5 Tips For Anxious Minds & Panic Attacks

Today’s blog post will hopefully help some of you who suffer with severe anxiety or panic attacks. If you don’t suffer with those above things, this may be something to remember in case you ever find yourself in the situation, where you need to calm yourself down or someone close to you. The terrible thing about panic attacks is that there is no quick fix solution, no one can say ‘just calm down’, ‘do this or that’ and you will feel instantly better, unfortunately that’s not going to happen. What you can do is find ways to cope through a panic attack until you come out the other side and to try ease the symptoms. Never feel alone or embarrassed about having anxiety or a panic attack, it can happen to anyone.

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Anxiety and panic attacks have so many symptoms and they can appear different for different people from mild to severe. Here are some of the main symptoms…

♥ Intense overwhelming feeling of panic, fear, dread and anxiety.

♥ Feeling sick

♥ An uneasy churning feeling in your stomach

♥ Heart palpitations (racing very fast heart beat)

♥ Difficulty catching breath, fast breathing, shortness of breath, tightness of chest.

♥ Ringing in ears

♥ Hot flushes and chills

♥ Shaking

♥ Feeling of loosing control or going ‘crazy’

♥ Feeling faint or dizzy

♥ Pins and needles

♥ Sweating

♥ The need to remove yourself from your current surroundings

Here are some ways I think can help you through a panic attack and calm you down..

1. Take some time alone with yourself. If you’re the kind of person who wants to be alone and escape from the situation you’re in then do it. Take a second out to gather your thoughts and compose yourself.. Forget about what people might think etc, if it helps you to calm down that’s all that matter. You might recover faster and be able to return back to the situation calmer, if not that’s okay you win some you loose some. It’s okay to say ‘I’m feeling very anxious, I’m going to take a second on my own, please nobody fuss over me’ you’re human, do what you need to do to help yourself, don’t worry about everyone else, taking yourself away for a second means you may be able to calm yourself down without feeling self conscious of others watching you and being fussed over by them.

2. Take headphones in your bag and when things get too much on a train, bus, walking, in a car where ever it may be, put those headphones in and shut out the world. Play relaxing, soothing music or sounds. There is a great app called ‘Calm’ where you can pick a live, realistic scenery with sounds and music to go along with it. Focus on that scenery and the sounds, imagine you’re here, Ignore your racing thoughts and bring your mind back to the scenery and sounds on your phone.

3. Slow your breathing down. I know this is hard when your heart is racing and the panic is building up inside you making you breathe faster, but take control and breathe in and out slowly. Holding your breathes in and slowly breathing out. Another brilliant app for this is ‘Relax Lite’ the free version has a breathing counter, where you can focus on your breathing and watch a little pie chart telling you how long to hold and release your breaths and how often. You can even change the settings if the timings set aren’t right for your breathing. Forget how fast your hearts beating and focus on how much slower you can get it, don’t rush, slow everything down.

4. Take a second to take in your surroundings WITHOUT using your thoughts. Use your 5 senses, eyes, touch, smell,  taste and listening. Look around you, where are you? is there any real danger in front of you? or is your brains fight or flight responses miss firing again. No matter how scared your brain is telling you are and how scared you feel, is there danger in front of you? don’t let your brain tell you you’re in danger if you’re not. Your eyes won’t lie to you, if there’s no danger you see, your brain is miss firing. Touch something and focus on what it feels like, smell a sweet lip balm you have and focus on what it smells like and reminds you of, anything along those lines. If you’re at home light a candle and watch the flame flicker, notice the smoky smell, the warmth and how it moves. Have a warm bath, shut your eyes and focus on the feel of the water against your skin, the smell of the bubbles and the sound and warmth of the water. When your brain sends you tons of thoughts, let go  and refocus on your senses.

5. Remember you’re ok, no matter how frightened you feel during the mist of anxiety and panic. It will pass, emotions can’t last forever. Your body and brain is simply trying to keep you safe by triggering your fight or flight response, our brains can do this when there is no danger. It’s just a chemical reaction within our body’s and brains, it can’t hurt us, it can make us feel temporarily terrified but that’s all. The less fearful of what you’re feeling you are, the calmer you will become and the quicker the emotions will leave. Fearing it will undoubtedly bring more fear. Out logic your brain, you know your gong to be ok, thank your brain and body for keeping you safe when it’s not even needed.

