365. The next time you have a panic attack.

Last week, I found out from my psychologist that I’ve been doing my breathing techniques wrong. Instead of helping with my anxiety/panic attacks, I have unknowingly prolonged them all these while with my deep breathing. He then taught me the correct controlled breathing technique, explained the science behind it, and got me to try it in front of him. I loved how he spoke to me kindly like a friend, especially after I told him that I studied psychology too, and was concise in teaching me steps to further help me deal with my panic attacks.

I finally decided to see a psychologist again after so long, because I realised that I was no longer able to handle the attacks on my own. I was doing my best for the longest time, and for a while, it worked. But it’s been taking a toll on me lately, so I went to get help. I’m glad I did, because I then had a professional tell me what I’ve been doing wrong, and what needs to be done to make things better.

I’ve been asked, am I not ashamed? There is nothing to be ashamed of. Help should be asked & given to those who suffer from mental illness as well.

See, courage doesn’t always look like screaming and fighting battle after battle. Sometimes courage looks like asking for help.

Just like you go to get help from trained professionals when you’re suffering from a broken bone, cancer, or even wisdom tooth pains, there is no slack for getting treatment & help for mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorder or schizophrenia.

Your life may be painted by the brushes of living through these illnesses, but like things such as failure & disappointments, the important thing is not to be consumed by it.

I am not ashamed but I refuse to let it define me. My tragedy is not my calling card. I have survived, and will continue to choose to survive.

I’d rather live life in the open with all the broken bits revealed than pretend to be perfect, because expecting perfection kills. I have lost many people this way and have broken my heart countless times as I see people I’ve grown to trust walk away after seeing the broken bits, but I have also gained beautiful souls who choose to stick with me regardless as well.

If you need help, go get help. If you know someone who needs help, be there for them. I hope we all strive to be kind to each other, for we really, truly, do not know, if our acts of kindness, no matter how small, may have just saved a life.

So….

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One of the things I used to do when I have a panic attack was to take deep breaths. But I found out through my psychologist that it’s possibly been causing the attacks to be worse. Taking deep breaths just adds on to the oxygen, which isn’t productive. Trust me.

So a better way to manage the attack is via controlled breathing, which seeks to reestablish balance by releasing the excess oxygen from our body and preventing the dissipation of carbon dioxide.

During a panic attack, our body goes through a fight or flight response. There’s a release of stress hormones that causes immediate physical reactions in preparation of the muscular activity needed.These reactions may include an increased heart rate, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pains, tension in the muscles and sweating. Our body’s alarm system is triggered without the presence of any identifiable danger.

About 60% of attacks are accompanied by hyperventilation and many panickers OVERBREATHE even whilst relaxed. The most important thing to understand about hyperventilation is that although it can feel as if you don’t have enough oxygen, the opposite is true. It is a symptom of TOO MUCH oxygen.

SEE INFOGRAPHIC FOR TECHNIQUES.

The important thing here is that the OUT breath must be LONGER that the IN breath. This causes stimulation of the part of your nervous system responsible for relaxation. This is a basic law of biology and if you breathe in this way then your body will have no choice but to relax.

It may take a few minutes but the body will respond regardless of what your mind is thinking.

If you practice this daily, hyperventilating should be more manageable. This doesn’t mean your panic attack will go away. It just gives you much more control over panic attacks.

You’ll still need to seek professional help to address the underlying issues causing you the panic attacks in the first place.

Sending lots of love and light your way. Please feel free to share this if you found this useful. You’ll never know who may quietly need it. ❤

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