How to get through Anxiety Attacks

Nope.

Throughout the decades of pain, heartache, unimaginable and incomprehensible suffering I almost couldn’t endure from having debilitating, life-interrupting anxiety attacks. There are techniques that CAN and DO relieve anxiety. These are my absolute favorites:

Breathing: 
I know, everyone says ‘just breathe’. But how ridiculous does that sound when you’re in the middle of a panic attack? I know. Believe me. But there is a method to the madness, I promise. One of my favorite and actually very effective methods is counting your breath. Inhale slowly through your nose, to the count of 5 – 7 seconds, hold for 5 – 7 seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth for 5 – 7 seconds. Do this at least a few times and you will feel the difference very quickly.

The Five Senses:
This has helped me many times as well. Focus on the five senses. What are you feeling, smelling, tasting, hearing, and touching at this very moment. Focus intently on each sense. This can help ground you back into the present moment, away from worry of fear or harm.

Being Present: 
I will often do a mental checklist in the middle of the panic attack, and change it according to what is making me feel anxious at that moment. For example, for whatever reason, when my stomach gets upset from IBS symptoms (cramping etc) I panic. I worry. So I will remind myself of things like, I have been through this many times before, I am safe, there is a bathroom nearby, even if I do get sick it will pass, it always does, I’m not going to die. Even though every time this happens, I think it’s food poisoning, it never has been in the past ever. A mental checklist like this reminds yourself that you can and you will get through anxiety, and ground you in the present moment, which is actually safe.

Affirmations:
Affirmations can calm you from the inside out. An effective way to do this is picture yourself as a small child, who is feeling as you are feeling at that moment, and what you would say to that little child. For example, (I say to myself) I am safe, I am calm, I am OK, I love me, God’s healing flows through me now restoring me and making me whole, I will get through this, this will pass, and one of my favorites: relax mind & body, let go and let God. (If you are able, go into a quiet room, close your eyes and repeat affirmations). Affirmations can penetrate your conscious mind, into your subconscious mind.

Essential Oils can help calm your nerves as well. My favorites are lemon, lavender and peppermint. I will put them individually or all of them on different parts of my hands, or neck.

Exercise: 
Cardiovascular exercise does wonders for anxiety attacks. It helps release the build up of the cortisol chemical that is overly secreted during an anxiety attack. It can also take your mind off the anxiety, and it can tire you out. If you try this, I recommend giving it at least 15 minutes. It takes our minds a few minutes to reset.

Distraction:
Some of these methods above involve distracting yourself from the anxiety. Sometimes that’s really all that is needed. Anxiety is nothing more than fear of something in the future. (Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real). Even talking with a friend, listening to their story (about anything) can engage your mind, and help you from focusing on your anxiety. Remember, it ALWAYS passes, even though sometimes it feels like it never will! (I have had anxiety for days, weeks, what felt like months. But it did lessen and pass).

One last thing, that I think is very important. Remind yourself that you are doing better than you ‘FEEL’ you are doing. For instance, if you have a panic attack, and you get through it (even if it lasts a few hours or so); you survived! Pat yourself on the back! Tell yourself good job! You got through it! You didn’t run home, you didn’t die 🙂 We need to celebrate our victories, even the smallest. Especially when we focus all too much on what’s wrong with us. There’s nothing wrong with you or me. Maybe we are a little more sensitive to anxiety or life’s stressors, but that does NOT mean we are broken. And every day we get to wake up  and take another breathe is a victory in itself. Celebrate you. ❤

 

 

 

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Anxiety & Vitamin B & D

Anxiety and panic attacks are on the rise in modern society. Some say it’s because the pace of life is so stressful, others that nutrients are gone from our food. A better approach would be to say both things are true. Address the stressors in your life rather than trying to cover them with treatment. If the cause of anxiety is physiological rather than situational, however, taking supplements could help relieve the symptoms, but always talk to your doctor. Serious anxiety should always be addressed professionally.

Supplements or Food?