 Don’t get frustrated with yourself. I know sometimes you feel angry about what you’re feeling because there is no reason to be feeling scared, frustration will raise your heart beat even more and stress you out. It’s okay to not know why you’re panicking, don’t try to work out why you are, think less and breathe deeper, when all those rushing thoughts pop into your head ‘why am I panicking’ ‘your stupid’ ‘this or that might happen’ ‘people will think I’m weird’ etc, ignore them, don’t entertain them this will only make them stronger and raise your anxiety levels, notice them, let go of them, refocus on breathing or any of the above steps. Being able to try to control your panic and anxiety won’t happen over night, practice makes perfect. I hope this helps someone even a little bit.

 If you have any good tips for panic attack and anxiety sufferers, leave them in the comments, lets help each other!

Stay strong,

Anna

 

 

 

6 Useful Things To Remember During Recovery

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When I talk about ‘Recovery’ I’m on about the process one goes through when trying to ‘recover’ from a mental illness. I wrote a blog post a while back now about my thoughts on what recovery is which you can read HERE. During recovery there are going to many times when you feel like your slipping back or are struggling, it’s not going to be a pain sailing journey. I thought I’d write a few bullet points of things I think its important to remember, do or tell yourself during recovery.

Remember we all have bad days. You’re human and that means you will have bad days/weeks, where the problem you are/have recovered from will rear its ugly head again. Try to be ok with this, you are the one whose in control of that problem now, so remember what you learn’t to get rid of that problem and keep it in check.

If during your recovery process you do slip back for longer than you’d like, remember how strong you are. You have over come this problem so you can do it again. Pick yourself and the little broken pieces up, put yourself back together and regain control. You are so strong.

When you feel like giving into something that your recovering from e.g self harm, OCD rituals, avoiding anxious situations whatever it may be, remind yourself of how far you have come. Really take yourself back to how you used to feel when you used to do these things. Think about how you’re going to feel after giving in, will it be worse than not giving in, in the first place? You’ve gone so long without doing this thing that made you feel broken, keep going.

When you’re struggling and feel like giving up because recovery is too hard. Think about how far you could be this time next year if you keep going. Imagine how much easier recovery will feel this time next year, what you might be doing, what you might have achieved and don’t lose sight of it.

This applies both to giving into old habits and having bad days. Remember feelings pass. Just because today you’ve felt depressed or extremely anxious, doesn’t mean its going to last forever, feelings come and go, keep reminding yourself this and keep going until they pass. The same for wanting to perform a ritual or self harm for example, try to put it off, hours or a day later that feeling may not still be there. Its worth being temporarily uncomfortable, if it means an even bigger step to recovering further.

Help someone else who is in the mist of their struggle. Helping others and talking to people who are suffering like you once were makes you feel good. Talking about it can also be a great reminder of how far you’ve come, of what you’ve been taught and a help to someone else.

I hope this is useful to someone.

Stay Strong,

Anna

A Letter To My Younger Self

I’ve seen videos relating to this on YouTube, so I thought I would write a blog post about it. I’m basically going to write a mini letter as if I was writing it to my younger self. Things I wish future me could tell young me and things I wish I knew back then.

What would you of told your younger self?

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Dear younger self,

Where do I start? There is a few things I would like to tell you and reassure you about before things spiral out of control for you. I know your worried about germs and washing your hands and always have been growing up, but I just want to tell you to not let this worry rule your life. Being sick isn’t very nice but honestly the next time you are it will expose you to this fear and you will be fine I promise you. I also want to warn you that later on you might notice weird feelings of NEEDING to do certain tasks, you will feel like this will stop you from being sick and also stop bad things from happening. When this happens I need you to stay strong and not give in. Carrying out tasks until they feel right and counting things etc won’t help. In fact you will thank me later if you don’t do the things. What you do can’t control if your ill or if something bad happens, trust me. You will go through 5 years of hell trying to beat OCD if you let it in, you’ve got to get control of it before it controls you. Try and get help as soon as you notice symptoms, educate yourself so you know about it. I know it feels really scary but you can do it.  If  OCD does take over your life for a while you will be ok and you will come out the other side, so hang in there please. Another thing that is going to really bother you when your older is your weight and eating habits. Please listen to people when they tell you not to over eat, this will become a huge problem for you and your confidence one day. Try to keep a healthy relationship with food, this will save so much time later on when you have to try to lose the weight to become confident again.

