As a few of my friends and family members already know I have been battling with Anxiety & Depression for over eight years, through this period of time I have done counselling multiple times, have had cognitive behavior therapy and been placed on medication.
I find that my mental health goes through phases and “waves” as I like to refer to them. I can have months of feeling a certain way, sometimes good, other times bad, sometimes it lasts days, sometimes it feels like years. I have been taught many coping mechanisms through my counselling and my own personal experiences. To this day, with medication and being fully aware I still find myself struggling, like I am being dragged under water, my nose being inches from the surface, my mouth submerged so I can’t scream for help.
It is terrifying, even knowing full well that it is anxiety causing the feeling, nothing feels more real than a crisis. Standing there, people surrounding you, yet nobody can even begin to imagine how you feel. You can’t explain what you’re going through, you look fine on the outside but the reality is – it feels like you’re dying. You can’t ask for help because you’re underwater. All you can do is hold on and push through the pain, the burning, near fiery chest, the pushing from each side of your head and the overwhelming sense of impending doom.
Recently I have had a major setback, up to seven attacks a day. Completely unprovoked, taking no prisoners. They’ve been more terrifying, traumatizing almost, and symptoms I have never had before. I find myself being forced to cope with them, I’ve compiled a list of the best methods for me, and I’m sharing them with you in the hope I can help at least someone if they are ever facing a crisis.
- Remove myself from the physical environment, be it going outside/ into another room or just opening a window and sticking my head outside.
- Breathing in for 4, holding for 7 and breathing out for 8. I read in an article about oxygen distribution that this method is used by people with chronic breathing problems and has been and is used for people suffering with anxiety, panic and stress disorder.
- Using Kalms and Rescue Remedy immediate action herbal tablets.
- Putting my hand on my chest and feeling my heartbeat.
- Listening to calming, instrumental music.
- Drinking plenty of water.
- Lying down.
- Sitting with my hand on my knees and my head looking at my feet.
- Asking someone who is aware of my situation to distract me and talk to me about anything and everything that isn’t in the moment.
- Focusing on five static things around me, noting the detail and intricacy of them, the colour, how they would feel, the sound they would make.
I find these techniques often help me regain control of my emotional state when I am facing an attack or crisis, and most of these can be done on your own. If you ever feel out of control, like we all do sometimes, you’re better off calling someone, anyone who knows you and you feel safe to talk to. Admitting that we need help can be the most difficult thing, and that’s okay.