Let’s continue a thought.
Yesterday I mentioned anxiety, fear, low self esteem…those feelings.
While it is good to acknowledge we face them, how do we deal with them when they make an appearance in our day? First off, I am obviously not a doctor, so these comments are my own thoughts and observations. Second, there is no absolutely NO shame in seeking help when these emotions become overwhelming.
So, how do I handle those moments when my world feels like I am trapped on a runaway roller coaster continually screaming through a house of horrors?
Before I realized what was going on, I plowed through the feelings. Even as an intense fear surged through my body leaving me concerned that something horrible was about to happen or was maybe somewhere in the process of happening. All those thoughts of family members and friends, where they okay? Would I get a phone call soon? Even as my stomach did flips and barrel rolls I made myself continue with what ever activity I was doing at the time. My mind a mess, thought processes scrambled, hands trembling, but determination level maxed out as I worked my way through. In the back of my mind the prayer mantra of ‘please let everyone be okay’ played on a loop. Eventually the earthquake of emotions would begin to settle, the waves of physical and mental struggles would calm, and I could progress normally.
Most of the time, I dealt with those when I was employed and was working a stressful job. Not high stress like first responders, air traffic controllers, teachers or the like, but still stressful and pressured. Since I no longer work, I haven’t dealt with a panic attack anywhere near as bad. But they still happen. Especially when facing anything with unknown factors.
So again, how I am personally dealing with them?
Before I go there, what exactly is a panic attack and their potential causes?
Just two of the many links to sites offering information. A quick online search offers up many others.
Now, how do I deal? After reading the above information, maybe not as well as I had hoped, but I’m a work in progress and I’m getting there.
I have read many accounts of how to ground yourself in the midst of an attack. Slow deep breaths, look for things around you. List five things you see, five you hear, five you smell, five you feel..giving yourself the knowledge of being in the here and now, not in the lost twilight zone of fear. For me though, there is also the following.
First and foremost, a lot of prayer. Knowing that God did not give us a spirit of fear. That is not of or from Him. Our fears are our chains. They prevent us from living the life that has been given to us. Understanding that fear is the darkness that seeks to hide the light. God’s Word is the light that shows us life, it gives us direction, peace and hope. Reminding us that even during our worst moments and times of fear, we are not alone. He is with us, always.
Prayer, reading God’s Word, faith and trust.
Exercise. Whether taking a long hike in nature, walking laps around a public track or my personal walking/thinking circle, going to a gym or exercising at home. Getting my heart rate up and stress worked out.
Going somewhere. Leaving the house to just leave. Driving to a shopping center, wandering about window shopping, buying nothing that has no purpose. The main reason for the journey, is to leave that safe haven. Get out of that comfort zone and into a public, sort of scary situation. It is not to spend money to feel better only to later regret and worry over the extra spending.
Getting lost in a good book or a movie. Your favorite music. Get up and dance, you get two for one.
If you have the means and are so inclined, a pet can help. You then have someone to take care of and spend time with, like exercising, but only if you know you can take good care of them and be responsible.
Hobbies like painting, photography, dancing, things that distract the mind and once you are good enough, can bring in a few extra dollars.
Spending time with family, as long as you get along. Otherwise avoiding toxic people helps.
Getting enough sleep.
Finding my inner determination and spirit. Going into the unknown adventure won’t be so bad. Once I get in the car and start, once I find my way to where I’m going, once I arrive and park, the hardest part of the battle is won.
Its that first step, that first action put into place. Its the believing in myself and not my fear. I once was terrified of going to the mountain to hike. It seemed as if seven gazillion questions ran through my mind at warp drive. What if leading nearly every one. I still went, I made it to the top, someone there who knew the way, guided me on a different way down. The adventure began. I made it, I survived, I got home. By going to the mountain, I moved a mountain (of fear). I went to the trunk or treat event and moved a mountain. Each step a gaining of strength and an overcoming of fear. I still have a ways to go, but I’m not going alone. Each moment of progress, God places another new friend in my life and gives me strength, peace and belief in better tomorrows.