Coping with Panic Attacks

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Thank God for giving me a good rest. I woke up today feeling very refreshed!

Thank God that the effect of the panic attack yesterday have finally subsided. This is the first time I have felt the effect of the panic attack almost for a whole day. Hmm... maybe this is a sign that my nervous system is getting weaker. I need to be careful to manage the stress and strain so that my condition will not worsen.

Thank God for discipline to take a break yesterday and rest so that my condition can stabilised. I prayed and read God's Words, and found much encouragement. I also listened to some instrumental music. They are very relaxing and soothing.

I used to take long walks along the beach and listen to instrumental music on my portable mp3 player whenever I am very stressed up with work. My old workplace was near a beach.

So yesterday, I laid down on my couch and closed my eyes while I listened to the instrumental music. I imagined that I was walking along the beach and watching the sea and the waves. I missed the beach! Somehow walking along the beach and watching the sea and waves have a calming effect on me. I am reminded that God Who creates the Heavens and earth, created me, loves me and will take care of me.

Thank God that today I feel ready to face a new day.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a blessed day!

4 Kind thoughts:

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Nancie,
I like the new look of your blog. It sounds like you did just what you needed to for your panic attack. Guided visualization (in your case, thinking about walking on the beach) is a great technique to relax yourself.

Susan

Nancie said...

Dear Susan,

This Guided Visualization is indeed very relaxing! It's the first time I tried it out as the effect of the panic attack yesterday was awful and prolonged. I couldn't do anything else. Thank God for helping me to try this technique and it works so well for me.

I am thankful that I am learning to cope :) as I know panic attacks are recurrent. I used to experienced them in the past too. Now I know something that can help me and I don't feel so helpless anymore.

Thanks for stopping by. Take care.

Nancie

Anonymous said...

Hi Nancie,

Over the years I too have had something like panic attacks, maybe not full-blown panic, more like intense anxiety around certain situations, usually to do with eating in public with a group of people I don't know very well.
I'm pretty much over it now, but I can see that it all started one day years ago when I had to sit and eat lunch with my boss, and his boss, and a bunch of important people at a company I worked for. Due to Lithium, I had a bit of a problem with hand tremor, which made eating soup with a spoon a bit tricky, especially if I was nervous. Well, the first course on the menu was a big bowl of soup! I looked at it, and realized it would be challenge, and I knew that the more nervous I got, the bigger a challenge it would be. I thought that people would see my hand shaking and my difficulty getting the soup up to my mouth without spilling any. I couldn't very well say, "Oh, it's just the Lithium. I have bipolar disorder.", so I became panicky about it, which of course guaranteed I'd have shakiness.
After sitting almost paralyzed with fear and panic for a while, I finally just had to go for it.
At first I was pretty tense and shaky, but with each spoonful it got a little bit better, and I got through it. I think I made some comment about shaky hands running in the family, or feeling a bit sick today, or something. Anyway, after that I was very aware that in that situation, I might become very panicky. That knowledge almost ensured that the problem would continue. I eventually got a bit better. I found that it was important to just let go of any muscles that I was tensing in my body. I also found a slightly different way to hold the spoon that helped a bit. After many years I eventually mentioned this to my psychiatrist. That's what led him to say two years ago, "Why don't you get off Lithium then?".
Since getting off Lithium, my anxiety in this area has gone steadily down to almost zero, as I've seen that I am not having tremor anymore.

I've had anxiety about other things too. Usually it starts with some shocking event that I then fixate on and think too much about.

I recently investigated "mindfulness meditation" some more. I read this book:

"Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn"

I really connected with what he says in that book. I think it would be a good book for anyone with bipolar disorder, or chronic stress and anxiety to read. He is a doctor at a stress and anxiety reduction clinic. He does not promote (or oppose) any particular religion. His book describes how to sit for a few minutes each day, and focus only on your breathing. Not with the intention of changing your breathing, but just as a way to get you brain to stop the racing, repetitive, troubling, or exciting thoughts, and just be calm in the "here and now" for a while. He points out that many of us, in this modern age, spend too much time thinking about past events, or potential future problems. We miss out on fully experiencing "the here and now". He includes lots of philosophy, poetry and wisdom.

I got this book after reading a recent clinical study that said mindfulness meditation actually works, and they can measure real changes in the body's response to stress, and even changes in brain scans, among those who practice it regularly.

Personally, I find that after doing this for say 15 minutes, I feel calmer, less attached to certain issues going around in my head, and with a clearer sense of what is really important to me, and what is not.

-- Rob

Nancie said...

Hi Rob,

So good to hear from you again!

As always, your sharing of your own experiences and how you cope are very helpful and I really appreciate your writing.

Thanks too for mentioning the book. I will find out more about it later.

I do find that breathing slowly and finding way to relax indeed help a lot with coping with panic attacks.

So in your case stopping Lithium actually helps you. I am glad you do not experience panic attack anymore as it can be very agonizing and paralysing!

I get panic attacks whenever a sudden or shocking incident happened. Sometimes the effect go off after a while but last Monday was the first time I had the effect throughout the day.

I am thankful that there are many resources on how to manage panic attacks. I hope to slowly learn these strategies.

Thanks again for sharing. Trust you are well.

Take care and do come around whenever you can. I would love to hear from you.

Hope you have a great week.

 

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