How to Center Yourself after a Panic Attack

I can’t think…I can’t focus. My thoughts are scrambled and I’m choking on air. My hands are numb and this body doesn’t feel like my own. Everything around me has turned blurry and it’s closing in on me. I can’t hear anything except my breath. Out of control and shallow. My heart feels like it’s trying to rip itself from my chest. I feel small…I feel trapped. This is anxiety…this is a panic attack.

GAD and Panic Disorder

I had my first panic attack when I was 14 years old. At the time, I didn’t know that’s what it was. I had never experienced anything like that before. I remember my mom just staring at me, not knowing what to say or do. It scared me. But I laughed it off anyway.

No one teaches you about depression and anxiety as a kid. Mental health is not at the forefront of conversations. It’s not taught in school or church. Parents will have the “sex talk,” but there’s never a mental health talk. And there fucking should be.

If I had been educated, and given the tools to be proactive in my own mental health, I feel as though things may have turned out a little different for me.

I didn’t understand my thoughts and feelings, and I didn’t think anyone else would either. That or they wouldn’t care. “Being a teenager,” was the usual excuse or explanation to my behavior. So, I thought it was normal to feel this way.

Empty and numb one minute, scattered and panicked the next. I just went through the motions of my life, with this cloud hanging over me. Dealing with the overwhelming ups and downs that anxiety brings, is exhausting. No one should have to live that way.

But if I’m going to be completely 100 with you guys, I’m still learning how to deal with it. I do know, now, what my anxiety looks like though, and am familiar with some of my triggers. However, there’s not always a rhyme or reason for anxiety. So avoiding or preventing a trigger may not be entirely possible.

Sometimes you just have to ride the wave baby! So, my tips today are, how to deal with the aftermath of a panic attack or a general episode of anxiety.

I am by no means a Doctor or Mental Health Professional. If you or someone you know are dealing with a mental illness and need professional help, PLEASE reach out to your local hospital or call 911 in an emergency. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline @ 800-273-TALK (8255). Whether you’re suicidal or not, they’re there to help. If talking isn’t your thing, you can text this crisis line. Text: HOME to 741-741.

Be an advocate for yourself; Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Ok, so the tips I have for you today are for generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. Anxiety is a bitch and wreaks havoc on your body during an episode. Whether that moment is brief or prolonged, your system suffers.

You’re thrown into fight or flight mode. The nervous system is bombarded with increased levels of norephinephrine and cortisol. These chemicals are what give you the rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and get you prepared for whatever “bad thing” needs an ass kicking. Survival mode at its finest. Thank you Mother Nature.

Now, when your brain finally realizes the “bad thing” is gone (or was never even really there), you will be drained physically, mentally and emotionally.

Anxiety-Panic disorder-GAD

How to deal with the aftermath

#1 Remove yourself.

Remove yourself from the person, place, or thing. If possible. You need space from your trigger. If you don’t know your trigger, or there wasn’t one, a nice quiet place is still a good idea to retreat to. Now that you’re in a quiet, calm area, the next thing to do is…

#2 Breathe.

Catch your breath and ease back into your natural rhythm . Get comfortable. Sit up straight. Sitting up straight opens up your lungs and gives them room to fully inflate.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m having a panic attack or just an intense moment of anxiety, I tend to fold into myself. Fetal position = squished lung space.

Place a hand on your chest and one on your stomach. Physically feeling your breath move up and down will help bring awareness to it. You will be more conscious and able to slow it down. Do this for as long as you need. Don’t rush yourself.

Breathing is the first thing I try and get under control because when I can’t breathe, I continue to panic. Having my breath steady gives me the ability to now focus on other parts of me that need calming. This is usually when I can start to feel my hands again.

#3 Shake it off.

And I don’t mean this in the douchey, or lyrical way. I literally mean shake it off. Remember the not breathing, panicky thing you just went through? Well, sometimes due to oxygen not reaching all your extremities, things may be tingly and or totally numb.

I will sit, (or stand if I can muster the strength) and wiggle my fingers, clench and unclench my hands, and I keep working from there. Stretch your arms out, swing them around, do whatever feels comfortable and natural. Lengthen your legs, move your feet around and just give everything a good little stretch.

After you have taken a decent amount of “you time” and re-centered yourself, It’s probably safe to frolic about your daily routine once again. Just remember, you fucking rock and the bad moments in life will pass.

