STRESS and Dealing with it
Did you know there is a whole line of stress relief bath salts?
Stress can be Conquered
I intended to write a hub about how to relieve stress but before I could type the first sentence, my college aged daughter called me to let me know one of her very good friends has passed away. A tragic car accident on a winding road in the early morning. He was wearing his seat belt and was not under the influence of any alcohol or drugs. The only law he apparently broke was speeding. So young. Too young. In a matter of seconds, a life lost. This tragedy is truly why it is important to live each day and live it to the fullest. A life dictated by stress is not living life to the fullest.
Like so many of you, I have suffered stress. Stress can be mild to major. It is important to learn how to relax and turn off stress before it manifests into a real problem by becoming a physical or emotional illness.
My First Panic Attack
About a year after giving birth to my firstborn, I was sitting quietly in my living room in a rocker and enjoying the quiet of his napping and rocking myself when suddenly I felt a pressure rise inside of me. It felt like I was on the verge of something horrible, awful about to happen. My heart was racing, my mouth was dry, everything I saw seemed brighter, intense. My pulse was going so fast I was sure I would pass out at any moment. Immediately I called my doctor and was told to go to the nearest emergency room. That frightened me more than anything but word to anyone going through something similar (if you are in the United States) most doctors fear malpractice suits therefore they always tell you to head to the ER-error on the side of caution.
I arrived at the ER and after 5 hours and a battery of tests later, I am told "You are very healthy, nothing is wrong". Feeling like a complete nut job and hypochondriac, I take what is left of my pride and head home. Everything seems like a dream, but not a good one, more like a nightmare. My mind is hazy and I feel spacey. Several hours later, I feel waves of fear coming over me. The back of my neck is tight, my stomach feels like butterflies and my mouth is incredibly dry as if I were about to give a speech to 1000 people! What is happening to me?
I spend several months trying to figure out what is wrong. I learn about "free floating anxiety". I visit my family doctor, whom after examining me, tells me what I already know "nothing is wrong". He finally suggests I get some "therapy". Which I did and that set off a whole lot of more stress. One psychologist put me on very strong medication which made me feel even more weird and stressed. I later learned medication is not the best way to handle anxiety and panic attacks. Another therapist decided I needed to "hire a maid" because my stress was coming from trying to care for a newborn and keep the house clean? What?
I was becoming a homebody. I was fearful of going grocery shopping even if someone came with me. I was afraid to take my child out for a walk in his stroller. I could not walk around the block from my home without having an anxiety attack. This was a very difficult and painful illness for me to be having as a person who was always independent and very self-efficient. I had waited to have a child until my 30s. I had lived alone, taken care of myself and was a fighter. I could not believe what was happening to me.
The doctors nor the psychologists could help me. I needed to solve this problem on my own, like everything else in my life. I researched, I connected, I found a solution. I learned that the very fact I was now dependent on my husband and now vulnerable because I had a young child, stopped working and was completely at the mercy of my husband in a marriage that subconsciously I knew was failing but blocked the feelings, the stress had come out of me in the form of a physical problem.
I found a non-profit group who used guided imagery and relaxation exercises to control the panic I was experiencing. In addition they advised education about the origin of what causes my stress would help me get to the root of the problem. I learned that anger is a source of panic. Control and lack of control another source. I read every book I could find about dealing with or learning how to cope with anger, loss, depression and stress.
Panic and Anxiety Attacks
The group I joined is no longer around but stress, anxiety and panic disorder are main stream today and there are hundreds of groups anyone can join and lots of free sites online. Here is one that I find very good at helping people with stress: http://www.relaxationforanxiety.com/.
I have not had a panic attack in years but I do occasional suffer from migraines which I learned from a wonderful neurologist they too are a form of panic attack. My migraines and the panic attacks I used to suffer seem to come after a period of stress rather than during. I think that is probably true for most folks, but you could be different. Believe it or not, there are over a 100 symptoms of anxiety! Here are just a few: chest pain, choking, high or low temperature, prickly skin feeling, numbness or tingling. These symptoms can also be of something far, far serious. I recommend you get a doctor's exam to rule out any serious illness. For more anxiety symptoms visit this site:http://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-symptoms.shtml
Have a "Me" Day~Do Something Nice for yourself
Barring any serious panic attack disorder, emotional or physical illness, I have found the following-somewhat humorous-tips to be beneficial in dealing with my anxiety:
- Avoid or eliminate people in your life who annoy you or cause you to be angry. I divorced the man who caused my panic disorder! I quit the job and the boss who did not appreciate my hard work, dedication to the job and stole every good idea for her own but never failed to broadcast my errors!! Good bye anxiety!
- Visualization, meditation and positive thinking. Youtube.com has many wonderful and free guided meditation I have posted a few to this hub that are my favorites. Please donate or help the authors of these free videos if you can.
- Realize what is important and what is not. During really stressful times in my life, I have learned to stop and ask myself "will any of this stuff be important to me next week, next month or a year from now?" Probably not and certainly not to the point of getting as worked up about it as you are in the moment, thus whatever it is, is not really important in the big picture of life.
- Surround yourself with honest friends. People who really know you and get you. These people are your life line in times of stress. These people understand when something annoys you, they understand your sense of humor and know what you mean when you express to them a situation that stressed you or upset you. They get you. What better way to eliminate stress than having someone in your corner who knows what you mean.
- Do something fun. Do something you enjoyed when you were young and without responsibility. Ride a bicycle. Go for a swing at the park. These things never lose their relaxing abilities.
- Aroma therapy really does work. Take a nice hot bath, fill the tub with pleasant bath salts, have a glass of wine and low lighting along with soothing music. Drowned out all those negative thoughts and R-E-L-A-X you deserve it!
My main point is life is too short to spend it knee deep in anxiety. An older person once told me when I was in my early 20s to "jump in with both feet without hesitation at the opportunities presented in life. Never have regrets." Good advice. Rest in Peace MO-your passing was way too soon.