Another thing is, don’t grow up too quickly, your only young once and being grown up isn’t as fun as it sounds. Enjoy being young and don’t take school for granted, some of your fondest memories will be from within that school building you wish you didn’t go to. Which leads me to another thing, I know your naughty at school but try harder to behave. It doesn’t seem important but eventually you will end up on a 3 hour time-table barely seeing anyone, doesn’t seem like a bad thing? well you will drift apart from your friends and leave school feeling slightly out of the loop with people who you were once close with, leaving you feeling slightly alone.  When you first start going to party’s and drinking, try not to drink so much, I promise you will only wake up with regret and guilt, although you can learn from these mistakes just go easy!

Back to some things related to anxiety. I know you probably have already, but you  will have many more times to come where you feel scared of doing things. Scared that your going to embarrass yourself, please try to realise that you will miss out on things if you let the fear stop you. Try and face up to things that make you scared and try not to let the fear of what others think of you stop you. The more you do this now,  the more later on in life you will be likely to do things! Also, growing up doesn’t have to be so scary, talk to people around you about your worries but also talk about your normal problems and concerns everyone goes through growing up. You will grow to be able to talk about your problems openly and I promise you will wish you hadn’t been so embarrassed and shy about everything. Your parents will become your biggest support through any problems regarding your anxiety. You will be able to talk to them about anything you need to, so why not start now?

I just want to tell you everything is going to be ok, but to also tell you that things should be a lot easier now you know the things I’ve mentioned above. Keep being wonderfully weird, funny and creative. Last but not least don’t let OCD rule you, I know its scary but its harmless, so don’t even give it the time of day. The sooner you realise that the better.

Love from, an older, wiser version of you

 

Etsy: ZennedOut Jewellery

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So I was browsing Etsy for jewellery with quotes and came along a little shop called ZennedOut. I immediately fell in love with the rustic, handmade designs and inspiring quotes and symbols. As you know I suffer with OCD, Anxiety and have suffered with Depression which I am thankfully recovering from. I was looking for some jewellery that has some kind of meaning and inspiring quote that I can look to as a little reminder. The jewellery is handmade by the owner Cassie and has 3 other assistants doing jobs. There is so much choice on the shop from what metal the item is made out of, to the quote you want, followed by the symbol and even the finish on certain items. She stocks bracelets, necklaces, rings and earrings all which are absolutely lovely, I may have to make another purchase sometime soon.

The only down side to buying from here is it’s based in the USA which means shipping, VAT and custom fees, that being said I think the jewellery is 100% worth it. The costs were not as bad as I thought and the delivery was straight forward as I opted for priority shipping. Which is a little more money but Cassie recommends this for outside US buyers because your order is less likely to be lost and held up in customs. Another thing I want to add is the owner (Cassie) is lovely, I asked so many questions and changed my order etc and she was nothing but willing to help and answer any of my questions, so if you do have anything to ask her about purchasing an item, shes the gal to ask! You can see from the pictures above how well packaged the items are, everything comes in a little box with her shop cards and a magnet in a little bag, too cute!! So on to what I bought, I literally received this today and took the pictures straight away because I was so excited about opening it!!

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Constellation necklace,Scorpio constellation, zodiac necklace, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra,Scorpio

I wasn’t planning on ordering a necklace but when I saw this, I fell in love with the whole concept of it, I often think star sign jewellery can be a bit tacky unless done well. I love how the first little disc on the necklace is your star signs constellation which in simple terms I think is your zodiac star formation. On the second disc which is a brassy/gold colour it has three of your chosen traits from your star sign along with your star signs symbol. I love how personal these necklaces feel to you and I think the design is perfect. I love how the edges of the first disk are rough, it gives the necklace a more rustic less polished feel. You can decide which length chain you want, which personality traits you want and of course which star sign you want. I cannot wait to wear this, simple, personal and cute!

