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.



Jill said...

Hi Aimee,

I like your process. Changing my attitude from Oh crap not again to Ok this is uncomfortable, but I can do it helps me a lot. I use my coping skills (similar to yours- yoga, breathing correctly, positive affirmations and visualizations, etc) and then I go about my day confident that I can handle whatever comes my way. It takes a lot of practice and gentle exposure to things I may fear, but it is definitely worth it.

Take care,

Lindsey said...

Hi Aimee-

I am going through a very parallel situation, where I have not had an attack in a while, but a few weeks ago I had one and went through the same steps, although the pity party lasted longer than I would like. But what brought me out of it was your blog. Knowing someone else goes through the same thing and all your great reminders is what brings me strength, so thanks! and keep trucking!

Heidi said...

Hi Aimee,

I feel so much better after reading your blog post. I often feel like I am the only one who has the symptoms I do with my Panic and Anxiety. (Stomach cramps and crying instead of the heart racing most people get).
Reading this post made me feel a bit better in the sense that I could have written it myself...but you have a positive ending and I still am so afraid of what happens to me that I stay sick to my stomach and sad for a long time.
Knowing there is someone else out there that goes through what I do does help. I don't know a single person who has this - and I think that makes me more fearful.
If only we lived closer...but at least we have your blog :)

Wendy Lady said...

I'm so glad I read this. After being pretty anxiety free for a while I'm suddenly finding myself with awful morning and night anxiety, the inability to sleep, and one panic attack a few days ago after going months without one. It's so hard to feel like it's starting all over again, like I really haven't come as far as I perhaps thought. I know that's not the case, thanks for all your help and honesty!!!

Lord Valdemort said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sannah said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I think that anxiety (generalised and panic attacks) is something that we don't talk about nearly enough. I experienced many panic attacks during my late teens and early twentys, and then generalised anxiety disorder for a most of a year after my second baby was born. The thing that helped me most and virtually cured me, was doing a course in mindfulness. There were so many skills in it that helped me, and when combined together and practised regularly I feel like I am now virtually cured. I have decided to write about some of the things I learned in it that have helped me on my blog. Hope that you have an anxiety-free weekend.

anxiety4youngadults said...

I like what you are doing with your blog. I have my own message/methods about anxiety I'd like to spread, have a read of my site maybe you will find useful tips you can incorporate into your own research:

טיפול בחרדות said...

i wish u health

Rich said...


Nice post. I can remember my first panic attack in a second...and all the trouble it has caused me since. It came out of nowhere. I was driving home from the movies when I had to pull over and knock on someones door fearing I was having a heart attack! At the ER everything came back normal...and so began routine panic attacks because I was living in fear. I too was able to take complete control of them. It started by realizing that it was a fear-adrenaline- fear cycle...and I was creating them myself. Out of the whole 3 year experience I developed a project to try and help Others just like you! I am going to subscribe and keep up the great work! It's all about helping each other. I'm really glad I came across your site. Panic Attacks are completely manageable.

Best :)


Project: I Wanna Live Again -

Rich said...

Hi Aimee,

I just wanted to let you know, I attempted to email you but got a *Not Found* page after submitting. I just wanted to give you a heads up. Also here is the email I was sending...

I came across your site today and love it! It is a great resource for those of us struggling with anxiety and panic. Like you, I have struggled and continue to now and again. I thought rather than mourn about it, I should be constructive and create a project to help other, much like yours. I noticed you have a badge on your site that can be brought onto others. I would love to find a spot for your onto my site. That is a great idea to help people navigate from one helpful resource to another. I am going to look into creating a badge myself. If you have the time please check out my project at If you like it I would be thrilled to share a badge with you for your site. I am striving to make a quality website in order to help others. I look forward to hearing from you and keep up the good work!



Anonymous said...

Hi Aimee,

I just tried to post a comment using my google account but my comment didn't show up. So now I will try using "anonymous."

I wanted to tell you that I just discovered your blog a few days ago when I was surfing around trying to find blogs that deal with anxiety. My anxiety has been really ramped up lately and I have been so thankful to find support here at your blog. I have spent all my breaks at work reading your archives.

I blog about my struggles with anxiety, OCD and depression over at:


Anonymous said...

Hi Aimee,

I wrote the comment right above this one and after I posted it, I realized I have a question for you.

I have been blogging for about 2 years and within this last year, I have focused a lot on what I am learning about my OCD, anxiety and depression. The problem is, I only have 1 or 2 readers. It is rather frustrating and though I love blogging, I'm beginning to wonder why I even bother. My goal is to reach out to people for support. I leave comments on other blogger's sites but I am just not gaining a readership.

Any advice?

Oh... here is my blog address if you want to have a look:

My e-mail address is on my blog.

Thank you,

Katie @ peacebeme said...

Great job processing this and turning it around. I had panic attacks multiple times a day when my fiance was deployed for the whole year of 2010. Now that he is home and we are engaged and I don't get them every day anymore, I also freak out when they pop up for a few days here and there. I panic that I will go back to having them every day. That, of course, makes it worse. I just remind myself that it can't last forever.

The Blue Morpho said...

I am 'glad' to see you have mourning as part of your process. Many of us try to skip this step, moving right on to how to just feel better without honoring the losses of the past and present. It is painful, but I think it makes for more long-lasting healing. Adventures in Anxiety Land

Kathy Garolsky said...

Hi there.I enjoyed reading your post.Looking forward to see more of your post.Thanks

Samual James said...

Hi... what is great information this. It will be very helpful for those who are affected from panic anxiety. I really appreciated your hard efforts that you put in your blog.

Trouble Anxiete

Unknown said...

Hi Aimee!
I just started reading your blog. I just want to say it's refreshing to know that there are other people who are battling Anxiety. I enjoyed reading this post, and find it great that you have developed a "process" in dealing with your bouts of anxiety.

Anonymous said...

This has been so helpful to read! I struggle with anxiety and generalized anxiety at any transition in my life and right now I am in a real rut. I am starting a new job in a new area with my fiance and have gotten myself into a pattern of anxiety again. A very helpful website that someone has suggested to me was It explain the panic trick and is extremely helpful when I am having bad moments. I am reading his book right now and find it comforting.

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