Is this what getting better mean?


I am having frequent anxiety attacks.

An entirely new thing to me. I even blogged about it last year. Or maybe it was a comment on someone else’s blog? I don’t remember. But the sentiment was one of gratitude for never having experienced those crippling moments.

My therapist says it actually means I’m improving. Go figure. That instead of dissociating and withdrawing, like I used to do, now I’m staying in the real world. And staying in the real world means dealing with the problem at hand. By going  into anxiety episodes.

Makes sense.

But I am at a loss here. I don’t know how to deal with that. I don’t have the coping mechanisms. I know them. In theory. Somewhat in practice too, I guess, since my daughter had severe anxiety episodes while growing up. I helped her and she learned how to cope. She doesn’t even need medication anymore.

Bottom line, I never had to apply them to me!

I will learn how, of course. Eventually I will, I have no doubt. I will get a handle on this.

But right now, it’s hard.

The end result is the same. Stuff doesn’t get done.

But instead of being blissfully oblivious of it like I used to, I now get this pain in my stomach like someone is punching me. There’s sweating and more generalized pain as well. Tremors too. Nausea. You know what I’m talking about.

We’ll see how it goes. I hope I don’t have to add yet another medication but I’ll do what it takes because I certainly don’t like the way I feel.

In the mean time, feel free to offer advice. I’d be interested in knowing what has worked for you. maybe it will work for me as well. It’s worth a try, right?

So far, having the cats around is good. Hearing them purr, stroking their soft fur and feeling their warmth helps a lot. Talking to my best friend too, of course. I am incredibly lucky I have that.

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32 thoughts on “Is this what getting better mean?

  1. I suffer chronic anxiety, and I experience what you describe. What works for me is being in the moment, saying to yourself, ok I am suffering anxiety and sitting with it. Most importantly try to breathe, properly if you can with mindfulness techniques.

  2. Things that help me – deep breathing, meditation, yoga, self-soothing and distracting. And when all else fails, Ativan really helps knock the teeth out of a nasty bit of anxiety.

    • Excuse me as I latch onto this comment and say that I agree with these things to help. They help me too. I like Ativan when I really need it…but it does make me really forgetful. Weird? I dunno. Funny too, I just wrote about Anxiety too, as it’s really been plaguing me today! UGH. Good luck!

      • Thank you! I am already having all sorts of issues with my memory. I can’t remember much anymore. I can’t imagine how it would be if I get even more forgetful! 😛

    • I love yoga. Haven’t done any since last summer. I found it really help me keep centered. I’ll try to join again this summer. I’m seeing my therapist tomorrow. I’ll bring up the medication issue.

      Thank you! 🙂

      • A lot of docs are slow to offer anxiety medications, but if you’re getting “stuck” in anxiety attacks, sometimes it’s what you need to get out. All the effort in the world on my part will not make an anxiety attack lighten up or go away once it sets in, and sometimes I just can’t prevent it from getting that bad because it’s too sudden. I try to avoid taking the meds until I have to, but when I need them, they really save my ass.

  3. My counsellor said that to me when I started experiencing anger instead of depression. It was a sign that the depression was gone but then it went to far in the opposite direction 😛

  4. Like DeeDee said. Exactly. And companion animal therapy, which you are already doing. My Lhasa Apso does yeoman’s duty when I am having an episode. And the Ativan, last resort, helps almost immediately. In an emergency I will slip a milligram under my tongue. It gets into the bloodstream faster that way. Yoga is amazing. Any kind of exercise helps. I am right now too anxious to settle down and meditate, but when I can do it, it’s wonderful prevention. Kind of aggravating that I can’t seem to get settled enough to settle down, but I guess that’s what anxiety will do. Sending blessings for you and me and DeeDee and everybody else who has the anxiety monster.

  5. Really? It’s a sign of improvement? I am certainly hoping that’s the case because although my symptoms of bipolar are lessening, for the past couple of months I have such anxiety that it actually wakes me up in the middle of the night and I find it hard to breathe. I don’t have pain in my stomach as you described, but my mind is racing and I sweat and the hopeless feeling is almost unbearable. As “Dee Dee” describes, Ativan usually does the trick. But In the midst of the attack, I feel so helpless and out of control. And I just want it to end IMMEDIATELY! I’m too anxious to practice breathing and mindfulness techniques – it’s like I’m too caught up in the attack to think clearly.

    Please let me know how it goes for you, I’d be interested to hear any advice, as well.

    • That’s my therapist thinks. Despite my heavy PTSD issues, I didn’t use to experience anxiety. I did lose chunks of time, suggesting I simple went inwards to ignore the stress. But now, I am actually facing it instead of dissociating, therefore experiencing the attacks.

      And yes, I’m with you. Too caught in the attack to do anything else. I suppose I’ll have to learn.

