National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Your heart is racing. You feel smothered and anxious. It feels as if you are fighting for every breath. Think you are having a heart attack? Think again. Panic and anxiety tricks your body into believing you are losing control. If you have been stressed by life changing events, excessive worrying over bills, family problems, divorce or stress at work, you may be depressed and not even know it.
Two years ago when I was going through my divorce, tension between my spouse and I began to take its toll on me. I thought I had it together. I wasn’t talking about what was going on to anyone. With all the endless fights, court battles and legal fees piling up, so many close to me thought I was handling everything well. I remember mornings getting ready for work and feeling like I couldn’t keep up with life anymore. My heart began racing, my breathing became more rapid and my thoughts turned to fear that I would not make it to work or just pass out at the wheel. This was becoming more and more frequent for me. I would get to the point where I would be scared to death to drive to work every morning, Fearing more tension and fighting with my ex when I got home, I would pull over on the side of the road several times to compose myself and calm down. Minutes later another attack would set in and I would have to pull over again. I then realized I can’t do this anymore. It would take me almost an hour to get home when I worked 15 minutes away. I walked into the nearest emergency room and told them what was happening to me. They knew right away it was anxiety. I insisted there was really something medically wrong with me. I wasn’t leaving there without being checked out. There was no way I would go through another attack like this. I demanded they check me out just for my own peace of mind. They put me in a room, hooked me up to fluids, ran blood work, did x-rays and gave me a sedative so I could rest for a couple hours. All my tests came back normal.
As my problems at home continued, my attacks returned. The worst one hit me while I was getting dressed one morning. The kids were getting ready for school . I wasn’t going to frighten them so I tried to talk myself down from it without them knowing. Before I realized, I was waking up on the floor with my kids looking over me. This should have been the wake up call for help but like most victims that suffer from panic and anxiety, admitting to my problem on top of everything else that was happening to me was the last resort. I was going to fight this. The only thing my doctor could offer to help were the usual depression meds. I was not the type to rely on drugs. I wouldn’t even take cold medicine or aspirin when I was sick. I chose to look into other more natural alternative remedies to cure anxiety and panic.
Counseling helped me a lot. For some reason, talking to family and friends about my problems seemed degrading and embarrassing to me. How could I tell the ones who congratulated me for keeping it all together that I was actually losing my mind and falling to pieces? Besides, my family and friends were all too wrapped up in their own drama to take on any more from me. I didn’t want to burden them. An outside counselor who knew nothing about me could listen to my problems and offer more constructive advice. After months of counseling I became dependant on it more than I would any drug. It wasn’t as costly as I thought counseling would be and the relief of finally being able to vent it all out without being judged was just the ticket. I finally had someone in my corner, someone who actually cared about what I was going through, someone who was encouraging and supportive.
I realized counseling alone wasn’t going to cure me. If I wanted to beat this, I really had to make some changes with my health starting with my diet. I began taking long walks to relax, drinking more water, taking vitamins, eating less fat and starchy foods, cutting out sugar and caffeine and began eating more fresh vegetables and fruits. Drinking antioxidant beverages such as green tea and pomegranate juices proved to change my mood and give me more energy. I was in a better frame of mind. I had more motivation to be positive and overall felt more healthy and looked less ragged. By making some simple changes to my diet and getting more exercise, I began to feel like my normal self again. A simple walk in the evening after dinner was more relaxing than just laying on the couch. I began getting to know my neighbors. I found interesting places in my neighborhood I never knew existed. I felt more social and less sheltered. People began to notice my new look and that made me feel even better about myself.
If you are suffering from anxiety, panic and depression don’t keep it to yourself,. Talk to someone, Try to take better care of yourself. Make some changes to your diet and try to get some type of physical activity each day to relieve your tension. Try to get plenty of rest as well. Do anything you can to change your overall outlook on life. Avoid the meds if possible. Most meds that are prescribed for this condition are addicting and you may need to commit to taking them on a regular basis, sometimes for years before they actually cure your symptoms. Most meds prescribed for depression have side effects that can worsen your condition if you stop taking them. The most effective of all remedies is counseling. Getting it all out to a neutral party is more relief for panic and stress than you can ever imagine and can actually make any bad situation you are going through seem more bearable until it can be resolved.