Saturday, February 19, 2011

Attacking Anxiety

The past several days, I have been fighting anxiety. Unfortunately, it was been winning. I've had, on average, five anxiety attacks each day for almost a week. Not only are anxiety attacks unsettling for me and those around me, they are physically painful for me. With all the uncontrollable shaking, crying and pacing, my body feels like it has gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson. Between anxiety attacks, I decided to become proactive...

Instead of anxiety attacking me, I did my best at attacking anxiety. It isn't the same as treating anxiety attacks, but without any medications for anxiety, it was the best I could do. How do you go about attacking anxiety? I have a few tricks up my sleeve...

My biggest trick for attacking anxiety is Maisie. Maisie is my service dog and she is able to sense to when I am about to have an anxiety attack. Please don't ask me how she does this. I do not have a clue. I just know that she begins paying special attention to me and gets this look in her eye. I know what that means and start trying to calm down and remove myself from the situation. If there is a situation. Many of my anxiety attacks are not brought on by "situations;" they happen for no particular reason. If I can stop an anxiety attack before it starts or before it is "full-blown," it is much better for me and everyone around me.

Another trick for attacking anxiety are my breathing exercises. I understand that sounds that hokey, but if I can concentrate on my breathing and control my breathing, the anxiety attacks are not as bad and they do not last as long. I "breath in the good" and "exhale the bad." I breath in all the good I can and hold it for as long as possible. I then slowly exhale all the bad. I repeat this as many times as necessary, breathing my way out of an anxiety attack.

I also "talk my way out of an anxiety attack." This way of attacking anxiety looks (and sounds) crazy, but it works for me. I go into a small room (usually my bathroom) and talk to the anxiety attack. Yes, I literally talk to it out loud. I explain to the anxiety attack that things are no worse then they were a few minutes ago and that this will pass. I list all of the good things in my life, repeating many of them if I am also having a bout with depression at that particular moment. I am very careful to control my voice. I use a deeper voice and speak slowly and softly. I also use my breathing exercises to calm myself down as I talk to the anxiety attack.

If you've been wondering where I've been the past few days, now you know. I've been in the bathroom, breathing in the good and breathing out the bad as I talk to the anxiety attacks. Of course, I had Maisie in my lap - pulling for me to get better. As crazy as it sounds, I've learned that these are ways I can go about attacking anxiety. If nothing else, it makes me feel a bit more in control which is always nice.

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