In my last post I talked about how I had been carrying around tension from a scuffle my dog got into where he could have injured a puppy. It was really traumatic for me and the result was I had anxiety at work all week. I came thisclose to having a full blown panic attack at work the day after the incident, and I was highly anxious for a good part of that afternoon. (which sucked…)
I recognized that I would very likely be more anxious than usual for a time, and this has been the case. Yesterday- a good 5 days after the traumatic dog incident, I did have a panic attack at work. Thankfully I can see that my anxious feelings are slowly beginning to subside. I am being very gentle with myself, and I know I’ll soon feel back to normal.
So today I wanted to bring up a few things that help me when I am in an anxiety state. These are things that I remind myself throughout the day when I need to overcome panic and anxiety, and they really bring me comfort. I hope they can help you too
I like to keep a little 3 x 5 note card in my purse and I refer to it time and again when I am in a highly anxious state. It’s hard to think straight with anxiety which is why I need to look at the card. It has a few key phrases that keep me grounded. My card says this:
Fake It Till You Make It
Now let’s break down these 3 phrases so they can help you.
1. Don’t Project Into The Future
When highly anxious, your thoughts always go to the negative. This is part and parcel of anxiety- it can lead to horrible thoughts– and most are those annoying “what if’s: WHAT IF it never ends, WHAT IF people notice? WHAT IF I can’t perform my job? WHAT IF I have a panic attack? WHAT IF… (insert any negative thought here that scares you)
The answer to any WHAT IF question is: Don’t project! Do not try to think about what may or may not happen. Remember when you are anxious, you aren’t thinking with your regular rational self. Thinking becomes exaggerated and distorted and so do your best to remember this.
When all those negative thoughts pop up in your head uninvited, refuse to entertain them. Don’t give them any attention at all. Instead, when you start to think “Oh crap! WHAT IF…???” immediately remind yourself that this is anxiety and if you refuse to focus on it, it will go away. Do not give any head time to thoughts that make you feel like crap
2. Fake It Till You Make It
I have often said anxiety is a big fat liar and it really is. All the scary feelings, disturbing symptoms, and racing thoughts are lies. You aren’t really going to faint or go crazy, or curl up into a ball and die.
Sure anxiety feels overwhelming, but the truth is, you can go about your day, you can work, you can do everything you normally do when you feel anxious. The only thing is you may feel a little shaky or your heart my race a bit. Maybe you will flush in the cheeks, but other than that, you will be able to function.
I have had anxiety and panic attacks since age 7. I have learned to live with it successfully in recent years and so please believe me when I tell you that you can do what you need to do. Anxiety will make you think you can’t, but it’s just not true. Even after I had the panic attack at work yesterday, I was able to be proficient and productive. And it ended up being a really good day.
If you don’t trust this, that’s ok. Believe me, even after all these years I can still be bluffed with the feelings when I am in an anxiety state and need a reminder too. that’s why I fake it till I make it. I act as if I am not anxious, I act as if I am a powerful competent woman… I act as if… Until it is so
***Ok, here’s a quick quiz for you:***
If you are on the verge of a panic attack, should you:
A. Call in sick to work
B. Take extra medication
C. Go about you day as usual
The answer of course, is C. This and this alone is what gets you through anxiety every time. This is an important key to overcoming panic attacks. You must continue to live your life and not shrink from situations. I am writing this after working all week with high levels of anxiety. I knew what I had to do- act as if felt great (fake it) and I continue to do this until it is so (till I make it).
It almost sounds too simple to be true, but fake it till you make it really works. I can fake my way out of an anxiety state like no one’s business and I am really happy about this. Happy for me and happy to share that you can do it too. All it takes is practice.
So if you feel you can’t go out the door because you are sensitized from anxiety or panic attacks- don’t spend any time debating what to do in your head. Go to the grocery store. Go to work. Go to that barbecue. Just go.
You may feel a little weird or shaky because of the adrenaline – but act is if you are fine, and believe me you eventually will be. And once your day is done, you will be so damn proud of yourself. It is such a triumph to challenge your anxiety, because you really are in control, so act it OK?
3. This Too Shall Pass
Anxiety always comes to an end. It is self limiting because it is fueled by hormones in the body. And you only have so much adrenaline. Even if you think it will last forever, and I know it feels this way when you’re in the middle of feeling panicky, believe me it won’t…Because it can’t. Eventually it will die down and you will start to feel back to yourself.
Yeah But I Had a Panic Attack, I felt like crap and I’m sure someone noticed….
Really are you so sure? I have come to realize over the years that people are pretty much caught up inside their own heads and worlds. Most people will never even notice you were anxious because no one is scrutinizing you, except you.
And if, on the outside chance some snarky person did notice, don’t make it into some big deal. Because it really isn’t. Remember: Those that matter don’t care, and those that care don’t matter.
I wish I had this perspective 20 or 30 years ago, it would have saved me a lot of grief and suffering. Anxiety and panic attacks really stink, but some people just have to deal with them from time to time. I am one of them, and it’s ok .
Remember, working your program of recovery for overcoming panic attacks is a blessing, and it needs not be difficult, especially if you do it in baby steps. Fighting and shrinking away from anxiety? Now that is what is really, really hard and makes life a living hell.
I wish you peace,
Want to know how I’m doing so well after suffering from anxiety and panic attacks for so long? I recommend and use Panic Away. Click on the link to get started today and reclaim your life from fear.