Do you really need to take a pill or a powdered drink mix in order to obtain relief from symptoms of panic and anxiety? It is possible the diet could be a better place to start. Indeed, take a look at what you eat. Are meals well balanced? Do you eat vegetables and fruits of all colors, lean meat and poultry, whole grains, and legumes? If not, then you could be depriving your body of ingredients that run a healthy nervous system and help to balance hormones. Start there, and if your efforts to eat better don’t work, come back to the notion of supplements.

Supplements that Might Work

There are no guarantees, but the following products could help you to relax. Magnesium is at the top of our list because it is so commonly deficient in the modern, western diet. Consumers obtain magnesium from dark, leafy, green vegetables, oats, grains, and other sources. They can also take this mineral as a pill or a powder, often in combination with calcium which is also neglected. These and other minerals support nervous system health and prevent problems like Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), a frustrating cause of many sleepless nights and ongoing anxiety among countless North Americans.

Vitamin D

One reason the absence of sun affects people so much is that this is the primary source of Vitamin D. Without it, our bodies do not absorb minerals as easily. Vitamin D is important in its own right too as seen in the frequency of Seasonal Affective Disorder. The easiest way to take this as a supplement is to buy drops. A little goes a long way.

B Vitamins

The nervous system, metabolism, and hormones require B Vitamins found in turkey, grains, and bananas. Don’t deprive yourself: consume more of these foods or take a tablet every day containing a mixture of the many B-Vitamins with their manifold roles in the body.

Exercise

It’s not a supplement, but exercise releases feel good chemicals into the bloodstream which fight stress and promote a sense of peace. You also sleep better when you exercise and tend to feel good about yourself.

My Favorite Supplements

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I just wanted to do an update post on which supplements I now take regularly, and why they are so helpful.
I have talked about what I have tried, but here’s what I faithfully take now:

  1. Papaya & Pineapple Enzymes
  2. Olive leaf extract
  3. Niacin
  4. Vitamin C
  5. Complete Omegas
  6. Multi-vitamin & Mineral
  7. Fiber
  8. Moringa
  9. Colloidal Silver
  10. Green Superfood
  11. Manuka Honey
  12. Probiotics

I have suffered from intense anxiety & panic attacks for most of my life, impending doom-worry, and Chronic IBS-D (irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea). So for me, I wanted and needed to approach all aspects of my health from all angles.
Let me explain the reason behind each one.

Papaya & Pineapple enzymes: Papaya enzymes contain several proteolytic enzymes (they help breakdown and digest proteins), with anti-microbial and anti-ulcerative properties. (So if you have IBS, gut flora is important, and this helps).

Olive leaf extract: Olive leaf extract is good for blood pressure, your heart, diabetes, it can help reduce carbohydrate absorption, an antioxidant, and immune system support.  (perfect if you’re under stress or not feeling well).

Niacin: Niacin can lower cholesterol, help digestion, and even help with depression.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is great for your immune system and also aids with healing sore muscles from working out.

Complete Omegas: Omegas are great for joints, skin, and cognitive functions. There are many different supplement options, (omega 3, 6, 9) which is why I chose to take a complete omega.

Multi-Vitamins: A good multivitamin is a must on a daily basis. I look for one that has all B vitamins, minerals and Iron. (The one above is my favorite from trader joes does).

Fiber: There are many different fiber supplement options. I went with Heather’s Tummy fiber formula because its soluble fiber (fiber is either insoluble or soluble. Most supplements are insoluble, and if you have IBS, insoluble fiber is intolerated).

Moringa: Moringa is not a well known supplement, but it’s incredible. It has 9 times the protein of yogurt, 10 times the vitamin A of carrots, 15 times the potassium of bananas, 17 times the calcium of milk, 12 times the vitamin C of oranges, 25 times the iron of spinach. Its also an antioxidant, can lower blood sugar, reduce inflammation, maintain healthy cholesterol, protect against arsenic toxicity, and an antibacterial. WOAH. Need I say more?

Colloidal Silver: Colloidal silver is great for immune system support. I also sometimes use it if I get a toothache, or a scratch, it works phenomenally.

