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Stress, Anxiety, And Panic. You Don’t Have To Be a Hostage One-Second-Longer

You don’t. You really don’t.

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.

You may have experienced this 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 can affect everything too. Our lives, families, our lifestyle, and every single interpersonal interaction we have. It affects what we do or not do, how we think, how we sleep, if we eat, if we get out of bed, our jobs, our kids, our everything. Left untreated, it could become worse. These kinds of attacks can be debilitative to the point where you feel like you’re stuck in mud. Literally.

I get it. I really get it. Ive been there. The feelings are real, and they are strong, overwhelming, and self-fulfilling, and can leave you feeling alone, lonely, depressed, without motivation, and make relationships with family and friends difficult and unbearable with huge avoidance behaviour. Anxiety and Panic attacks can make us have what we think are “firm beliefs” that make perfect sense to the sufferer, and no sense to anyone who doesn’t understand it. Sometimes, being alone and not being sociable is easier because it’s too much effort and too scary to be around people for fear of an attack, or for fear and attack will happen just getting there.

Meds are a great option and a wise choice for many people. While drugs do many wonderful things, and for Stress,  Anxiety and Panic sufferers, they’re a great start to gaining control and taking the edge off. But what many don’t realize, is that medicine only does just that; the problems, issues and triggers are still there, and you’re still walking around with them, waiting for them to rear their ugly head again. We think, take the meds. But again, it’s only mechanism of action is to help in the moment. The real work is yet to come, and that requires you. 
Stress, Anxiety, and Panic are all symptoms. The bigger picture are the underlying triggers, issues, and unresolved feelings that incite or create the stress and the attacks. Drugs are no quick-fix to the real issues. As a Professional, my goal is to help you figure out what your triggers are, why they exist, and develop alternative thought-processes and behaviours, so that your go-to is no longer stress, anxiety or panic. You learn to begin to control it, and put a halt to it controlling you. Once you start doing the work, and learn the techniques, coping mechanisms, and new go-to skills needed to take control back, you’ll be well on your way to leaving this life behind, and living the way you should, stress, anxiety and panic free. Meds and the right support go hand-in-hand and go take you a long way, you just ned to be sick and tired of living here, and be ready for more, better, and happier.

Well, Good news. Today, now, you have the choice to take control. Once and for all. Anxiety and Panic are highly treatable, with or without drugs. With consistent use of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy skills,  breathing and relaxation techniques, and a good Professional and personal support system, you have the ability to overcome. Did you know, that only 1/3 of the population suffering from anxiety get help. So many people are walking around suffering, when all they need to do is ask for help. In my practice, there’s no stigma or judgement. None of this defines you or makes you who you are.

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 hard. And scary. Living here, like this, in stress, anxiety, and panic, is scarier, isn’t it? I think so. Asking for help is not a sign of a weak person. Did you know, that Stress, Anxiety, Panic attacks and depression are under-treated, under-reported, and often mis-identified? Many of us don’t want to admit how we feel, for fear of judgement or stigma, and because dealing with the emotional is painful. Living like this is more painful, and without help and support, even more so. Asking for help, and actually showing up to get help, is a clear sign of a most powerful person, because they’re the ones acknowledging how they feel, wanting change, seeking an end and a new, bright beginning of getting their life back.

Let’s begin with some information about symptoms. An informed person is a powerful person. Stress, Anxiety and Panic 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

The impending feelings of doom are real, and you will be ok. You can start tight now, getting it under control, and you can do it anywhere. One fundamental  is to change your perception of the presently-occurring events by changing how and what you’re thinking, knowing that your belief in the fear and the bad things that can happen, isn’t actual reality. Experience is. Through the amazing techniques of CBT, and some other techniques and exercises I use, I teach my clients how to calm themselves down, eventually avert an episode entirely, and prove that through experiencing the experience, you can overcome the feelings of stress, anxiety, panic, 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.

The truth about anxiety, is that you can get it under control, and experience that nothing bad has happened. It’s this experience that will get you through the next episode, realizing you have all the control, and that it’s not the end of the world because you got through it, and you are fine.

Feel proud, because you’ve just shown yourself that not only can you control it, but 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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