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Friday, November 12, 2010

You Can Take Back Your Life and Overcome Panic Attacks

by Calista Middleton


 I have suffered from panic attacks on and off all my life.  I found myself in a very vicious cycle.  I was not able to sleep because couldn't get my thoughts to quiet down.  I just kept thinking about things I was worried about and couldn't seem to get my mind off of them. I went to my doctor who prescribed anti-anxiety drugs and sent me on my way.  Well, those drugs were so sedating, I couldn't function.  At that point, I was sleeping all the time or I felt so fuzzy, I couldn't deal with the issues causing the attacks, so they became more intense and more frequent. When I stopped taking the drugs, the racing thoughts came back and I couldn'tt sleep again.  I just didn't think that I was ever going to find a way to function in the real world again.

My doctor put me on antidepressants and said that they were the magic that would make me a functional human again.  My anxiety would be controlled and I'd be well soon.  The problem with those, is that they actually made things worse because they had the opposite effect on me.  Instead of calming me down, I became agitated and even became paranoid. I researched the side effects and learned that what I was experiencing was not unusual.  I had to find away to deal with my anxiety attacks in a more natural way that didn't involve drugs.

I began finding ways to focus my mind on something besides my thoughts.  Sometimes I would play card games on my computer or my cell phone.  I chose games that made me think.  Sudoku is one of my favorites.  Word challenge games are also very effective for me.

I learned to pay attention to my breathing and when I felt that I couldn'tt breathe, I focused on each breath that I took.  That helped me calm down and I would be able to decrease the symptoms.  I slowly began to take my life back.

One of my other tools is listening to guided relaxation programs on my ipod.  The guided imagery had a very calming effect on me and I would be able to relax and sleep. 

Dealing with anxiety and panic attacks can be a huge challenge, but it can be done.  What works for one person may not work for another.  There is not a "one size fits all" cure.  I encourage everyone to explore options and find the tools that will allow them to take control of their life again.

I have suffered from anxiety attacks most of my life. I've taken just about every medication ever invented, but the side effects are miserable. I began a search for treatment that didn't involve drugs. That's when I learned about Panic Away.

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