Green Superfood: This is great if you aren’t eating enough vegetables every day. I usually take this daily with a teaspoon of agave syrup & a tablespoon of moringa.

Manuka Honey: Manuka Honey has antiviral, antibiotic, and antiseptic properties. Some people put it on their skin or in tea. I eat a teaspoon a few times a week.

Probiotics: Probiotics are vital, not just for people with IBS but for everyone. When looking for a good probiotic it can be tough to know where to start. I ONLY take Dr. Mercola probiotics. His are some of the purest I’ve ever seen (70 billion CFUs). They are also good for: growing healthy gut bacteria, immune system support, aids in breakdown of toxins, helps maintain blood pressure levels.

So there you have it. My list of supplements and why I love each one 🙂

I have put countless hours, and probably years into research to discover the best combination that works for me. My goal is to be able to help anyone else who has suffered like I have!

 

Thanks for reading,

Kait

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anxiety: Supplements

Vitamins

There are so many different supplements on the market for anxiety, it’s insanity. How TF would anyone know where to start? Hopefully my experiences can help someone else. Here are the different supplements/vitamins for anxiety I have tried:

5-HTP
St Johns Wart
Valerian Root
Kava Kava
Passion Flower
Homeopathic Kali phosphoricum
B vitamins
Magnesium
Melatonin
Green tea
Essential Oils

All of these are great. Overall,  5-HTP is my favorite, it help me the most. I still use a diffuser almost daily with essential oil (usually lavender, lemon or peppermint, or all mixed) because it smells so good. Also small doses of melatonin helped me sleep. But one of THE most important ‘supplements’ for anxiety is self care; I cannot stress that enough. If you are not eating or sleeping right, throw everything else out the window. There are a couple things that are absolute NO-NO’s if you are anxious and those include:

Caffeine
Sugary foods

Caffeine and sugar affect those with anxiety differently, we are more sensitive. It does not mean you can never have coffee ever again, but maybe switch to decaf for a little while, or even tea. I know you probably hear this everywhere but try to limit processed food, sugar and caffeine intake before even thinking about dealing with anxiety. And make sure to take a good quality multi-vitamin & mineral, I get mine at trader joes.

I put a link on all the above products if anyone is wondering the brands I trust.

Anxiety & Depression: Medications

http://www.delishbeads.com/products/12mm-little-capsule-with-blank-paper-inside-happy-pills-tiny-fake-plastic-or-resin-cabochons-15-pc-set
Medications.

As I am getting ready to write this, I am reminiscing about how many different medications I have tried/been on…

First, I think it is important to discuss what anxiety is, and the different types of medications that are usually prescribed for anxiety conditions. (I for one like to know what anxiety is in my brain/body, what is happening and what these medications are intended for).

Anxiety:
Anxiety in its purest form is a chemical imbalance. What causes this imbalance can be stress, genetics, upbringing, trauma, the list goes on. Over time, the reason people’s anxiety generally gets worse is chemical build ups in our bodies from overactive adrenal glands. Primarily, excessive release of cortisol. Cortisol is our ‘fight or flight’ hormone, which can be very useful in times of danger, but in everyday life, excess cortisol can be quite difficult to manage, even crippling. What happens in our bodies when we have too much cortisol is we become over-sensitized, from these frequent chemical releases, and our anxiety is more easily triggered by everyday stressors. Basically our fight or flight mechanism is a little over-active from anxiety and needs to be corrected. This is a very primitive description, but you get the point.

So most doctors prescribe two types of medications. Long lasting, and short acting. Long lasting would be an anti-depressant, and short acting would be a benzodiazepine.

The majority of Anti-depressants come in two forms:
SSRI‘s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor)
SNRI‘s (serotonin and norepinephrine inhibitor).
Some examples of SSRI’s are prozac, paxil, zoloft, celexa, and lexapro.
Some examples of SNRI’s are cymbalta, effexor, fetzima, and pristiq. (SNRI’s are the ‘newer’ generation of antidepressants). Oh and Btw – I have been on most of these at one time or another and found 5mg of celexa daily to work the best for me).

