In 2014, when I started doing my vlog, I had this idea that, at some point, I would try to record myself immediately after an anxiety attack. I wanted to do this because I felt that it might be helpful to show others my anxiety management process in real time. My goal was (and still is) to help others, that are dealing with Anxiety, by showing them that they are not alone. I also want others to see that it can get better; you can learn to manage your anxiety. 🙂
Feel free to watch the video that I originally recorded on 12/16/2014. For those of you that may worry about being triggered, I don’t think you have much to worry about. There is no visible expression of anxiety in this video – it’s all below the surface. In fact, I find this video to be calming.
Some important things that are brought to our attention in this video:
1) You can’t always tell that a person is having a panic attack.
As you can see from the video, I actually look kind of normal when I’m anxious. But, in reality, at the point that I started this video, I was at a 7 or 8 on the anxiety, 10 point, scale. In fact, doing this video was acting as a creative distraction that was helping me to settle down. I would like to note that It’s easy for other people to assume that our anxiety issues are not that big of a deal, because they don’t live inside our heads or experience our feelings. They are simply seeing what we allow them to see.
2) We all have a maximum number of simultaneous triggers that we can manage.
A panic attack happens once you have met your maximum trigger threshold. For me, I find that I am more likely to have a panic attack when I am overwhelmed by 3 major triggers at the same time. It is really helpful to know my threshold, because it clues me in on when I need to take a moment to decompress. Often a panic will happen because we either didn’t have the chance or forgot to take the time to stop and decompress.
3) Your past experience with Anxiety Attacks will help you stabilize faster.
The more past experience I had dealing with a particular anxiety trigger, the more evidence I had that I was going to be OK. This means that the negative influence of a specific trigger becomes less effective over time. And, after a while, a specific trigger can cease to be a trigger at all. In other words, it can’t trick me into panicking anymore. 🙂
4) Get professional help and find tools for management that work best for you.
It’s helpful to read books on the subject of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), but you will likely have the best results if you get professional help. I would recommend starting with your General Practitioner (GP). A lot of people don’t realize that your GP is trained to help you with your mental health as well as your physical health. Start by calling your GP and saying that you believe that you are experiencing excessive Anxiety and/or Depression, and that you would love to come in and get some professional advice.
I would like to emphasize that your doctor won’t make you do anything you don’t want to do. In other words, they won’t force you to go on medication against your will. In my case, my doctor recommended that I do CBT with a clinical psychologist. She provided me with 4 recommendations that I could try out before committing. In addition, she was available to provide me with medication, if and when I desired to go that route. For the record, In this 2014 video, I hadn’t tried any medications yet. But, I did decide to test out medication in May of 2016. I stayed on medication for 1 year, but my CBT was going so well that I was able to eliminate all medication by June of 2017. 🙂