Mental Health

How to fight off anxiety attacks

Anxiety attacks are a tricky beast, mostly because each one is different and caused by different triggers, but a lot of people treat them as one in the same. Today I’m going to be outlining a couple main different types of anxiety attacks I’ve experienced and effective ways to fight them.

The classic

This is the typical overwhelmed attack. You feel like you’re drowning despite no water in sight, your limbs are going numb, and suddenly nothing in your environment makes sense. If you suffer from any level of anxiety attacks, you’ve probably dealt with one of these. For me, the only way to get out of one of these is to try and control your breathing. Try to breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4, and then exhale for 4. It helps to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Another technique that works for me is a grounding exercise called 5 things. This little game is really easy. You just stop doing whatever you’re doing and focus. First, name 5 things you can see around you. Then name 4 things you can hear. Then continue on with 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. If you aren’t eating anything, name something else you have eaten the most recently. This game helps you stop focusing on whatever is making you panic and more on what is actually happening in the moment.

Angry and destructive

This is a type of anxiety attack that I get more often than I would like to admit. It usually happens if things are going wrong or attempts at defusing a different anxiety attack. Basically any worry or panic turns into angry and frustration. I usually want to just explode, destroying things and yelling. Instead of doing that, I have some other techniques I do instead. One of the most effective is destroying something. Ripping up paper can help calm myself down by getting the pent up energy out somehow. Also screaming can also get out that energy. After getting the more frantic anger dealt with, going back to the suggestions listed with The classic will help getting you back to completely normal.

Worthless, worthless, worthless

This attack usually comes more from a place of depression than straight anxiety, but it always gets there eventually. Typically it happens after something I was looking forward to or counting on goes wrong because I made some sort of mistake. I then start into a spiral of self-depreciation and hate,  allowing myself to think that I am completely worthless and might as well die. While it doesn’t always get to that serious of a place, I will start thinking about all the other mistakes I’ve done and how nothing I do works and such and so forth. Basically the only way to get out of these thoughts is to make a list. I try to write down what EXACTLY the consequences of my mistake are. What is DIRECTLY going to be caused by this action, good and bad, intentional and unintentional. I don’t think that this list has ever included the death of my loved ones or the end of the universe, which my internal monologue would imply. Writing down a concrete and rational list of the consequences not only helps you focus on how much you’re blowing it out of proportion, but it can help you plan your next steps to actually resolve the issue.

So these are the main three anxieties I usually face. Some attacks can be combinations of these, but usually the stick to the main three. Let me know if this post helped you at all, or if you can relate to this to begin with. Good luck out there kids, and later days!

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