However, I realize not everyone is in my particular situation. So take these tips with a grain of salt. Please alter and use what works best for you and your current lifestyle.

Hang in there my lovelies.

Mommy needs her meds logo

Obstacles in Parenting-Anxiety and Letting Go

Obstacles in parenting-Letting go

Obstacles in Parenting

Anxiety and Letting Go

My son just left me for the first time ever. He’s 2, and I’m a ball of nerves. It’s unbelievable how different this is than leaving him for a couple of hours in the safety of our own home. I know I shouldn’t really have a reason to worry, but he’s my first baby, and this is a first for both of us.

As I installed the carseat into Grandmas car, she told me not to worry. I sheepishly admitted I was nervous, and again, she reassured me it would be fine. I gave my son his sippy cup and a book. He kissed me goodbye, and I stood there in the driveway, waiting for them to drive off. We looked at each other through the window, and I smiled and waved, letting him see that it was okay. And then he was gone.

Obstacles in ParentingAnxiety sets in:

I walked back into the house feeling like a bad parent. How could I just let my toddler leave my side? Would he be safe if I wasn’t there? Does he miss me? What if he doesn’t miss me?

I began the endless train of “what ifs,” and going over worst case scenarios in my mind. My stomach hurts. My chest is heavy and I want to cry.

I have plenty to do to keep me busy while he is gone, but I’m having a hard time focusing on a task. My mind constantly wanders back to my son, and if he’s doing okay.

Being a parent with anxiety isn’t the best combination at times. Something as simple as, letting your kid go with grandma for the day, is crippling in the mind of someone with anxiety. I don’t understand how parents can be so chill about this kind of thing. Maybe my anxiety just makes me uptight and it’ll get easier over time.

Does this get easier?

Obstacles in Parenting

You would think I’d be enjoying my “break.” He’s a rambunctious toddler that never stops moving and it’s a lot to handle most days. But I miss him and can’t wait for him to be home already. This is too much for me right now.

I take my 5 month old and we go lay down. I force myself to sleep. Time passes quicker when you don’t have to deal with the nagging thoughts that invade your mind.

It’s finally 5 o’ clock and I hear the front door open. “Hiiiiiii,” he says, and my heart explodes. He’s home! All worry and anxiety are instantly gone. He’s safe. Nothing bad happened. I can breathe again.

Has anxiety ever made it difficult for you to handle situations as a parent?

5 Parenting Lessons I’ve Learned So Far As A Mom

 

Lessons I've learned so far as a MomLessons in Parenthood

Before I became a Mom, I was the woman at Walmart judging you. All showered and put together. I would shake my head at your screaming kid, and whisper to my husband, “we’ll never put up with stuff like that as parents.”

If only I could go back to my past self, and slap me. I had no idea what those poor Moms and Dads were going through. And I definitely had no room to judge. These days, I am no longer judging, but sympathizing  with you.

Now, I am that poor parent at the grocery store. I am the one in pajama pants and yesterdays Mom bun, with a toddler screaming in the cart.

My son is 2 years old now, and I feel like a pro at this point. (Not!) At the end of every day, I’m amazed we made it out alive. Did I mention I also have an almost 5 month old? It’s a zoo in my home constantly. Each day is a stressful learning experience, but it’s also the happiest I’ve ever been. So, from one parent to another, here are some helpful things I’ve stumbled upon so far.

Time Management

Parenting-Time Management

Hahahahahaha….there is no such thing with a toddler and baby. You will be late. A lot! I used to arrive everywhere 15 minutes early. Now I’m lucky to show up only 5 minutes late. Here’s the rule in our house. We say we’ll leave in 30 minutes, so in reality, we end up leaving in an hour.

Once awake, it’s a mad dash no matter how much time you think you’ve given yourself. Breakfast for the toddler, feed the baby, pack the diaper bag, etc, etc, etc. When you think you’re ready, you’ve realized you’re not dressed and your coffee is cold.

Finally you’re in the car, you look at the clock and you have 3 minutes to get to your appointment. So, for your sanity, just accept that no matter how hard you try, you will never be on time ever again. People will forgive you. It’s ok.

