Christmas without Panic Attacks
I can’t tell you the last time I had a Christmas that didn’t involve some degree of anxiety and panic. It has become the norm for me to dread the family get together, to worry about freaking out when eating Christmas dinner with my daughter’s dad and his family (we all get on excellently so it’s nice to spend the day together but still usually involves me feeling anxious) and avoiding the shops to steer well clear of the manic crowds. This year has been so different and it’s been amazing. No panic, no fear, despite being ill and sleep deprived.
I can’t tell you exactly why my anxiety has declined but I do know what I’ve been doing to work on it so I thought I would share that with you. Perhaps by sharing I may be able to help you if you’ve experienced an anxiety ridden Christmas and panic attacks in general.
- Writing the blog. Starting Reclusive Fox has pushed me to go outside and visit places I wouldn’t usually visit. I ‘ve been inspired to work through my problems by thinking of the blog and the people who have reached out to me because of it. If you have any form of mental illness I highly recommend you give blogging a try, even if you want to keep it private.
- Taking supplements. I believe that my hormones have played their part in increasing my anxiety problems even though this hasn’t been confirmed by a doctor. I don’t know what I was lacking but I do know that taking Vitamin B has made a remarkable difference in my anxiety disorders and my health in general. I now take Vitabiotics Wellwoman Original that contains vitamin B along with a whole host of other vitamins and what-not. My skin is clearer, I have more energy, my anxiety is dying down and my periods are more regular than they’ve ever been (don’t mean to gross you out with that last one but I think that’s an important thing to mention too).
- Positive thinking and affirmations. I replace negative thoughts with positive ones. It was a bit tough to convince myself that the positive thoughts were true but over time it has become so much easier. When negative thoughts creep in – what if I have a panic attack for example – I would ignore the thought and replace it with something else such as focusing on what I was going to buy, who I was going to see, how good it will feel to have achieved what I wanted. I also use affirmations when I feel a panic coming in – telling myself I am strong and that all is going to be well. I still love the affirmation ‘I’m a warrior not a worrier’.
- Welcoming in panic attacks. Fear of the panic attack is often what causes a panic attack to arrive. I have combatted this problem by mentally telling the panic attack to come and do its worst. To hit me and get it over with so I am able to continue my day. This has been surprisingly effective.
- Lavender oil. I am not using this half as much as I was a couple of months ago but I still want to mention it. The essential oil calms you down and can be used to combat stress and anxiety as well as insomnia. Use a few drops on your pillow at night to encourage sleep and pop some on a tissue or the sleeve of your jumper when you go out the house. A few sniffs of the oil will calm you down enough to plough on through.
- I have had one bad panic attack since starting Reclusive Fox and I was able to get over it much quicker than in the past thanks to deep breathing. Inhale for five, hold for one and exhale for six.
- Exercising. My heart has been pumping but not because of the flight or fight response. I began working out at the start of December and it’s something I continue on doing. I began with a 30 day abs and squat challenge and 10-20 minutes of running on the spot. I haven’t finished the challenge on time thanks to being ill and overeating but I was beginning to feel and even see some slight benefits, enough to make me want to continue. I am now going to focus on ballet fitness (I used to love ballet as a kid and would love to take it back up one day).
I’ve loved being able to go to the shops, visit places, talk to friends and acquaintances in the street and take an impromptu trip to the pub without panic playing a part. I feel so much more at peace and finally able to enjoy life and think about trying different challenges in the future. First I need to get though parents evening in January, if I can do that without panic I believe I can do anything.
I hope that my experiences will help others who may feel their life is being dominated my panic attacks and anxiety. If you’re struggling please try some of the techniques I’m using above. I also recommend the No More Panic and Anxiety United websites.
Let’s raise a glass to a more positive 2015.