      All the best to you. I’ll keep you posted for sure 🙂

  6. I’ve had full on panic attacks; those are WAY not fun. So, an anxiety attack feels less threatening. I run. I try to do three times a week, but lately it’s more like two. I try to do deep breathing and mindful living. Today, I went around my yard and took pictures of what is beautiful, completely ignoring the weeds, the unevenly mowed lawn, the kids’ mess on the deck.

      • Running really helps. When I don’t find time to run, I can feel myself getting out of control. The other techniques are more useful for stopping an attack from building. I’m sure you don’t have to run, but it really gets my endorphins going and I feel proud of myself afterward. That helps, too. When you feel better about yourself, it’s easier to prevent anxiety, I think.

        • Yeah, I think you’re right about feeling good about yourself. I’m lucky I have dancing. After teaching last night, I felt pretty good. It all of course came tumbling down this morning but I least I felt good for a few hours.

          Thanks for your insightful comments! 🙂

  7. When I was in high school I began (among many other things) having anxiety attacks. Severe, debilitating, go the the hospital types of attacks. One of the things I remember one of the Doctors saying to my mom is this: “She is having a physical withdrawal to too much stress”. What I have learned over the years is that stress (physical or emotional) needs to be released daily. Like others have said there are many healthy ways to do that. Breathing is one of the easiest of course. And secondly understanding what stress does to the mind, it does even more to the body. Virtually every vital nutrient that the brain and body needs is critically depleted by stress. What’s even more interesting is that many of us, just inherently need more nutrients to function than others do. I have used nutrient therapy, color therapy, light therapy, music therapy and more for years, but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon a bioactive nutrient blend that was developed 16 years ago for brain disorders such as bipolar, depression, anxiety, ocd, etc like I suffered from for 40+ years that I truly stabilized. It was worked a miracle in my life. All the best, M

    • I always found that music had a very calming effect on me but lately, I feel like I can’t listen to music anymore. I just need quiet. What the name of that blend? I wonder if it is available in Canada

  8. I Reblogged this. My therapist always said I was “getting better,” “doing terrific,” and “brave” for facing my anxiety attacks. She said that means you’re aware of the situation, aware of whatever is upsetting you. Apparently, if you do anything short of running out the door or hiding in a closet, you are “handling your anxiety.” Never mind that I usually have to collapse in bed as soon as I get home.

    • Heh! That’s pretty much what I do as well. I am finding that being around people is too much these days. It didn’t use to be like that but now it just takes SO much from me that when I get home I collapse in bed as well.

      Thank you so much for reading, for your comment and for reblogging. All the best to you!

    • Having grown up in a very catholic country, I heard that a gazillion times. It may very well be that I am indeed a strong person and some people might find comfort in that but I just can’t.

        • Oh, no worries. I really doesn’t bother me. I know that some people find great comfort in religion and that’s alright. Different things work for different people. And that’s the way it should be, anyway! Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment 🙂

  9. When I start feeling panic attack symptoms (for me: hyperventilating, light-headedness, shaking) I say to myself, “I’m having a panic attack. This is a panic attack.” I don’t try to stop it but try to minimize it by acknowledging what is happening…if that makes sense.

  10. While I don’t have anxiety, I’m currently living with someone who does. It’s probably slightly different for us being in a Religious Community, but it would be helpful for us to help her if when she can feel the onset of an anxiety attack, or can see something looming that may cause one, if she were to actually tell us that X or Y may cause a problem. However, I know it’s not the easiest of things, to ask for help, but that is something that will help those who are with you to help you, if you are able to tell them when something is bothering you or if something is being planned which you think may cause you anxiety.

    I think this kind of goes hand in hand with what others have said about mindfulness and acknowledging what’s going on, not just to yourself but to those around you.

    *love and hugs and prayers*

    • Yes! Reaching out is one of the most difficult things to do but having a good support networks definitely makes a huge difference.

      Thank you so much for you thoughtful comment!

  11. The ultimate thing for me was finding the source of my anxiety – slowly “rewiring” my brain to understand that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. This meant I had to sort of face my fears – push myself a little, but not too much. Just enough so that I was in that situation that made me anxious (for me it was being out and the possibility of being ill whilst out) and I saw that nothing bad happened. I’d gradually increase what I could do.

    However, in the moment – distraction worked best for me – I’d make sure I had things with me, that I knew would be simple but would distract me (texting friends, my nintendo DS with simple games, etc), I’d also look beyond what was making my anxious – doctors appointment for example, I’d think about what I was going to have for lunch after instead.

    I’d also know my exists – how to get out of this situation that making me anxious, this helped a little because I didn’t feel so trapped, so forced to be there. You really have to remember that you have a CHOICE.

    I also tried to have a friend – who knew about my anxiety either with me or that I could call – not necessarily to talk through my anxiety, but as a distraction, as someone who could – should I need it – pull me out of that situation.

    It’s a long battle but I’m sure you can do it! xx

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