Never in a million years would I think I would have anxiety. I grew up in a pretty stable home. Even though my parents divorced when I was 13, I was constantly with family and in an loving environment. Additionally, I hardly ever was sick growing up, besides the occasionally cold. So, believe my surprise when I found out that I have post traumatic stress disorder as well as a phobia of sickness. Say What??
After having my first panic attack over a year ago, something changed in me. For a few months, my illness anxiety was not that bad. Then, Changes started to happen. I’ve come to learn that every time there is a major change in my life, my “fight or flight” mode sets in.
On the night of July18, 2016, I had one of the largest panic attacks of my life. I knew it was time for a change.
What is a panic attack?
A panic attack is when your body basically freaks out on you and makes you feel as if you are dying, plainly put. I have experience several panic attacks over the last couple years and have had a multitude of different “symptoms.” These include but are not limited to:
- Fast Heart Rate
- Shortness of Breath
- Feeling as if room is caving in
- Unexplained Fear
- Feeling of loss of control
- Feel as if you are dying
Panic attacks are a very scary thing and can come at any time. The trick is to know your triggers and have tactics ready to fight the attacks.
What is Illness Anxiety Disorder?
According to Dr. Joel E Dimsdale on the Merck Manual website, “Illness Anxiety Disorder is preoccupation with fear and of having or aquiring a serious disorder.” Simply, this disorder is usually professional diagnosed after the patient seeks medically care for a symptom with no known cause. These individuals are overwhelmed by the fear of getting sick that it distracts from their social lives and normal daily functions.
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
According to Mental Health America, PTSD affects more than 14 million Americans. It is a misconception that PTSD only affects certain people with military backgrounds.
The National Center for PTSD states,
“Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a traumatic event. A traumatic event is a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood.”
These disorders are scary and can really affect your lifestyle. Luckily, I have found ways to overcome these fears!
7 Tactics to Overcome Anxiety
Disclosure: The following post contains affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you decide to purchase something. Nevertheless, everything I recommend is truly authentic to who I am or something I personally own.
Prayer can work miracles, literally! After being confronted with multiple panic attacks, I came to the conclusion I could not handle them on my own. Finally, I turned to the one person who can handle all my burdens, Jesus. By praying during a panic attack, I am able to focus on Him, realize that my symptoms are temporary, and regain control of the situation. Additionally, each morning I pray for God to guide me through the day and to help me avoid a panic attack. It is nice to know the man upstairs cares 🙂 One of my favorite verses to focus on is Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be know to God.” Repeating this verse to myself relieves the stress I am feeling that may contribute to a panic attack.
Breathing is the number one technique that helps when I am having a panic attack. Since a very common symptom of a panic attack is shortness of breath, calming yourself down with breathing techniques really help control the situation. I like to do the 4-7-8 exercise while having a panic attack. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7, then exhale for 8. repeat this step 10 times or until you feel your anxiety calm down.
Doing 15 minutes of yoga a day can seriously change your life. I prefer to do yoga either first thing in the morning or right before bed. Yoga is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety since it helps release toxins from the body and allows you to recenter yourself. Even doing a few cat-cows and downward dogs can alleviate some anxiety. Check out my Pinterest Board below for some yoga inspiration.
It is sometimes crazy to think that our diet can affect our mind. I have been gluten free for almost a year now and I love it. When I have gluten, my body knows it now. I would consider this one of my triggers. When I eat gluten, my stomach immediately knows that something is not normal which then triggers my brain to know it too. Then, sometimes a small panic attack will set in and i will try to diagnose myself with everything in the book. Changing your diet to include leafy green and raw veggies, raw cheese and milk, and natural herbs such as ginger and garlic can really help relieve anxiety.
One of the main reasons we have anxiety is because of the lack of certain minerals and vitamins in our diet. Everyone is different which means you may need to up your vitamin intake or decrease. It is important to consider contacting a holistic health specialist in reference to increasing or supplementing with vitamins, but these are the vitamins that have worked for me. I use Magnesium Oil Spray and take Cod Liver Oil and Vitamin D3. Since I do not eat fish, I know that my body lacks the Omega 3 vitamins which is why I take Cod Liver Oil. I have both the pill form and the liquid. I like the liquid more because I feel it works faster and more efficiently. Many Americans lack Magnesium in their normal diets, me being one of them. Therefore, upping my magnesium intake has truly helped my overall mood and anxiety levels.
I use to be so against talking with a therapist. I use to think that they couldn’t possibly understand. Man was I wrong. Counseling has been a game changer for me. Sitting down and just letting all that anxiety and worry into the room relieves so much burden. Talking with someone helps me understand what I am going through is normal. It also allows me to gain a better perspective on what causes my anxiety.
Being a writer, journaling comes easy. But what’s the coolest thing about journaling is that no one needs to read it. It is just for you. It helps to write down how you feel, what is bothering you, and real ease those emotions on paper. Sometimes I bust open my journal to look back and see how far I have come in my struggle with anxiety. It’s something about those words on the page that really elevate my spirit. Writing is an outlet and there is no skill necessary for your own journal writing! You can literally pick up a journal anywhere. The one below is super cute and is under $10 from Amazon.
My struggle with anxiety lessens each day by using these tactics. Sometimes it may seem taboo to even talk about such things because it is so personal. But I am here to share my story with you and let you know that you are not alone. Anxiety is real and there are ways to manage it.
With the right tools and support, overcoming anxiety can happen. I am in no way a medical professional and if need be, please seek help from those around you or your local doctor.
What tactics have worked for you??