WTF is reuptake/inhibitor?

“It’s the process in which neurotransmitters are naturally reabsorbed back into nerve cells in the brain after they are released to send messages between nerve cells. A reuptake inhibitor prevents this from happening. Instead of getting reabsorbed, the neurotransmitter stays — at least temporarily — in the gap between the nerves, called the synapse.

What’s the benefit? The basic theory goes like this: keeping levels of the neurotransmitters higher could improve communication between the nerve cells — and that can strengthen circuits in the brain which regulate mood.”(taken from webMD.com

The biggest difference between the two is: SSRIs affect the transportation and receptors of serotonin and SNRIs block the uptake of serotonin and norepinephrine, (norepinephrines general function is to mobilize the body for action, similar to cortisol).  Serotonin is considered a feel good, happy chemical, so if it gets too high or too low, we need to restore it.

Medications have come under fire in recent years as we as a whole try to live more naturally. But sometimes I think medications are imperative. Especially if we have been living with well-above normal cortisol levels for a long time. It can be hard for our minds/bodies to regulate and release those chemicals.

Benzodiazepines are medications such as xanax, klonopin, or valium. These are fast acting and short lasting drugs (usually a few hours). They are usually taken on an as needed basis, say during a panic attack. Doctors warn not to take these medications long term as we can build a tolerance to them, or they can become addictive, so be careful. I personally, carry a prescription of xanax, 0.25mg dose and have for over 10yrs. I only take them during an extremely anxious time (maybe a couple times a year) and have not built any tolerance to them.

Anxiety can be dealt with, but it will take discipline, faith, action, and hard work. I have countless hours, weeks, and years into my journey but it is worth it. No one should suffer forever, I know how despairing it can feel, and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

So if you are thinking of taking medications even short term, it may be worth a shot.  I know I personally, absolutely despise taking anything because it makes me feel like a total failure at life, but medication is not for failure, it is a small nudge to help us get our feet back on the ground. I did not fail, for I am still here. I never quit.

Another thing, I can’t recommend for everyone but worked for me, is when a Doctor wants to put me on a medication, I would start at half the recommended dose. A lot of doctors are all too quick to prescribe lots of medications in high doses.

Also be prepared that medications are not a fix-all. You will need to dig deep and do some therapy, or behavioral work to change your own negative self talk. However, medications can allow the breathing room for you to finally be able get through whatever is causing your anxiety. Remember, nothing ever lasts forever and change is 100% possible. ❤

 

Anxiety – A Brief History

Ahhh Anxiety.

(If Only I could have Morgan Freeman narrate this post, this topic would actually be soothing).

Many people including myself suffer from Anxiety.

From generalized anxiety to chronic panic attacks, this condition affects many people, and some may not even realize it.

For me, I can remember feeling anxious from as young as five years old. I would try to fall asleep, and find myself panicking whether school kids would like me or not. Anxiety can be misunderstood by many around you, and debilitating, like mine. But there is hope. I certainly found some.

It was not until many years later that I realized this was anxiety and I sought help.

Finding help for anxiety is like going to a large supermarket, into the cereal aisle, and trying to pick one of the 600 different cereals, when you have no idea what cereal you like. Its overwhelming to say the least. My quest for knowledge and relief started over 20 years ago, I was willing to try anything.

I have had years of therapy visits, read countless books, tried C.B.T. (cognitive behavioral therapy), meditation, self-hypnosis, medications, affirmations, paid workshop programs, supplements, cognitive thought processes, journal-ling, spiritual prayer therapy, you name it.

One of the biggest factors I have come to realize for me, is my thoughts are the number one culprit. They add fuel to the fire. And thoughts are a lot more powerful than we give them credit for.

I can say I have found relief. Does anxiety ever disappear completely? No. But can it be managed and minimized to a fraction of its previous power? Absolutely. I am going to write more about the individual things and ideas that have helped me to live a serene life. Read about some of my favorite methods here.