Panic and Worry Triggers

I have panic attacks or what I call “worry-waves” for many reasons. It feels like a sinking, sick feeling, with a dash of spinning out of control, a hint of falling 100 feet, and warm limbs. Sometimes its accompanied by flushing red on my chest and face. My mouth gets dry. My hands shake. Occasionally I feel weak and dizzy, and on extreme occasions, I can’t catch my breath and I experience chest pains.
In a word, it sucks.

Sometimes my worry wave comes on gradually, and sometimes it’s a sudden electrifying jolt. For instance, when you are up for your 1am popcorn frenzy and you see a scary face outside your window, only to realize that it’s your reflection, having forgotten to remove your makeup which has been rubbed and melted down your face and now very much resembles a cross between Alice Cooper and the Scream ghost face mask.

Some of my triggers are:

  • Seeing my family on latitude, in some place they aren’t supposed to be (which is almost always wrong, due to towers being inaccurate)
  • Reading an email, hearing a voice mail or directly listening to a pissed-off client
  • Learning that an expensive job has been rejected by the client, due to me/my staff error.
  • Going to the Dr. (for any reason)
  • Getting news that any family member is leaving town
  • Sometimes I can’t pin point exactly what or why… I just feel wiggy.

If I am able to quell my panic at all, it comes after learning that the problem has abated, and if I can’t immediately fix it, or get information that all is well, I have to have this long internal discussion with myself about how things will be ok, and no matter what, I have people in my life that will love and support me. Sometimes that works, and sometimes I just can’t shake the wiggins.

After the panic is finally gone, and there is no more threat, I can relax. Although, as with most chronic worriers, my mind turns to wondering what’s on the horizon, or even what may be horrible and tragic going on right now that I don’t yet know about. Still, even after it’s all said and done, my body responds for hours, with exhaustion, heightened sensitivity to others harsh words/tones, intolerance of criticism, jumping at loud noises, and lack of mental focus.

What triggers you? What physical symptoms do you experience? And what do you do to calm yourself?

Live in the Now – A Quick Anti-anxiety Exercise.

What are you worried about right now? Can you identify it? If not, try to think of what is really making you anxious, and write it down on a piece of paper. (Yes, I mean old school… don’t blog it, don’t text it, don’t dictate it to your tablet, just write it down).
Be as thorough or as sparse as you like, but you must be honest about it. It must be the real problem. Next, visualize that the problem exists solely on this paper. Maybe draw a box around it to restrain it. Maybe cross it out. Be sure you’ve gotten it all off your chest and on to the paper.  Every possibility surrounding the problem is now contained on this sheet. It alone is the problem, and when you crumple it up, the problem releases it’s grip on you. Crumple it now. Let the problem shrink as you smash the paper in your hands. Now toss it in the trash.ID-100268132

It is now out of your hands. You are free. It is not your problem. It may still exist, but it’s no longer yours to deal with. If it is a real issue that you must deal with at some point, don’t worry, you will in time, but not right now.  Now, let other thoughts come in; thoughts of things you can do with your day, now that that issue is contained.  You can do this, if just for a few minutes or even an hour. Truly let the worry go for now, let yourself off the hook. Just for the next 30 minutes, it is nothing to worry about.  Whatever you were worried about, is now in the trash and has no place in your head. Let it go. It’s fine.

Now, take a look around your room/office. Speak aloud as you describe the room. Tell me what you see.
Do you hear any sounds? What are they. Describe them completely. Is the room cool? Warm? Bright? Do you smell anything? Tell me every detail. Now describe your physical comfort level. (Do not tell me how you are feeling emotionally.)  Are your clothes comfy, or tight? Are you in a nice chair? Stay in the moment with me, describing everything you are experiencing in your physical world. Can you kick off your shoes and wiggle your toes? Can you take a sip of cold water or hot coffee?  Do so, and describe it – aloud. Ahhhhhh.

Now that you’re experiencing your “now” moment, it’s time to treat yourself with a few minutes of pleasure. Remember, you are fully immersed in the the now, and the worry you threw away, still does not exist. The next step requires that you dig into your memory, and find a song that made you happy or reminds you of a good time. Anything that has some pep and/or maybe gives you a sense of empowerment. Now, if you can, go to www.youtube.com and find that song, and play it loud. Remembering that you are in the now, and right now, everything is OK, and there is nothing to worry about. Enjoy your music thoroughly.

You have now spent the last few minutes living in the now. Continue to practice this, knowing that if you absolutely must, you can come back to the worry later – but hopefully, you will feel empowered enough not to. Or, at least having spent some of your life living it, rather than dreading or fearing it.  : )

 

My Crystal Ball

There must be a crystal ball in my brain somewhere.  I know this because I continuously predict the future.  I spend hours and days knowing exactly what is going to happen. My crystal ball is like a good friend that enjoys giving me bad news. It shows me every tragic ending to every path me and my loved ones lives will take.

My crystal ball helps me not live in the now. It helps me dwell in the horrible, painful future, which is exciting, because it’s a true blessing to waste my life seeing every bad thing, instead of all the good I’m experiencing at this moment. Why would I possibly want to live in THIS moment? This moment where my family is alive and well, the internet is running just fine, my belly is full, the bills are paid, my ribs still hurt from the uproarious laughing with my sister at dinner. Misery, all of it, so why would I want to enjoy that?  No, that sounds just too peaceful for me and my crystal ball. I will allow my crystal ball to fill my mind and haunt my dreams, gripping me with such fear I am frozen from living any kind of life in reality or the present moment.

Thank you crystal ball, for wasting so much of my life.

Anxieties about Tax Time

Here is an excellent article by an Expert at Liveperson.com.   Liveperson.com does not necessarily endorse firstdontpanic.com.   We, at firstdontpanic.com find liveperson.com to be an excellent resource for help with anxiety. Please check them out.

http://www.liveperson.com/lp/the-advisor-free-expert-advice/2012/03/how-to-fight-financial-anxiety-as-tax-time-approaches

Types of Anxieties – Defined

Anxiety Attacks and Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety treatments and self-help strategies that can quickly help you reduce your anxiety symptoms and control anxiety attacks.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
A common anxiety disorder that involves chronic worrying, nervousness, and tension. Here’s a check list of symptoms.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Do you have uncontrollable thoughts, irrational urges, or the compulsion to continually repeat the same rituals, in order to feel like you can function?
Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder
What causes of panic attacks, how do I reduce or eliminate the symptoms of panic, and regain control of your life?
Phobias and Fears
When fears are irrational and disabling, they are called phobias. What are they? Where do they come from? How can I make them stop?
Social Anxiety Disorder and Social Phobia
Learn to understand this disorder and be more comfortable in social situations.

Welcome, Friend!

This site is dedicated to those who have anxieties, panic or fear about any aspect in their lives.

If you feel anxiety about your job, your marriage, your future… or anything, you’ve come to the right place for help.

With anxieties, fear and panic, many of us become depressed and dysfunctional. This site is to help those of us who are truly worried, and frozen with fear, stand up and take control of ourselves. Control what we can control – our reactions. Become that carefree, easy going spirit we strive for.

We employ several methodologies to achieve this:

  • Meditation
  • Interactive Anxiety Worksheets
  • Group Support
  • Visualizations
  • Psychology behind panic
  • Physiological Benefits of calming techniques