to go to the grocery store or drive off to do something. If I plan something with friends or a trip to go visit someone, that alone will set it off---the anticipation alone will trigger one sometimes. I started to fear my morning coffee, to only fear the massive headaches that come with the withdrawal itself. I'm sure some of you are nodding your heads right now.

So there are way that have helped me tremedounrly. Mind you, I'm still learning how to cope with them. Some days are horrific, while other days are completely fine. Today is an "okay" kind of day, some heart racing but nothing too out of control. (I'll take it!)

Faith

First and foremost, my faith in God gets me through most of my struggles. It's hard sometimes because there are those days where I just can't 'hear' God. I can't see the signs for some reason. But with all the 'static' in my mind and in my heart, how are we supposed to be in tune with our Creator? Even when other religions meditate, they tell you to breathe deeply, so that your body is calm and clear. Praying while you're anxious will only set off complaints that God isn't helping. So I learned to put on some peaceful music, like "Sounds of Nature" on Pandora. They have an assortment of different instruments with the sounds of streams, birds, rainstorms and ocean sounds. As you calm down, begin to pray and while you pray, be patient to receive an answer. Be completely open to it. During my grieving period after my mother died, prayer and meditation was my only 'go-to' that relieved my deep sadness and anxiety. They did a study between believers and non-believers during their grief. The ones who believed in God were coping much better than those who did not believe. Their faith held them together, giving them hope and comfort during their time of mourning. 

Jnana Mudras 

Fold the index fingers inside root of the thumbs. Straighten fingers of each hand so that they are relaxed and slightly apart.

BENEFITS:
Redirects the energy inwards
Internalizes the mind
Calms the mind.
Reduces the distractions arising in the mind.

For me, this practice calms my heart rate down significantly. I can feel the pulse slowing down inside the two fingers touching while I am doing my deep breathing exercises. You'll notice a huge increase in your calmness. I can't say enough good things about this small little trick that somehow is another go-to of mine. I found the info on this site here.

Calming Youtube Videos

One of my favorite Youtube go-to for anxiety videos is "Spoken Affirmations for Panic Attacks, Anxiety and to Calm Down (Using the Law of Attraction.)"

If you cannot view this video, please click here.


As you begin to listen to this video, you must be in a quiet place. It doesn't matter if you have earplugs or not, just sit somewhere in a quiet environment and the music and affirmations instantly lowers your heart rate. I've been using this video for over a year now. It has become my "911" of all attacks. When I feel like it's just out of control, where I can't breathe deeply by myself, or I can't catch my breath any longer and prayer is out the window because I'm just freaking out---this video will guide you into a very peaceful state of mind. With this video, I can go to a level 10 panic attack, all the way down to a zero---to the point of feeling slightly euphoric. There are many videos out there that'll help relieve your anxiety, but none like this one in my honest opinion.

Writing / Journaling 

Well of course I'd say something so predictable like that. It's actually why I'm writing this right now. I woke up with a racing heart, grabbed my coffee and had a beautiful prayer session. Although my heart was a little jumpy, I sat down to write this out and I feel very calm for the most part. Anxiety typically doesn't go away---it's mainly coping mechanisms and being conscious of where your mind is taking you. As Eckhart Tolle says, when your mind is chitchatting up a storm, let your inner Being look at your mind. It instantly stops. It takes practice, but it does work. Focus on the here and now and even practice some grounding techniques, like counting five objects in your room, say 5 different things that you hear, that you smell, that you taste, that you feel, and go from there. Write out what you're feeling or what you're passionate about. Maybe even create a journal for self-realization. I go back into my handwritten journals, which sometimes helps my current situation. Writing is a form of release---it takes your inner deepest emotions, and purges them on paper, (or computer if you wish.) Most therapists suggest that you create a journal in your most stressful days, especially if you're grieving. There are no rules. You can address it as a letter to God, or even a letter to your loved one---anything goes. Sometimes I just write a list of things that help me, so that in the future, when it does work for me, I like to share it with everyone. I think anyone who suffers with this sort of thing should tell each other what method worked best.

Keep in mind, sometimes one or two techniques will fail you. Just keep creating more and more, until you find your go-to technique. I'm not a fan of medications, however if you need to resort to medication, please see a doctor to see what's best for you. I believe our minds are very powerful, and we already have the tools we need naturally to overcome them. Sometimes though, it takes a little more help medically, and that's OK!

I hope you found these little home remedies of mine helpful. I hope that whoever is reading this right now, feels better, feels calmer and knows that this too shall pass. I have to say that to myself too, by the way.

Best to you.

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