Once You Know it’s Anxiety it Gets Better

Once you know that you suffer from anxiety, it’s easier to cope.  The symptoms of a panic attack can be so scary that the fear induced by it can make it impossible to come out of it quickly.  As soon as you are aware of what is happening, it’s so much easier to talk yourself down.

Get to Know Your Symptoms

For me several things can happen to let me know that I am having a panic attack.  Now that I am more aware of the signs, I can stop myself from spiraling into a fear frenzy.  Fear feeds a panic attack and can prolong the duration of it.  Here are some things that happen to me:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Tightening of the throat – This freaks me out… like my throat will close or that I will swallow my tongue.
  • The urge to tighten certain muscles – I jokingly call this my ticks (even though it’s not funny!).
  • Dizzy, light-headedness with or without nausea
  • Overall feeling of dread or depression – It feels like someone dumps a metaphorical bucket of doom on my head.
  • Lips or other parts get tingly and/or go numb
  • Strange pain in my right shoulder in between my shoulder blade – It’s like a gnawing pain that makes me nauseous.  May be unrelated to anxiety, but it tends to happen every time.
  • Paranoia

Hmmm, after I typed all this I searched for an image.  Pretty spot on…

effects of anxiety

Image Source

 

Those are some of the things that I experience during a panic attack.  Maybe not all at once, but usually a few of those are the definite indicators for me to know what’s going on.  It took me a long time to recognize these symptoms and try to tell myself that, “No, your throat will not close up… this is just a panic attack and it will pass”.  Or, “Oxygen is getting into your lungs, your mind is playing tricks on you right now”.  UGH!  It’s exhausting to say the least.

The worst part about this is that not a lot of people understand.  They cannot SEE what is happening to you.  It’s not like you start bleeding or display any evidence that you are in agony.  It can be viewed as a weakness and something that you should just “get over”.  I think that’s another reason why people seek the help of drugs… not only to escape this feeling, but also to avoid the judgement.

As far as what I do to cope when this happens to me, that’s an ongoing process.  Usually I just try to stay calm and focus on my breathing.  If I can, I will lay down or do something that relaxes me, like watch TV… or any other mindless activity.  The biggest thing is that I want to be HOME.  That’s where I feel the most secure.

If you suffer from anxiety attacks, what are your main symptoms?  And how do you cope?

Comments

  1. I remember my first panic attack when I was a teenager.. I thought I was dying and I was afraid to tell my mom! Once I finally did and saw my doctor.. I was so relieved to find out that I was in fact.. not dying. Once they determined what was going on and gave me tips, etc. It was so much easier to understand and work myself through the attacks.

  2. If I know I am going into a situation where I have had attacks in the past, i take my meds, its the scariest now when I go somewhere I am normally comfortable and have one of the “i think i am having a heart attack” attacks. those are the worst!! Then Im scared to go there..its a vicious cycle. But ive been dealing with them since I was 10 so, Ive learned to deal. Meditation helps, then i know how to control my breathing better:)

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