Are You Hostage To Your Stress, Anxiety, or Panic? You Don’t Have To Be Any Longer

by Lauren Millman
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You don’t. You really don’t have to be.

I was. For what seemed like an eternity. I couldn’t go out, drive, be at a standstill in traffic, and bedtime….I would have these unreasonable thoughts that I was going to die. And I believed them. All of them. Every time. For months. It was awful. The attacks were crushing, agonizing, overwhelming, unbearable, scary, and completely overcoming. I though I was ridiculous. I though this was ridiculous.

‘How could this be happening to me’, I would think constantly. I’m not only a Professional, but I run a successful practice, manage my family well, and have everything I could possibly ever want or need. And, this is what I do for a living–I teach my clients how to control their Anxiety and Panic Attacks. I teach them how to control it, so it doesn’t control them and keep them hostage. Anxiety.

Many moms, like myself, and maybe you, have experienced it at one time or another, and the feeling can be like being taken over by aliens. It’s scary, can happen anywhere, to anyone, and it’s onset can often be provoked by seemingly nothing. It affects our lives, our lifestyle, what we do, how we think, what we choose to do (or not do), how we sleep, eat, and live our daily lives. These kinds of attacks can be debilitative to the point where you feel like you’re stuck in mud. You can feel alone, lonely, depressed, without motivation, affect and make difficult relationships with family and friends, and can make us have what we think are “firm beliefs” that make no sense to us, but not to anyone else. And they can feel like they’ll never end.

Well, Good news!!!! Today, now, you have the choice to take control. Once and for all. Anxiety and Panic are HIGHLY treatable. With consistent use of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, (the power of positive thinking), relaxation techniques, and a good support system, you have the ability to overcome this overwhelming and temporary disorder. Did you know, that only 1/3 of the population suffering from anxiety gets assistance! Anxiety and depression are often under-reported, or even not identified, because we don’t want to admit how we feel, talk about it for fear of judgement or stigma, and because getting help can take weeks or even months if you’re looking for psychiatry or a psychologist.

Anxiety, and General Anxiety Disorder, defined as, and can include panic attacks, phobias, obsessions or post traumatic stress, are (serious) disturbances in thoughts, feelings and perceptions that can become severe enough to affect day-to-day functioning. Anxiety can also lead to, or be concomitant with other disorders such as:

  • depression – intense feelings of sadness and worthlessness – so bad that you have lost interest in life,
  • schizophrenia – seeing, smelling or hearing things that are not there –
  • bipolar disorder – cycles of feeling intensely happy and invincible followed by depression,
  • eating disorders – anorexia (not eating), or bulimia (eating too much and then vomiting), and

One in every 5 Canadians will at some point in their lives experience some form of emotional or psychosocial interference. At any given time, 10.4% of Canadians will be suffering from some form of Anxiety or related disorder, and over a lifetime, 12% of Canadians will experience Anxiety. Left unattended to, 16% of Canadians between the ages of 25-44 will commit suicide, and the total number per year, in Canada, is 4000. No one should suffer to this point, and it shows that it really is important, ego aside, to realize how you’re feeling and ask for help. Asking for help is NOT a sign of a weak person. Rather, it’s a clear sign of a most powerful person because they are acknowledging how they feel, and seek help and support.

Anxiety is commonly referred to as “Mental Illness”, but I don’t like this term, or what it connotes. So, from here on in, we’ll refer to it as what it is; Anxiety. Period. And it’s not permanent, and it doesn’t define who you are, what you are, or your place on the socio-economic ladder. No matter who you are, it is what’s going on for you now, and no one should judge you or make assumptions about one’s behaviour without knowing all the facts, or understanding their source. We just simply don’t know what goes on for others and so we should, at all times, be without judgement or assumption, and always be kind, and nice. Let’s begin with some information, about symptoms, because an informed person is a powerful person. Anxiety can, but not always, include feelings of:

  • Uncontrollable fearful thoughts
  • Palpitations or a racing heart
  • Sweating and/or numbness of hands and feet
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle tension
  • Dizziness
  • Disrupted sleeping or trouble falling asleep
  • Trembling
  • Backache or headache
  • Shortness of breath

Firstly, let me tell you that you will NOT die. It may feel like it, and the impending doom IS real, but you will be ok. You can start RIGHT NOW getting it under control, and you can do it anywhere. They key is to change your perception of events by changing how and what you’re thinking, knowing that belief isn’t actual reality. Experience is. You will do self-talk, calm yourself down, and prove that through experiencing the experience, you can overcome the feelings of anxiety, your fears, and irrational beliefs. How do you do this?

#1. THINK POSITIVE THOUGHTS. It sounds highly cliche, but it works. It will also start to slow down your sympathetic nervous system, which in turn will help you to slow down and control your breathing.

#2. BREATHE. In through your nose, out your mouth. Relax. Continue thinking positively, and while you are doing calm, steady breathing, NOTICE what happens. You should start feeling yourself coming down. You will really have to concentrate on these skills to get the benefit but you will see that within a few minutes, you will start to calm down. Here comes the third…

#3. REALIZE what you’re experiencing, as this will become your new reality and experience, which in turn will show you what actually is true; that your unrealistic reality is just that. Unrealistic. You got through the episode and you’re now able to stat braking new brain connections. You just have to learn how. In my practice, I teach my clients skills and techniques how to manage and control the anxiety, the thoughts, and the nervousness.

The truth about anxiety, is that you can get it under control, and experience that nothing bad has happened. It’s the experience of the experience that will get you through the next episode, so that you can begin realize you can control it, and that it’s not the end of the world because you got through it are fine. Feel proud, because you’ve just shown yourself that not only can you control it, but that your episodes will begin to decrease in intensity and frequency over time. Just remember, that the power of your thoughts is more powerful than the episode itself, and this too, shall pass!


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