Saturday, 25 January 2014

GUEST POST: Anxiety/Panic Attacks by Beth

Hello!

My names Bethan (you can call me Beth) and I write the blog MissBeautyObsession. Sophie got in touch with me asking if I'd be interested in doing a guest post on her blog answering some questions that you guys have sent in about anxiety and panic attacks because my blog post really inspired her and made her realize she isn't alone (click here to read my post). I was over the moon that I managed to help Sophie and a few other bloggers in some way as living and dealing with Anxiety and Panic Attacks can often be very hard and I know how it feels.

 This is probably going to be a long post and I apologize in advance, but if you suffer with anxiety and panic attacks this may answer a few of your questions which you've never had the courage to ask somebody. Before I get onto this post I'd like to say that I am in no way an expert in panic attacks, I just really want to help some of you because I get emails daily with questions on how to deal with panic attacks and how to cope with them so I'm glad that I can answer them all in one go. Please also bare in mind that these tips may not work for everybody, I'm just sharing what works best for me and what I find useful so I'm hoping they work for you but if they don't, please don't shout at me!
1. When you are feeling like you're getting anxiety, what do you do to calm yourself down?
My first tip would be to practice deep breathing because if you're having a panic attack, chances are you're beginning to hyperventilate. Breathing deeply can reduce your stress levels and provides oxygen to help your brain focus more clearly. Some people find it useful when you use strategies to try and distract you e.g counting backwards from 100 (I personally don't like distractions because it just highlights the fact you're having a panic attack but it could help other people) which helps your mind distract you from the fear you're panicking for. Think of nice thoughts, somewhere where you feel happy, relaxed and brings you happiness.  This will stop your brain producing 'fear' thoughts so you can replace them with cheerful, happy thoughts because we don't want the horrid ones! I'll list a few calming tips below..
  • Listening to relaxing music
  • Exercise
  • Get help from a friend
  • Do something e.g drawing, cleaning, calling a friend, anything that will keep you busy basically.
2. How long have you had Anxiety?
I've had anxiety ever since I was around 13 - 14 so it basically started when I was a teenager. It was tough around that age because lots of my friends started going out and I never wanted to go so I definitely missed out on lots of opportunities. 
3. What did you do to identify Anxiety?
The most important thing to do is identify where you're experiencing panic and what sets it off. Personally, for me, crowds and busy places set me off but everyone is different. Once I knew it was crowded places, I then identified the symptoms and realised that I was experiencing panic attacks. Once you know what the symptoms are of a panic attack you can basically match them to your current feelings/situations and realise you are experiencing having panic attacks (I explained the symptoms here). 
4. How do you know when you're going to have a panic attack?
 To be honest, there's no real signs that tell you that you're about to have a panic attack, it just washes over you in a complete second and before you know it you're experiencing panic. Panic attacks come on very quickly. I wish there was a warning for panic attacks but there really isn't. You know when you're having a panic attack when you experience these symptoms...
  • Pains in your chest
  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Hot or cold flushes
  • Feeling claustrophobic
  • Feeling smothered
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Numb thumbs and feet
5. How do you prevent having a panic attack?
The only way you can avoid having a panic attack is by literally sitting at home everyday and never leaving the house. I never want it to get to that stage but I can definitely see how it happens easily with lots of people. The more stressed and run down I am, the worse the panic attacks are so I try to get enough sleep, and be organised. I try not to rush to places as that tends to make me anxious and work me up. I can't have exact time schedules to be at certain places as that sets me off. 
6. What caused your panic attacks?
As I briefly mentioned earlier, crowded and busy places cause me to panic. I'm not too sure why but I think it has something to do with being smothered by lots of people that I've never met before, and my body is trying to protect me by trying to make me leave the situation. It's quite clever that the brain stores certain places and remembers where you've been which makes you panic in the same situations, but also very annoying too!
7.  How can I help someone who suffers with Panic Attacks?
  • Remain calm. There's nothing worse than being with someone who's freaking out whilst they are, otherwise they'll never calm down.
  • Don't force them, let them take things at their own pace.
  • Be patient and accepting and find something positive in every situation.
  • Don't show any disappointment when they have a panic attack because they don't choose to be this way.
  • Be supportive and reassuring - it's your job to let them know you're there for them.
8. What can I do to help me when I'm having a panic attack?
I find that walking away from the situation, and leaving the place that I started panicking in takes the edge off it. I'd suggest just leaving the place you started panicking, or going outside. A panic attack is your body telling you that you are in a 'dangerous' place, so by leaving the situation is probably going to calm you down and reassure your body that you are no longer in a 'dangerous' place.
9. Have you been diagnosed by a doctor and if so, what did you do and do you take any medication for anxiety? Who have you told?
My biggest piece of advice is to tell your loved ones how you're feeling. My mum has been nothing but supportive ever since I opened up to her about the problems I was having and it really helps to know you have people who care about you. I've been to the GP once and that was a complete waste of time. They basically told me what Anxiety was thinking I didn't have a clue, and told me things that I already knew. I'm still considering going back when I finally pluck up the courage because I do feel as if it's getting slightly worse, especially going through a bad breakup/relationship recently. Keep telling yourself that it's a doctors job to listen and help you, and they definitely aren't there to judge you. Don't sit in silence and not tell anyone about your feelings because that is literally the worse thing you can do!
That's all I'm going to say for now because I could literally chat for hours about my experiences and tips I've learnt along the way. 
If you ever feel like you need somebody to chat to or have a specific question, please feel free to email me (missbeautyobsession@gmail.com) or tweet me (@mbeautyobssion) as I'm always willing to help you guys in some way. Make sure you pop over to my blog as I'd love to hear from you all!

Thank you so much to Bethan for writing this post. If you guys have anymore questions all her links are above so send her your questions. 

3 comments:

  1. That's an inspirational post which I can really relate to.
    I went to the GP for the same reason and my anxiety was fixed in two weeks with beta blockers so i'd really reccomend them!

    Love Emma xx

    www.collagemepretty.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. beta blockers are better than benzos in my humble opinion...at least they don't make you sleepy and tolerant.. *I think the reply button is busteD?*

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    2. So glad it helped you, unfortunately I can't have beta blockers due to my age. Glad your anxiety is under control now lovely xox

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