Wednesday, 1 July 2015


That painful lump in your throat that makes you believe you can't take another breath without throwing up; the one that feels like heart-break. Every fold of skin is saturated in sweat, and your scalp becomes itchy. You shake and shiver as you try to over power the adrenaline pumping around your body and conduct yourself the way you ought to. Your chest tightens and every second feels like it could be your last, a fleeting moment that won't seem to pass.
It isn't because you just got told some dreadful news, or because you are in danger - it's simply a wave of overwhelming anxiety that can seem out of the blue.

Recently it has seemed that I have been getting hit with panic attacks from every corner of my life and it's become a bit crippling, leaving me on edge and frankly depressed. Granted, things in my personal life are super hectic right now and I am under more stress than usual, but more than ever before I have needed to think clearly and 'have my shit together'.
&for the first time in a long time I am on the quest to stop them once and for all.

Last week I was meant to play as a part of a band in a gig, but when it came to sound check I drove down and sat in the car in tears at the thought of stepping foot inside the venue. Even when told that I could take the backseat and sit in the crowd instead, I couldn't bear the thought of it and ended up staying in. Not only did this suck as I would have loved to of performed and had fun with all my friends, but I had friends who traveled for the gig specifically to celebrate my birthday with me. I had let myself down because of demons I had created in my own mind, and it was a horrible feeling.

That night I dove head first into research of a final 'cure' and new ways to help deal and hopefully stop the attacks altogether. I have changed a lot of different aspects of my life FOR REAL this time in a bid to win my happiness back, and I guess I have decided to talk a little about it here in the hope that this will work for both me and maybe someone who reads this too. Who knows? But what I do know that I won't settle until this isn't a part of my life anymore.

So, first up I have made dietary changes. Sugar and Caffeine are terrible things to consume when you suffer from anxiety. Sugary sweets and treats lead to sugar crashing when your body produces more insulin which makes you tired and groggy, and generally feeling a bit shit. 
Coffee and caffeinated drinks can leave you feeling irritable and stomps on your serotonin levels leaving you feeling depressed. It messes with your sleep which is something you need to be getting loads of if you're like me and left exhausted after a day of being on edge. 
All's well and good saying you will cut it out, but then secret eating, or just having a wee treat here and there until you realize at the end of the day you have ate more crap than that German obese kid from the Simpsons, Uter. 'Cos I mean, will it really do all that good if I cut out something that is so tasty and makes me happy? Well, I don't know, but the only way to find out is if I stop cheating on myself and having 'shhneaky Maccy Dees'.

Secondly, eating healthier. I have recently been doing the whole 5 A DAY of your fruit and veg thaaang that everybody is meant to be doing, which I thought would have been harder than I thought but is totally achievable. And one of the important fruits I have been forcing down my gullet is a bananas. I hate them with the fire of a thousand suns, but my god are they good for you. With a natural source of vitamin B and tryptophan, which converts to serotonin when consumed, it helps you relax and relieves anxiety & depression, and also containing potassium which helps with stress and blood pressure levels they are just so great for those with anxiety issues. (Similar qualities are found in Turkey, Chiles, Potatoes and a whole tear of other foods too!)

No more boozey binges. Which shouldn't be too much of an issue at the moment as I can barely even enter a bar to get a drink! Jokes aside, all of my favourite alcohol is high in sugar and caffeine, so already breaks the dietary rules, but also alcohol works as a depressant with crippling effects come the next morning. Some of my worst panic attacks have happened when hungover, as the fear takes over worse then ever when you are left vulnerable. A smart boy told me once that 'Drinking just stealing happiness from tomorrow' - and it sadly is true.
A few months back I did this and it really had a huge effect on my anxiety levels, but unfortunately on my social life too - so something that I wanted to work on this time round was not letting my sobriety affect my social interactions.

An important part of the day for everyone is exercise. And alike to every other netflix binging 'twenty-something' who leads a very busy life, one cannot find the time to exercise.. or more-so won't. But obviously that has got to change. Research has proven that exercising for just thirty minutes a day, three to five times a week, reduces stress and relieves anxiety and depression. This is because when you get the blood pumping around your body, your body releases endorphins which makes you feel great and gives you that 'runners high'. So there will be more yoga-ing with the boy, cycling with dad and walking to work to help get me active and feeeeling goooood (and less Netflixin').

One of the main things that I found a lot of people talking about online was Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. CBT seems to have quite a high success rate from what I can see from my research and it has been recommended to me by quite a few people. I was always holding back from going to a practice in Belfast as it can get a bit pricey but I have found a very affordable practice and at this point in my life it seems silly to be denying myself happiness just because it might leave me a bit strapped for cash as it would be a health investment. I am not sure about whether this will work for me, and I still have a week to go before I start but from what I read it will be a completely different approach to everything and hopefully will be the last step for me to take.

This time I am not relying on someone else to tell me what to do, or to tell me off when I mess up. I don't want to be leaning on someone to pull me out of this slump, I want to take this horrible feeling, remember it and use it to push me to get better and I want to be able to be writing about how I managed to banish panic attacks and anxiety altogether down the line. Wouldn't that be swell?

If any of you have suffered from anxiety in the past and have found 'the cure' or a method that worked for you, then please do share it with me; I am at the stage where I am willing to try everything and anything!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Can't wait on your next post! You've earned a subscriber! :) More fashion styles!

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