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Breathe secret message ring, hamsa hand ring, lotus flower ring, secret message ring, yoga ring, customizable ring, breathe, yoga

I love rings and I saw this one with the quote inside and thought it would be perfect for me. I chose to keep the quote that was in the picture of this ring, although you can change it if you want and there are many design variations and quote ideas on her other items. I think ‘breathe’ is a good one for me personally though. When you’re in the mist of anxiety and OCD you can find your heart racing which obviously makes you breathe faster and you can get in such a panic, which is why I think this is a good quote for me, to remind myself to keep calm and take deep breathes and just breathe. I like how secret and personal the message is and even though everyone can’t see it when you look down at the ring on your finger you will know it’s there and it will remind you. You can also pick the symbols you want. I chose a lotus flower because they grow in muddy ponds signifying what I’ve been through as the mud and the lotus flower as recovery and blossoming! I then chose the ‘Om’ sign because it’s the sign for meditation and although I don’t meditate, I should partake in mindfulness to help with my anxiety and it also just signifies peace.

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On the other side of fear lies freedom Custom cuff bracelet, secret message bracelet, bird bracelet, inspirational gift, personalized gift

I am in love with the simple look of this bracelet. The quote inside should be my motto ‘On the other side of fear lies freedom’ anyone with OCD will relate to the meaning of this quote and  of course anyone in general. It’s in the hammered finish and has a little swallow symbol on the outside! I couldn’t be happier with this bracelet, the quote makes the bracelet mean so much to me and makes it so  personal to me!

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The extremely cute magnet that came in the little bag, this is now on my radiator!

What is your favourite item I got?

Anna

 

Letting Go Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Care

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Something I’ve struggled with for a long time now and still do is letting go of scary OCD thoughts. I feel like if I just let go of OCD thoughts or rituals where I worry something bad could happen, it must mean I don’t care about the consequences or if I can let them go easily it must also mean I don’t care. I am starting to accept and learn that this is not the case and you have to give yourself permission to let go of things, it doesn’t mean you don’t care. Easier said than done right?  When your emotions are telling you letting go of certain thoughts and worries is bad and if you let go you’re a terrible person it’s really hard not to listen. I know OCD will try to do anything to try to keep me sucked in by it, because that’s what OCD does it wants to control people. Which is exactly what it’s doing by making me think if I let go and don’t perform a ritual that I don’t care and also that something bad might happen.

The reality is as soon as you get that thought ‘If you don’t do such and such something bad could happen’ and you then feel anxious or worry about not performing the ritual, that is the sign you do care. The fact you’re worried about letting go of that OCD thought or ritual, means you care if you didn’t you wouldn’t be thinking about it or worrying about it. You don’t need to carry on thinking about the subject or perform a ritual to know you care. You need to allow yourself to let go and become free because you deserve it. You can acknowledge the fact you’re feeling anxious about not performing a ritual or feeling anxious about not trying to work out what that bad thought you just had meant about you and accept that is you caring.  You don’t need to torture yourself any more than that, you’re  allowed to move on, you just need to let yourself.  Thinking about things more and more or performing rituals is keeping you stuck in the place you are right now, stuck being controlled by a pest called OCD in your head. One of the steps to freedom is to know if you’re worried or upset about letting go you care, but you don’t need to hold on to things or perform rituals. Allow yourself to fear letting go and allow yourself to recognise you care. Then let go because you don’t need to be afraid you don’t care because you have proved to yourself  you do.

Stay Strong,

Anna

Feel Good Friday: 10 Things To Do When You’re Feeling Blue

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Sometimes when you’re feeling down you tend to sit and wallow in the feeling, you mope around and feel sorry for yourself. We’ve all been there, when you feel like nothing will cheer you up or you just temporarily forget about the things that will make you feel better. I thought I would write a list of 10 things to do when you feel like your mood is in a downward spiral, I want to try to remember these things for when I’m struggling with my OCD, Anxiety or just feeling a little down. We forget there are things we can do to try to make ourselves feel a little better. So YOU, if you’re reading this when you’re down, its time to pick yourself, gather your thoughts and feelings and try to combat that blue feeling.

1.Create a playlist of songs that make you happy, the kind of songs that when you listen to you can’t help but want to sing or jig around to! Listen to the playlist when you’re not feeling your best, turn off those depressing slow songs, it’s all about the feel good music!