You Dirty Thing You

Embrace the mess. Your once clean floors, will now be covered in last nights dinner, and your shiny countertops will forever be sticky. Your living-room will be littered with toys and piles of clothes. Not to mention, the millions of animal cracker crumbs, repeatedly squished further into the carpet.

It may look like a disaster, but enjoy it. I know it sounds crazy, but without the beautiful family you created, that mess wouldn’t be there. And if you ask me, I think that’s pretty special.

Om Nom Nom

Parenting-Snacks

Have snacks handy. Like all the time. Easily accessible and easy to eat, (preferably healthy). I bet you think I mean for the kids right? Pfft. No. These snacks are for you my dear.

You will be too busy and too tired from taking care of everyone else all day, and making sure they eat actual meals. And believe me, you need to nourish yourself to prevent the hangry tantrums. A hangry parent, is not someone to be messed with.

Doody Calls

Next up in my lessons learned, is a diaper bag. But not just any diaper bag. It needs to be a backpack. No joke, I walk around with a Batman backpack as my diaper bag and it’s the smartest thing I’ve ever done.

I bought a cute tote bag, one strap on the shoulder kind of deal. K…that shit didn’t fly once baby number 2 arrived. With a wiggly toddler and a new born in arm, the damn thing was constantly falling off my shoulder and getting in the way.

Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na BATMAN BACKPACK! And I’ve never looked back.

Hairy Situations

I feel like this may be the most important lesson of them all.

Don’t. I repeat, DO NOT cut your own kids hair. (Unless you’re a hairdresser, duh). I turned my beautiful, shaggy, blond haired son into Llyod from Dumb and Dumber. I honestly couldn’t look at him without laughing. And then crying. My husband still won’t let me forget how I probably traumatized our son.

5 Parenting Lessons I've Learned as a Mom So Far

Us parents need to stick together.

If you liked these tips or want to share your own, feel free to comment below.

 

Marriage Advice-Getting Through the Storm

Marriage Advice-Getting Through the StormFor those of us whom are married, let’s face it; It’s never EVER easy. And if things are going smoothly, like too good to be true…it’s just the calm before the storm. You all know what I’m talking about.

Your Prince Charming, your Knight in shining armor, the person you vowed to love for all eternity, has all of a sudden turned into an endless list of annoyances, that you despise! They breathe too loud, chew too loud, never get their clothes in the hamper, and on, and on.

The house is now a war zone of overly exaggerated eye-rolls and passive aggressive comments. Hooray! Welcome to marriage. Don’t worry. It’ll pass, and the lovey-dovey hormones will return soon.

In the meantime, lets discuss some steps to get you through the storm, and make sure the sun once again, shines out your partners ass.

 

Step 1.

Space for me is a necessity. I need time to be alone to sort through my thoughts and feelings. My logical brain knows that being annoyed by everything, is not my husbands fault. My emotional brain on the other hand, disagrees. So, this space gives me the alone time that I need to process, and get both sides of my brain on the same page. (Ok, some things are totally his fault, but I’m trying to be the bigger person and let that shit go). Which brings me to my next step.

Step 2.

LET. THAT. SHIT. GO.

Obviously, easier said than done sometimes. But, once you’ve had your alone time to process, it’s time to rationalize and put aside the “extra reasons” you’re pissed. Try and narrow it down to a core issue. Let the rest of that shit go. Deep down, you know the way they breathe, isn’t really why you’re mad. (Or maybe it is. That’s for you to decide).

Step 3.

Now it’s time for the hard part. Talking. You knew this was coming, don’t hate. You can’t avoid each other forever, and not talking will just prolong the stormy weather. However, if you’re anything like me, talking doesn’t always go the way you planned. So here’s what I do. Ready?

Write it out. Yup! Whether it’s pen and paper or a text, just get the words out. I have texted my husband many, many times when I just can’t get the words in my brain, to come out of my mouth the same way. Plus, this way, there’s no “he said, she said” bullshit. You have written proof. Boo Ya!

Last Step.

This last step is crucial. Apologize/Forgive. If you truly want to restore peace in the home, you need to 100% forgive each other. None of the sarcastic “geeze soooorry,” bullshit. I’m talking about looking into each others eyes, hold their hand and apologize and forgive. If you’re feeling especially lovey at this point, give each other a big ole smooch.

Is the sun shining yet?Marriage Advice-Getting Through the Storm

Comment on how you get through the storm and restore the love.