Monday, 11 January 2010

Worry and anxiety don't give them houseroom!

This morning yet again I can't get to work. I set off,I got a few yards down the road and my car started skidding from side to side of the road. At the bottom of the road there was a queue of traffic and an accident ahead, so I turned right thinking I'd be okay going that way, next hill, cars in trouble. By this time the snow had got heavier and I just reacted instinctively turned another two right turns and found myself back home.

The snow is heavier now,the journey to work is 27 miles, so with my sensible head on I know that I've made a wise choice to stay put and not put myself at risk. I have left messages with all my clients to phone me and have therapy via the phone.

All well and good, but why oh why do I feel so pathetic and guilty?

This plays in to the stuff I have been working on in myself recently looking at my own anxiety and looking at how it makes me feel physically and what I can do about it, rather than endlessly suffer it.

I have never been a worrier, I can't be bothered. But as I've got older my ability to deal with anxiety over things has got worse. Especially early in the morning, like this morning when I remembered I have to have a mammogram on Friday. On the one hand that is no big deal,as I am of the opinion there is nothing wrong with me I've had my cancer can't get it again..... and yet and yet!!!!

What I have been learning is to accept these overwhelmingly awful feelings whatever they are about. To know that my letting myself observe they are happening to me, rather than fight them, then they will not last as long.

I keep an eye on my breathing, as when the thoughts start going haywire the level of breathing in increases, as my mind feels more scared and adrenaline is being released into the system. When this happens I do control my breathing I slow it down, concentrating on the breathing out very slowly through my mouth. This has the affect of diluting the mixture of oxygen and carbon dioxide which in turn stops the feelings of panic.

There are several techniques that can be used to calm the mind spiralling out of control.The reason these work is our brain patterns will be working in one way when we are hooked into an anxiety. By doing something else we shift the pattern so the fear is calmed.

The things that can be done are swearing loudly(you can all guess this is one of my favs!)There is tapping acupuncture points on the cheekbone, collar bone, side and then top of the hand about ten times each and repeat until thinking has calmed. There is smelling a fresh lemon.Running up and down stairs works. Basically anything that will stop your brain thinking in what seems like that one worry track, by moving your body and concentrating on another activity than worry.

What I am hooking into here is the mind/body connection. Whilst always knowing that the two are obviously connected it's been interesting to prove how much as my anxiety has been veering out of control if I let it.

I do enjoy sitting on my own shoulder, and seeing what happens to me and making sense of it as I go through the life experiences that cause distress in me. As I know that by learning about myself, that I can then use these skills with other people.

Don't get me wrong this is doesn't mean I'm some sort of superhuman, more I just know what is going on and can get to grips with it quicker than others who don't have my knowledge base.

The other big thing that helps is communication. And since basically because of the snow I have not had contact with anyone for nearly a week I do know that I have to phone people up when it gets overwhelming, as in this morning. Because once spoken about, then the worry is reduced to manageable proportions and I can function till the next time it grabs me!


Zan said...

This is a really helpful post. I too try to control my breathing when my anxiety sets in and I try to reason with myself, talk myself out of it.

They had a national warning on TV Saturday, warning there would be a lot of snow coming in from the UK on Sunday. Our region would be hit badly they said.
Guess what.. Sunday came and it started raining. It's still raining and the snow is gone :(
It's a laugh really, they cancelled all the schools until Thursday! No more sheep fields for me.. :)


Dave King said...

Good sound sense that isn't always that common! Easy to forget the obvious when the stress bites. An excellent and useful post.

Lyn said...

Mandy, it's a strange sensation to logically know the right way to react and release tension but then have difficutly in applying the techniques. You're right in that if we just pull the focus a bit and observe ourselves and situation then we can deal more effectively with the anxiety we may be feeling. I love your suggestions about distracting the mind, pulling it off its worry track. I think I 'll go out and fetch me some lemons! Thanks for this helpful post.

