IS THIS YOU?
It’s 7.00am and you are in the shower and suddenly you feel your heart start to pound. At 2.00pm you are at the shops and out of nowhere you feel like you can’t breathe. By 8.00pm you are relaxing watching tv and you immediately feel your chest tighten and your throat constrict. It’s 3.00am and you wake from your sleep in a pool of sweat and feel shaky!
Anxiety attacks do not discriminate. They have no sense of time and don’t have any issues about where you are when they attack. Anyone who has ever experienced any anxiety/panic attacks will know that they can be the most terrifying experience.
Many people are dealing with depression and anxiety every day of their life. For some people who are dealing with depression, just getting out of bed in the morning can feel like the most exhausting thing in the world. For others, withdrawing from social interaction and isolating becomes the norm. All the things you used to love doing now seem too hard and no longer enjoyable.
Our increasingly complex world can be stressful at times and more and more people are suffering with mental health issues. So many things can trigger anxiety and depression, and no one knows when it might strike.
The recent announcement of the Queen Elizabeth’s death has been felt around the world. The loss of such a royal figure and seeing the sadness amongst the royal family and public worldwide can easily trigger your own emotions and remind you of your own personal losses.
Grief and loss affect your mental wellbeing hugely and it’s not just death that can trigger these emotions. The loss of a job, relationship breakdown or relocation, in fact, any change in personal circumstances can create challenges for your emotions. Losses and grief come from many sources and with it often comes other emotions such as anger, anxiety and fear. The complexities of emotions are amazing and yet you are expected to ignore them and carry on as “normal”.
The more self-aware you become the easier it is to acknowledge what you need, so it is important to find the right kind of help and support. The more you understand about mental health and your own wellbeing the more you can support not only yourselves, but your friends, family and colleagues too, especially when you notice they are struggling.
Our mental well-being is very personal and individual and everyone’s symptoms and experiences will be different. Therefore, there is never one solution or one “fix” to the emotions or issues you may be feeling or dealing with. It’s about trying to understand the best you can where your own emotions are coming from. Look at ways of finding out how to understand more about what you are experiencing.
Tools & Techniques
Learning some good breathing and distraction techniques may help you manage these difficult situations and are very effective for helping manage anxiety attacks. One method is allowing your outward breath to be slightly longer than your inward breath, this helps slow the heart rate. Distract yourself from what is happening in your body in that moment by using your senses. 3 things you can see, hear, smell or touch. Be creative with your thinking and imagine seeing yourself as a more confident and calm you.
Set yourself the tiniest of goals if you are dealing with depression e.g.,” today I am going to get out of bed and have a shower”. You can always add to your goals, but make sure they are small and achievable.
Give yourself permission to feel the way you do and acknowledge your emotions. By setting yourself some simple steps and goals, learning some effective coping skills can make a huge difference to your everyday life.
Find a purpose for yourself each day. If possible, go for a short walk and get some fresh air, ground yourself, breathe and tell yourself you are in control. Be compassionate to yourself as well as others going through mental health issues. It’s a bumpy path, but a slow walk will allow you to reach where you want to be, stay positive, calm and allow yourself to feel. Tell yourself it’s going to be okay!!
Operations Manager Hearts & Minds
(Dip PC Couns, Dip Sach Psych, Dip Clinical Sup, Reg ICP)