Anxiety: It sucks... but it doesn't have to suck as much as it does.

Discussion in 'Strategies for Success' started by randomguy9, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. randomguy9

    randomguy9 Put's the "Pro" in Profanity Chat Pro

    Normal disclaimer: I am not a therapist, doubt I will ever be one. I am always concerned I'm going to type something wrong... and in case that happens it is usually a good idea to talk to people who have training I don't about this kind of thing... and my experience might be different than others.

    Anxiety is something that kicked my ass many many times. I don't want to know how many times it took control of my efforts to study, efforts to work, efforts to relate to people... only to make the situation worse than it was when it started.

    2. things that have helped me.

    1 Realizing what the body thinks it needs to do.

    The body and mind of us humans has not done a great job adapting to the modern world in a lot of ways. Anxiety is one of those. We all get stressed and afraid... and that is all natural.

    At one point in history the main things we got stressed and scared of were threats to survival. So the body responds by improving our vision, breathing deeper so oxygen is available, making us hyper aware of what is going on around us, sending blood to the core mussels... etc etc. The body is ready to grab a weapon and fend off the animal or whatever else that is attacking it. If that isn't an option, the body is prepared to run the heck away until it is in a safe place.

    Unfortunately even when that kind of danger isn't present the body still responds to fear in that exact same way. All those things would be good in a survival situation but isn't the right way to respond to meeting a new person, giving a speech, applying for work, taking a test... etc etc. As anyone who has gone through this knows it is counterproductive.

    With that said recognizing the internal survival instinct going off can help. Being able to see what the body is trying to do, and remind it that it does not need to do it, is calming. The conscious can override the subconscious.

    2. Breathing exercises

    Other than that the other readily available thing is breathing. I know... the old "just breath" addage is frustrating to hear from people who have never been through anxiety issues.... With that said anyone who has gone through that sudden really fast, really shallow breathing knows how bad it can be, and how quickly everything else can go to hell... Stopping it early has done wonders for me. I have heard the term anxiety attack and panic attack... I'm not sure if they are one and the same or if there is a clinical definition for both... and I'm not a professional so I guess i don't need to know... but crap by any name is still crap... and the feeling is crappy.

    Anyway... when anxiety hits breathing is one of the 1st things to get out of it's norm. Fast and shallow. Unfortunately because the body tends to not be exercising it does not have use for all the oxygen it is pulling in... and IIRC this leads to problems.

    There are a number of breathing exercise The jist of many of them is in for X number of seconds, hold for X number seconds, out for X seconds.

    Example the3-5-7 exercise.

    Breath in for 3 seconds.

    Hold your breath for 5 seconds.

    exhale for 7 seconds.

    In most of the one's I have been taught, the out is longer than both the in, and the hold. I am not sure if this has a scientific reason or not... but that is something I have noticed.

    There are other ways of going about them. Some of them involve starting with a shorter in and out breaths, and gradually slowing both down.

    Doing this seems to calm the body... and if you can teach yourself to reflex into one when that 1st anxiety breath comes, a lot of the panic can be avoided.

    Granted these are all treating symptoms, and not the problem that causes them in the 1st place. Sometimes treating the symptoms allows me to be better able to deal with the situation. Sometimes, it helps me cope when there isn't anything in that moment in time I can do to fix the anxiety provoking situation.

    Both of those help keep me from becoming horribly suicidal.

    Again, let me disclaim I haven't studied any of this much... just passing on what works for me. If any of my scientific ish statements are wrong let me know... and if a therapist or someone else tells you something different they are probably right and I am probably wrong.

    Anyway... hope this helps. Anxiety is something that we can learn to manage and control, and overcome.
     
  2. Freya

    Freya Loves SF Staff Member ADMIN

    Thank you for writing this post Greg :hug: I think you write with a great deal of clarity and empathy and I find your posts here really helpful. Keep doing what you are doing - I can see the difference in you every time you are in chat now - even on the bad days. The strength to admit that your thoughts and perspectives are distorted and your commitment to changing those patterns and habits for a better life are inspirational - and the change it has made to you is clear enough to give hope and prove that change can and will happen if you fight for it. Well done!! Be proud of yourself!!
     
  3. aTALLmidget

    aTALLmidget Member

    Good thread, I hope more who have anxiety issues see this.

    Though I would like to help and correct the point about breathing quickly. Breathing fast and shallow does not bring in more oxygen, it in fact brings in less. This is due to dead air space in the lungs and if you don't breathe deeply enough the air and oxygen doesn't reach the alveoli and areas for gas exchange, resulting in less oxygen and a build up of CO2 in the body (as well, it may be noted that the body does not breathe in a need for oxygen, but a need to release excess CO2. This is known as a hypercarbic drive and is the normal "trigger" for breathing, driven by chemo-receptors to signal the body to breathe by detecting excess carbon dioxide. It is abnormal to breathe for a need of oxgyen, which is known as a hypoxic ((lack of oxygen)) drive , and is commonly found in regular smokers). This is why you can pass out if breathing too quickly for too long, and why your fingers and toes will begin to constrict, known as carpopedal syndrome. The normal respiratory rate for an adult is 12-20 breathes per minute, and that is the target range for adequate breathing. Anything above or below that in an alarming amount results in the need for positive pressure ventilation where an EMT or medical professional will assist the patient's breathing with a bag-valve mask with a filled reservoir bag with oxygen flowing at 15 liters per minute, delivering a breathe every 5-6 seconds to help the patient either slow down their breathing or speed up their breathing, depending on the speed of their respirations.

    Otherwise good post. That old adage "just breathe" or "nice deep breathes" rings true and has legitimate medical advice. Breathe slow and deep enough to get that oxygen! It will steady your heart rate a bit as well.
     
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