Have you forgotten I have a blog yet? I hadn’t but I was struggling on what to write next… so much has happened since I wrote my testimony. We started that small group and have enjoyed its few short weeks of running, and I finally did get a great psychologist… woohoo! Christian and all, she is awesome and has helped a lot. For the sake of this blog, let’s call her “Magic Lady” or ML for short. Plus, I’ve been running my little home business, so I haven’t been twiddling my thumbs while ignoring you.
In this post, I just wanted to share some things I’ve learnt in the last month, and hopefully come back into being a full-swing blogging machine.. (We’ll all have to wait and see for that one)
So, week 1… Breathe. I already knew about breathing to help with anxiety, I never found it did all that much though, until Magic Lady helped me understand scientifically what it aims to do. Ok.. hold onto your boots, it’s about to get wild…
So you know those delightful panic attacks? That is apparently the “impulse [part of your] brain” picking up an overload of threatening information. Btw, that information could be as little as a post you saw on Facebook… lol, silly brain. It doesn’t know what to do with the overload so it needs help to transfer that information to the “smart [part of your] brain”. Then it can process that information and your body can start to calm the heck down.
Side note: I realise I am massacring this very “scientific” explanation so please correct me if I have gotten anything wrong. This is me paraphrasing from ML.
Anyway, so.. when your impulse brain can’t transfer that information to the smart brain, the information gets stuck in the impulse brain in this scary, panic-filled loop – and that is more or less when you have a panic attack. I know right, revelatory. The breathing then, is aimed at interrupting that loop so that you can then transfer that information to your smart brain by “noticing and naming”.
So breathe! Slow, deep and sleepy breaths (biologically, it slows down release of stress chemicals like cortisol, slowing heart rate and helps stop the panic loop) and now I’ll explain to you the noticing and naming.
Once you have interrupted the loop in the impulse brain, you then ask yourself “what is going on, why am I anxious?” And you put a name to the stimulant. For me, I often get anxious when I first get to work in the morning. So my stimulant is the first morning business/activities, otherwise known as running late and having to deal with the consequences. And then you decide, what am I going to do about it? I could just try to stop running late but instead, I tell myself, “you’ll be ok, you do this every morning, you’ll be fine once you get started” and of course, “you’ll be home before you know it”. Not sure if I should bribe myself with home since I already never want to leave there but.. shmeh.
So that’s what I learnt week 1 at my psychologist appointment and I won’t take you through every week because well, just no, but I will try to give you the most helpful bits as I remember them.
This is my goal again, to help anyone struggling with anxiety or depression, for free. If this helped you, please share :).
P.s. I asked ML permission before I posted this. Thank you Magic Lady!