I have a challenging weekend coming up. For most people the thought of friends coming down to visit means plenty of fun and socialisation. There’s no nagging dread of not being able to escape if anxiety overtakes or the terror of a panic attack striking mid-conversation. There are no worries about spending a whole day and night in one or more pubs because it’s just not a problem; it’s a great day out where the worries of everyday life can be forgotten and friends can be enjoyed.
For me, and any fellow suffers of social phobia, anxiety and panic attacks, a weekend like I have coming up is stressful beyond words. However, it’s something I can’t escape from and more importantly I don’t want to. I want to see my friends, have a few drinks and a night to remember. So I have no choice but to put into practice the advice I’ve been given and that I share through my own positive advances.
Getting Over the Fear of Panic Attacks
I’ve had panic attacks and anxiety since my mid-teens, not that I knew what it was back then. Since then I have had good times of ‘normality’ and times of extreme social phobia that advanced into agoraphobia. In recent years I’ve been on the up, but one of the reasons for this is because I’ve been avoiding real life, doing only what I had to for my daughter (school plays, play groups, clubs, parents evening, days out etc.). The time has come avoidance behind me and face my fears, something this blog is pushing me to do. In the past month I’ve been to the pub, a coffee shop, shopping in the city and this weekend I’ll be spending many hours in a pub with new friends. What’s going to help me is this:
- In my experience the fear of the panic attack is what brings them on and makes them worse. The build-up of worrying about the “what ifs” generates negative thoughts and emotions and as a result the body reacts with the flight or fight response. The rush of adrenaline causes the panic more, makes you scared and if you’re like me it makes you feel like you’re going to die. In order to enjoy this weekend I need to let go of the fear and concentrate only on the positives.
- Should a panic attack hit me in the face my response has to be controlled. In the past on several occasions I’ve been able to recover quickly by inviting the panic in. Challenging the panic and the fear head on, taunting it to do its worst. This is incredibly hard to do, but it works.
- Lavender oil is going to help me fight the anxiety and stay calm. Last time I went out with my friends (my birthday weekend) I sniffed on a lavender oil scented tissue all day long and I swear it helped me. On that occasion a lot of time was spent outdoors and as this time I’ll be in the pub for hours the lavender is going to be seriously put to the test.
- Thinking of you guys. If something works for me I can tell you about it. If I have a good day I can share that with people who feel there is no hope. There is hope and anxiety disorders can be overcome and the thought of sharing positive news with you pushes me to do more and it’s going to egg me on this weekend.
- Repeating affirmations to focus the brain on positive thoughts.
Anxiety is a natural and normal process, and it will pass.
It’s funny how some people wouldn’t even think the thoughts I think before doing something as normal and expected as going for drinks with friends. But here I am, gearing myself up for something that even six months ago I would have avoided like the plague. I’m going to have a great weekend and I’m not going to let panic take that away from me. Please send me your positive vibes people!
Will you be facing challenges this weekend?