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Mental Health Monday – Just Breathe

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I’ve been having lots of small panic episodes lately, and I’m not sure if they are related to changes in my medication, or because I’m actually focusing on my anxiety in an attempt to deal with it. Fortunately, I’ve only had one very bad panic attack so far this month, and we will hope it stays that way. And in the mean time, I can work on my breathing, which my therapist believes will help me when these attacks occur.

According to my therapist, we only use about 10% of our lung capacity on average. And this can be a problem because we aren’t providing enough oxygen to our bodies. Too little oxygen to the brain can cause our receptors to have slowed response times, which leads to depression symptoms. And too little oxygen to the heart causes it to have to work harder to get oxygen to the rest of our body, leading to symptoms of anxiety.

So, one of the things I am supposed to do is work on my lung capacity by doing breathing exercises every day. You can do this by meditating (check out apps like Calm and Relax Music), with a focus on your breathing, or by just sitting quietly for a few minutes each day and taking the time to take deep breaths. I happen to love this GIF for when I need to remember not to hyperventilate

Whatever you do to help with your panic, always remember to just breathe.

4 Comments

  1. Michelle on September 23, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    I’m sorry you are suffering with panic attacks. I have anxiety which thankfully is controlled by a low dose SSRI. I hope the breathing exercises help and your body settles down in regard to the medication change.

    • Andrea on September 24, 2019 at 12:27 pm

      Thank you! I’m hoping that the recent uptick in panic will resolve itself shortly, but in the meantime, I am trying to distract myself with sewing and reading.

  2. anna on September 26, 2019 at 4:48 am

    Yes, thinking/learning about reasons for panic attacks can make them surge. I have been reading about CPTSD, which I have, and narcissists, which I grew up dealing with, and which caused me to leave the church I attended for nearly 10 years (feeling very battered and sore). The information was helpful, but I certainly noticed an upsurge in anxiety and panic attacks, but it will get better, I promise. I deal with the panic the same way I dealt with surges of pain when I had a trapped nerve. I would say to myself, “Pain is a wild horse…if you try to force it to go where you want it to go, it will fight you.” Deep breaths, consciously relax the neck and shoulders, let the pain flow. Or in this case, the panic. What am I afraid of? I don’t know. So maybe it’s fear itself I’m afraid of. Deep breaths. See it in your mind flowing away from you like water with each breath.

    I found a very good parish church quite nearby with lovely friendly people. Even the “beggar” at the door is friendly, and now when I see him on the street trawling for recyclables he smiles and speaks! Since I was baptised Anglican (Episcopal) the priest has no problem with my partaking of communion.

    • Andrea on September 26, 2019 at 9:23 am

      That’s lovely. I’m so glad that you’ve found a parish that works for you.

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