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2.Grab a comfy jumper, onesie or your favourite PJ’s and put them on. There’s nothing snugglier than being all comfortable and cosy, read on for ideas what to do before and after!

3. Take a warm, bubbly and calming bath with candles for a relaxing ambient. Baths are known to be relaxing, try to practice ‘Mindfulness’  whilst you’re in there. Become an observer of your thoughts but don’t get lost in them. Simply be in the moment, notice the feeling of the water, the smell of the bubbles and the warmth. Play some relaxing music or watch something you enjoy. When your brain tries to get you to worry and think too much, notice the thoughts but then bring yourself back to noticing the water, music or candles etc.

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4. Read a book. I’m not a huge fan of reading but I know a lot of people are and find it a good way to shut of their thoughts and escape into the words and stories on the pages. Although If I was going to pick a book to read a bit out of, it would be ‘Demi Lovato’s Staying Strong 365 Days A Years’ which I reviewed HERE. You could even read your chosen book in the bath!

5. Pick a feel good, funny film and watch it. A film your guaranteed to laugh at. Get under the covers or snuggle under a blanket on the sofa and have a giggle. I recommend Brides Maids.

6. Cuddle your pet. I love cuddling my dog when I’m feeling down, its like they can tell your not feeling your best and can make you feel so loved.

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7. Make a cup of tea, hot chocolate or coffee. There is something lovely about the warmth of a drink, we tend to associate hot drinks with cosy and comforting times.

8. Do something creative, paint a picture, draw, paint your nails, bake some delicious cute cupcakes, clear out your room, you know what they say clear room, clear mind! Being creative makes us feel productive and good about ourselves.

9. Go for a walk, either with someone, walk your dog or alone. Go somewhere pretty, take in the views and fresh air. It doesn’t have to be far but sometimes removing yourself from your current situation or surroundings can clear your head and get rid of that groggy, fed up feeling making you feel more alert and able to process your thoughts and feelings. Plus our bodies love fresh air, that’s a fact.

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10. Go to the shop, buy fresh flowers, a beautiful smelling candle, a magazine, some naughty foods and any other supplies that make you feel good. Go home arrange the flowers in a vase and put them in the room you spend the most time in, light the candle and read your magazine whilst munching on your favourite yummy foods or sip on a warm drink.

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These are just a few things we can do when we’re feeling down. Let me know in the comments what you do if your feeling down or any other suggestions you have for me or anyone else feeling down in the dumps and needing to turn that frown up side down!

Happy Friday,

Anna

Tell OCD It’s Boring

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This quote is perfect for anyone suffering with OCD. As I’ve said before a lot people like me who suffer with OCD struggle with thoughts, feelings and images that scare us and cause us great distress. We fear OCD and its out comes of not doing as it says e.g ‘touch this or something bad will happen’ ‘avoid this situation because it makes you think of something that makes you anxious’ whatever it maybe. Everyone with OCD feels restricted and like a slave to OCD and are brains become scary places. If you think of OCD as a person it would be a selfish, manipulating and scary person who craves power. If you don’t give OCD the power it wants over you, you then become the powerful one. Without our attention OCD can’t exist, as soon as we pay attention to that scary, anxiety provoking feeling, thought or image we are giving OCD the power to control us. Of course it’s not as a simple as just ignoring OCD because if it was that simple, we would all beat it. It’s about learning to laugh at the thoughts you fear, telling OCD you’ve heard it all before and its getting boring now its no longer frightening. Trick that little OCD part of your brain into thinking you’re not scared anymore. The more we learn to laugh and not take our thoughts seriously the easier it becomes to disarm OCD. How can it get to you if you’re not scared? it can’t, OCD needs your fear to feed off and suck you in deeper. To anyone fighting with your OCD right now, take it face on and tell OCD its boring and you’re not listening, you can do it, it takes practice and trust within yourself.

If any of you have any OCD blog post requests please let me know in the comments or head on over to my tumblr and leave me a message in my ask box. I am always in the need of suggestions and I want to know what you guys need help with or want to learn about etc. If you also have any questions for me, feel free to ask!

Links & Related Posts

My Tumblr Ask Box

OCD – Your Thoughts Are Not The Problem, Your Beliefs About Your Thoughts Are.

Fearing Fear