Grammy said...

I know I would rather stay home and have you call me. So It would be good for both of you. Thank you for the suggestions. I think I have mine under control. But you never know when a panic attack will happen. As I had Pleurisy and a panic attach in jan of 08. I woke up from bed and my left arm was in pain and my heart hurt. I thought it was a heart attack. I went to the er. Since the treat me like a cash payment person they do very little to help you. I have to pay near $300 before my Medicaid gets turned on. So it looks like I have no insurance.
They gave me muscle relaxers and referred me to a heart doctor. I then failed a stress test because I could not breath. I had a cardiac cath to find my heart was fine. It was more than 6 month till I found it was Pleurisy. And a panic attack.

Mel said...

Ah, now--there's a reason Mary had a little lamb 'backwards' is a good exercise.
Oh, and singing!

I can't think and sing at the same time--funny how that works.

Good choice to park it at home, ma'am. Just sayin'....

Lia said...

I think you did totally the right thing by staying at home.I too live high up on a hill and have to go down several of them before I can get to safe ground. Far better to be at home and take calls, than to risk your own safety.
I don't know anything about anxiety, as I have never let it get to me. I'm a get up and get on type of girl and believe that if I know I am doing my best, then no-one else can expect any more of me.
Having traveled to hell and back more than once,I know that I have done everything I could have done and corrected any mistakes that I made. What more can I do than that and if people are troubled by that then it says more about them than me.
You did your best for people today, by setting out in the first place and then by phoning them and arranging an alternative.
Breathe deeply my friend for you have given of yourself today and you are a credit to yourself.
Much love

janis said...

You made me think of a song played earlier on my CD player at work. Have you heard of Diana Krall? She is very Jazzy, and deep sulky voice. Frank Sinatra type music. (go to ). The CD I was playing is The very Best of Diana Krall. I use to have a few of her songs on my Blog playlist so you may have heard the songs. You need to listen to "Pick Yourself Up". I love it and it seems to help me when I am really down or hard on myself.
Don't beat yourself up. You are AMAZING!
love janis

Butch Boo said...

Was hoping I'd get snowed in FB but didn't!

I hope you are OK- I try and have a mas trek out on the marshes with the pup when things feel overwhelming.

I SO hate anxiety-had a big rush this morning as first day back to work after a couple of weeks.
A BIG hug


Butch Boo said...

Sorry- meant to say that your photos are amazingly beautiful


trousers said...

I know the territory in this post - the anxiety and the management of it, and I know we've talked about it a good few times.

However reading through it reminded me of one way I dealt with a worry: I'd woken up early one weekend morning and couldn't get a work-related worry out of my mind. Which, since I wasn't in work for a couple of days and didn't have to get up, was doubly frustrating. I tried thinking about other things, breathing slowly so I could try and sleep, all to no avail.

In the end, annoyed and unsettled, I told myself angrily "oh go on then, just lie here and wallow in worry, don't think about anything else cos there's no point, just keep worrying about this damn thing!"

I was asleep within minutes: somehow, deciding to focus on the worry itself - rather than avoiding it - took all the power
away from it and I could relax.

kj said...

hello firebyrd, i hope you managed to enjoy your day off. i love it when snow makes the decision for me and i love feeling landlocked so i can putter inside.

this is a nice post. lots of good suggestions. you said smell the lemon, not suck on it, right? :)

miss*R said...

I am a worrier.. or rather I was.. when I catch myself worrying, I take a deep breath into my heart and centre myself... best of luck with the mammogram xoxo

Sorrow said...

Holding you close in thoughts for the mammogram,
and thank you for all the wisdom..

tattytiara said...

There's a good chance you feel guilty because too many people in this world haven't actually faced death, and society grossly over values the act of ignoring danger and carrying on as usual as a result.

I'm definitely glad you trusted your intelligence and went home.

日月神教-向左使 said...