Monday, July 18, 2011

Dealing With Unexpected Anxiety Setbacks

It's been at least a year and a half since I have had a panic attack. But sure enough, Thursday night I had 2 panic attacks and then generalized anxiety ever since. I believe it was brought on due to the fact that I weaned my baby from nursing last week and my daughter's 3rd birthday party was on Saturday. The combination of my whacked out hormones and a huge stressor was more than I could take.

I've noticed a pattern to how I deal with these sudden anxiety outbreaks. I think I get a little better each time at dealing with them so I thought I would share my process (both the good and bad) with you. Hopefully you can adjust as needed for your situation.
  1. The first thing I do is freak out. (This area needs improvement lol). After the panic attacks happened, my mind was racing worried about the impact this would have on the next few days and I was a little out of control. I cried alot and my stomach cramped all night and I couldn't sleep.
  2. The next thing I do is mourn. I mourn for the loss of my anxiety free days. I have my internal pity parties, why me moments, and laying around feeling sick and sorry for myself. This is what I did all morning on Friday. In the past this mourning period has lasted much longer. It could drag on for a week. So just one morning is improvement for me. Maybe someday I will be able to skip this step altogether.
  3. Then I finally realize I need to change my attitude and get to a better place. On Friday afternoon I went to the Reality of Anxiety site and read the following blog posts to get me pumped:
  4. On Saturday morning I implemented the coping strategies in those posts and others I have learned over time. I did a lot of abdominal breathing, I repeated positive affirmations (ex: This may be hard but I can handle it) over and over again, I asked my spouse for a lot of love and support and got lots of hugs and kisses and I listened to my body and ate when I could. Sunday I made sure to have a destress day where I lounged around in comfy clothes and then today I did some yoga and tried to get back to my normal routine.
After the birthday party I felt alot better simply because the stress was over, but Sunday and this morning I still had lingering morning anxiety. I've continued to tell myself it isn't a big deal and it has been going away much quicker. I am hopeful it will be gone completely in the next few days. And if its not, I will reassess if I need additional help like medication.

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