ANXIETYS BITCH BLOG
When someone describes anxiety attacks and panic attacks, one tends to use the phrases interchangeably. They are even entirely unaware that they actually two clinically distinct with their own signs and experiences. Both differ in symptomology as well as the length of time and the root of the attack is not the same.
Panic attacks are identified by their rapid onset and severe intensity. You can go from feeling completely normal to feeling intense stress, fear with physical symptoms like shaking and heart palpitations. The duration of panic attacks can vary or you may experience it in waves. Waves are generally relatively short times. I find that they last anywhere between ten minutes to thirty minutes long. I recently had short waves of about ten minutes each over a few hours. They started at five am and continued until noontime. It is very draining on you physically as it takes a lot of energy to go through one. If only it burned calories!
You may be having a panic attack if you are experiencing four or more of the following
- trembling or shaking
- chest pain and/or discomfort
- excessive sweating
- accelerated heart rate
- heart palpitations, pounding heart
- difficulty breathing, sensations of shortness of breath
- feeling like you are smothering or drowning
- the feeling of choking
- abdominal distress or nausea
- fear of dying
- light headed or faint, feeling dizzy
- fear of losing control
- chills or hot flashes
- tingling or numbness sensations
Anxiety will typically intensify over a longer period of time compared to a panic attack. Anxiety symptoms can last for days, weeks even months. You could be experiencing a panic attack if you have any of these symptoms:
- muscle tension
- increased startle response
- disturbed sleeping patterns
- difficulty concentrating
- shortness of breath
- increased heart rate
You can also experience frequent urination and bowel issues with both types of attacks which is also a major trigger for so many of us who fight the beast. Regardless which one you suffer from or if you are like me, and suffer from both, it is exhausting and scary. Knowing you are not going to die is a thought I try to enforce into my brain each time as sometimes I really feel like I am. When I wake in the night feeling like someone has put a pillow over my face and I am shaking like Trump in a Clinton rally, it is scary. Medication and lots of exercise along with eating healthy does keep them at devils reach. If I sway from a good routine of those, the beast sneaks in rapidly and attacks with a mean left hook. It sometimes takes me a full day to recover as it really does physically exhaust me.
Many people find help through therapy with fantastic results. Cognitive behaviour therapy helps you identify and challenge your negative Nelly thinking patterns. It will also help with irrational beliefs that fuel the beast. Exposure therapy encourages you to confront those fears in a safe environment controlled by you. When you are repeatedly exposed to your feared object or situation, either your imagination or in reality, you will gain some sense of control. Your anxiety can gradually diminish as you face your fear without being harmed.
Whatever strategies you try may or may not work for you. The benefits in trying out weigh the fear of failure. Now go slay the beast!