Anxiety, I think everyone knows what it is and how it feels. It’s nothing but terrifying but then there are those few that have experienced anxiety on a whole other level taken by the form of a panic attack. I know all about those… you feel like you’re going crazy, your mind comes up with the craziest scenarios of what you fear most, you can’t sleep, you can’t eat, you’re scared of everything and probably maybe even depressed because of them. Well, everyone is different but that’s how it was for me. It was the worst time of my life but I overcame and I’m ready to share a little more of my story in the form of tips. This isn’t something I share right of the bat and I’ve only shared with people closest to me. I thought it was about time to share my story and to create a list of tips on what helped me the most in hopes of helping others.
1. Get help. I almost didn’t want to open up to anyone but I couldn’t take it anymore. After I opened up to my older sister and slept in her room that night the very next morning I felt I could tell my mom and so I did. That same day she took me to get help and I saw my very own psychiatrist, that I’m pretty sure God chose just for me during this time. ( Guardian Angel Story Rant: I’ve tried to contact him since then, with his business card and the office receptionist who has worked there all her life says there was never a man by that name that had ever worked there! I’m not sure if I believe in guardian angels but I can definitely say this man helped guide me to God. I didn’t try to investigate further because it really freaked my mom and I out so we left it at that.) As soon as I asked for help, I got it and received so much knowledge on how to get through it and since then I’ve been able to control my anxiety attacks. So below are the tips which have helped me.
2. Be patient. Panic attacks are not the end of your life, it may seem like it but they are not. You can get through it and with my tips I believe you have the power to rid yourself of them for good but it does not happen overnight. It will be a constant battle but with practice and patience you can do it. So let’s get into what my therapist did with me!
3. Make your happy list. One of the first and sweetest things my therapist asked me to do was make my happy list. Make a list of what makes you truly happy, it can be a place, person, thing, event, seriously anything! I remember the first thing I wrote was church meetings in the morning on a Sunday. Just the thought of that makes me feel so much peace, even now. So make a list and always think of your happy list!
4. Exercise. I think I went days without sleeping so exercising just helps get you tired. It’s a great way to distract your mind and get active. Your body also releases chemicals called endorphins which interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain and give you a feeling of positivity!
5. Breathe. I went over many breathing exercises to help me slow down and relax. I think a lot of people have the misconception of breathing into a paper bag, in and out as fast as you can, but that will actually just make you hyperventilate. A common, successful breathing technique used to relax is the 7-4-8 breathing technique. Count to 7 as you inhale, hold for 4, breathe out until 7 and for 8 you breathe out the last bit of air, completely emptying your air sack. Even until now I do this myself or have my patients do this technique to relax. I always feel great and I’ve noticed it gets my patients to stop crying and just relax.
6. Positive thinking. The issue with panic attacks are the negative thoughts we allow to build up in our minds. Personally I was always thinking the worst or crazy “what if’s”. I allowed those negative thoughts to rule my mind and my life. The truth is our minds are so powerful and can trick us into believing ridiculous things. It seems that panic attacks stem from this bad habit and only grow if we don’t stop it. The way to stop it is to think the opposite of our negative thought three times. For example, if you’re laying in bed and decide “oh my gosh, I feel like I can’t breathe”… immediately say to yourself “I can breathe, I can breathe, I can breathe” and keep repeating until that horrible feeling or thought disappears. At first I felt as if it was silly to repeat and it didn’t work but with time my oh my does it work!! Your mind is like a muscle, it’s so weak (full of negative thoughts) at first but you train it and eventually it becomes stronger (full of positive thoughts). Be patient with this.
7. Use God as your medicine. Lastly, the most important one to me but not one many people can agree with so skip if you must.
(The start of my anxiety attacks story) During these attacks in my life (16 year old me) I can honestly say it was a battle between Satan and God over me, or that’s how it felt. I grew up non denominational Christian in the church life but felt like I never experienced God for myself so one night I decided I didn’t need Him and I prayed to Him one last time just letting him know. Soon after that my life changed completely. There’s a lot to the story on how and why my life changed but it came tumbling down on me real fast. I remember the first morning of the night I got my first panic attack. I felt as if something heavy was on my chest and I felt so weird the whole day at school. That morning I felt sick to my stomach from every food I’d encounter, I felt anxious all day, I couldn’t sleep at all!!!!This continued for probably a few weeks or so before I actually opened up to my mom. The main reason I opened up was because I wasn’t eating anything besides a banana and water every day so I thought I was going to die, I was so scared.
Once I was actually dealing with it I started going with my mom to the Bible studies I once hated going to. I felt like because I had told God I didn’t want Him He didn’t want me and I couldn’t ask for His help. Whenever I tried I felt dead in my Spirit but kept trying. I had allowed the enemy into my head the moment I told God to leave me alone so he was there telling me I wasn’t good enough anymore. I think I really experienced Satan working in my life because all those feelings I felt were something I’ve never felt before. I could never describe the feelings but I know he was pulling me down maybe even trying to have me end my life. I think Satan really tried to use these panic attacks to get to me.
During these Bible studies I went in so desperate and hungry to really get to know God. As church meetings being my number one on my happy list I knew I was in the right place. It was as if for those few hours of Bible studies my anxiety was completely gone. I felt like everything being learned was directed exactly to me and God was speaking to me telling me because of what I have done to Him I had to fully die and be resurrected. I definitely felt dead during this time in my life and now I needed to be resurrected possibly even needed to be baptized again!! There was no way I was going to be baptized again because of my pride and having already been baptized before, in my self, I felt silly doing it again. During this realization I told God I wanted to but there was no way I would do it again. I was also taking control of my panic attacks that kept me up at night. I was getting better.
The last session I had with my therapist I came clean about my desire to be baptized again and the struggle behind my anxiety attacks. He told me that I have God’s grace with me and that all I need to do is keep coming to God and ask for his appearing in my life and to listen to what He wants, that He has arranged everything for me in my life. I think our whole session we were talking about God and at the end he prayed for me. I had gotten so much better, with my anxiety attacks decreasing we decided we didn’t need more sessions.
Shortly after I was at a young people meeting and some kids were announcing they wanted to be baptized. My stomach started turning, my heart was beating, I felt completely numb all over and all of a sudden I was standing up! I was never one to stand up and share at any meeting.. unless I was forced… so here I was, standing up announcing I needed to be baptized because I needed to be closer to MY God. The first time I was baptized I was in middle school and my older sister was doing it so I thought I would do it with her so I wouldn’t have to do it alone. It meant almost nothing to me but now that I was falling in love with God it only felt right.
Until this day I truly feel like God had arranged every moment in my life leading up to this moment. I asked God and He replied and even did it for me. After my baptism I felt different but I knew my anxiety wasn’t going away so easily. I struggled even more but kept fighting and turning every negative thought of my enemy away. It took so much practice and patience of the tips mentioned above but I’m panic attack free without taking a single drop of medication which was offered to me.
I used to hate that time of my life but the truth is because of that I am who I am. Those moments in my life have rooted me in Christ so deeply that my faith can not be shaken. I feel like I have dealt with the enemy in such a real way but I also came to know, love and trust my savior in an even greater way. I put my old self to death and have been pursuing God since then.
I have so much faith God is the key for people who struggle with anxiety attacks. If you only choose to receive God, letting Him into your life, you can put anxiety to death.
If you have any questions, please email me or comment below, I promise I always reply!
Thank you for stopping by.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.