Panic Prevention

So... as y’all know, about a month ago, in Budapest, my mind was broken. I had a few panic attacks over seemingly nothing and then one night, whilst watching Peep Show (no link I’m sure 🤣) I started shaking. This spread throughout the whole of my body - jaw, arms, hands, legs, everywhere and I was petrified. I was in a foreign country with no easy access to healthcare, felt trapped and extremely scared. Poor David had no idea how to help, I just wanted him to call an ambulance and paced the room for an hour or so until the shakes eased off. That night started my two weeks of hell.

I was in a constant panic loop... couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, convinced I was physically ill and that I was going to end up in a mental institution. I had panic attack after panic attack Just like being involved in a car accident, breaking bones or having a serious physical illness it’s taken me a while to return to ‘normal’.

As we are in such crazy global pandemic times I know that anxiety and stress is really high so want to share the things that have helped me come out the other side. There is no magic pill, no instant fix, it’s been hard work but over time, I am healing and if you’re suffering, you can too... ⁣

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⁣I know that it helps to speak to people who have been through it so if anyone wants someone to talk to please message me. I’m definitely not an expert but when I was bad I just needed someone to confirm that what I was feeling was normal. Really hope this helps someone ♥️

Also recommend following @anxietyjosh on Instagram who went through this himself and is now an anxiety specialist and author of two books on the subject. His content is ace! ⁣

Here is a list of what has helped me. None of these things will cure anxiety but as part of a self care routine they will help:

🙏🏻 Meditation - I use the Calm app for guided meditations and try to do it at least once a day. Even if it’s just focussing on breathing for a timed 2 minutes, over time you will start to reap the benefits as you relax your mind. If you have Calm I really recommend Jeff Warrens 30 day program - How to Meditate

🧘‍♀️ Stretching - I have a little morning routine that takes 5-10 minutes. It doesn’t need to be professional or hard! Just freestyle and move, working through your body, do what feels good and it works wonders if you do it daily!

🏃‍♀️ Running - You don’t have to run 5k to be a runner! Try and run for 5 minutes. Running is such hard work but makes me feel amazing with all those endorphins. I also find that pushing my heart rate and my breathing helps my body realise that an accelerated heart rate and shortness of breath doesn’t just mean a panic attack is happening

🖐🏻 Tapping - I use an app called The Tapping Solution. These 5-10 minute sessions are easy to follow and doing them daily really does help by re-wiring your brain and calming your nervous system. They were also providing some instant relief when I was really stuck in a panic loop. It’s a payable app but there are many sessions on there you can access for free once your trial expires, including many focussed on Corona Virus (thanks British media!!)

🎧 Books - Listening to Anxiety: Panicking about Panic (Audible) by Joshua Fletcher saved me when I was at my lowest. I can’t recommend it enough if you are currently overwhelmed by anxiety!!

❤️ Multivitamins and Eating Well - Make sure your body has what it needs. I have a dissolvable multivitamin and magnesium every morning and we have upped our intake of veggies, beans, pulses, fruit Etc.

🗣 Being Open - Trying to hide anxiety and panic is exhausting and makes it a million times worse. Don’t be ashamed of it, it’s no different to a physical illness. Just telling someone you are feeling anxious can instantly reduce the intensity and I find as soon as I cry it instantly feels less intense!

😴 Sleep - Sleep is so important and that fact alone can cause me massive stress if I have insomnia. I found that just trying to accept it, not stress about it when it happens and realising it won’t last forever helped me get through the worst of it. For the last few weeks I’ve been taking 5-HTP just before bed and it’s really helped.

🚫 Googling Symptoms - I am a hypochondriac and one of the worst things I did in Budapest was convince myself something was physically wrong with me and constantly googled my symptoms. I was convinced something was wrong with my heart, hormones, blood pressure Etc. And it made me 100x worse. Health anxiety is recognised as a whole genre of its own (I didn’t realise that before) and understanding that has helped me stop getting into this particular loop

😭 Cry - Let it go! I was in tears constantly for a few weeks and after that probably burst into tears every couple of days. As soon as I cried and had a cuddle I felt instant relief. Don’t hold it in!

🌲 Nature - If you can get into nature - please do - surround yourself with trees, dip your toes into the ocean, walk barefoot on grass. Connecting to nature and grounding yourself really does help!

👾 Avoidance - Try not to avoid situations or places that makes you anxious. The worst possible thing that can happen is a panic attack which will not kill you. The more you avoid the worse it gets, do not feed your anxiety. Try and accept your bodies sensations and ride them out. It’s absolutely savage to do but it will get easier over time

📖 Journal - Write down how you feel, your thoughts, however dark and scary they are. Getting it all down on paper will eventually help. It’s doesn’t have to be a ‘Dear Diary’ just words are good enough!

🤸‍♀️ Legs Up - OK so not like this but I couldn’t find a suitable emoji! Sit with your bum against a wall and your legs up for around 10-15 minutes. It’s super relaxing for your nervous system and makes me feel instantly less stressed

Some things I tell myself to help when I’m feeling anxious...

❤️ A panic attack will not kill me. It’s horrible to go through but the panic attack itself is the worst thing I will have to deal with, ride it out. I got this!

❤️ I am just dealing with chemicals (adrenaline) in my body, this will reduce and one day soon these levels will balance again

❤️ Replace panic attack with adrenaline rush - it makes it much less scary!!

❤️ Negative and dark thoughts are just thoughts and I am not my thoughts. Just let them be, observe them and then let them go

❤️ Every panic attack is an opportunity to master my anxiety

❤️ Panic attacks physically cannot last forever, these feelings will end

❤️ If I have a panic attack I just need to ride out the wave

❤️ My body is just reacting to a ‘false alarm’, there isn’t really any danger

❤️ Panic attacks will not make me faint, go crazy, lose control or die

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