How I Finally Conquered My Panic Attacks (and you can too)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

We all acquire anxiety issues a little differently. We all get through things a little differently as well.  Some use cognitive behavioral skills, including humor techniques, deep breathing, thought replacement, self compassion, mindfulness and vocalized defensiveness to get through their panic attacks or scary thoughts. Today my guest poster takes you on her journey towards healing. 

By: Misty Browne

As I step out of the SUV at the airport, my boss’s mother asks me if I’m feeling OK. 

“I’m fine, just a little under the weather,” I respond. 

In line for security I get the same question as the wand runs across my body. I nod and move on. By the time I’m at my gate I can’t breathe. I rush to the bathroom. “Maybe I’m getting the flu,” I tell myself. I splash cold water on my face. Outside of being a touch pale, the mirror reflects green eyes and brown hair falling neatly over my shoulders, the same as always. But I feel different. I feel like I’m going to die. I can’t breathe and my heart is pounding so hard I can hear it....  continue reading

The Pain Disorder That Saved My Life

Thursday, February 02, 2017 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

Pain and depression can go hand-in-hand because of the way brain chemicals like serotonin affect both of those conditions (more on depression here). But did you know anxiety can follow similar patterns? So much overlap. Neurotransmitters are kinda jerky like that. Some people even experience panic attacks related to food sensitivities

And sometimes we stumble upon these relationships by accident. Today I have a guest post from a lovely woman who found out just how closely linked pain and anxiety can be....  continue reading

How To Freak Yourself Out in Six Seconds Flat: Sensitization (and Other Causes of Anxiety)

Monday, June 15, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed at the thought of getting a work project done or making dinner? How about agitation at those around you for little cause? All of these things may be the result of an overly stressed system. Or not enough wine. But, probably, it's the stress. 

Too Much Stress Adds Up

The body and brain are wired to work together, which is why anxiety can be triggered either way. It's the difference between feeling anxious from that extra cup of coffee or anxious because you have to deliver a presentation; they both give you similar feelings, but with different root causes. 

However, that extra coffee in addition to a looming presentation can make things that much more difficult for the body to deal with. The project and the coffee become multiple slights to the same system. You get enough small stressful events and it doesn't take much more to reach panic levels. And that last little thing that triggers panic often makes people feel crazy or guilty when they find themselves having trouble breathing over something seemingly mundane....  continue reading

"Get the F*ck Away From Me, Doc!" Iatrophobia, Hypochondria and Ways to Cope With Medical Phobias

Monday, May 18, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

Most people have some fear of medical procedures. We are preprogrammed to be squeamish at the sight of blood or to be upset if we see someone else bleeding. Though we tell ourselves we’re being silly, it isn’t unreasonable to be anxious about going into a room so someone can stab us with a needle. We see it as being threatened. You say, ‘I need to get this test done,” your amygdala says, “What the fuck are you doing!? RUN! She’s trying to attack us with a sharp metal object!” 

This is normal, rational, and okay, particularly because we do it anyway and feel fine about it afterwards. 

But not everyone has it so easy. For some, phobias make medical situations unbearable. Luckily there are a number of ways to cope. First, the basics.  ...  continue reading

"Pass the F*cking Kale." Food Additives, Allergies and Anxiety

Friday, February 27, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

Do you have anxiety? It might be what you’re eating. You might even have allergies. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “DUH, Meg, I’d KNOW if I was allergic to something! What the hell are you wasting our time for?”

Well, because you might not know that contrary to popular belief, allergies are not just indicated by hives or trouble breathing. Allergies might also show up as anxiety, depression, panic disorders or even behavioral conditions such as ADHD.  

Now, I am not saying that all anxiety or mood disorders are related to allergies. That simply isn’t true. But they can be and that’s a problem because the general population has no idea that this is the case. We aren’t taught to look at anxiety as a mental health issue; the first line of defense is generally anti-anxiety drugs or cognitive behavioral therapy. While both may have merit in some populations, we must also consider that what we put into our bodies has the ability to trigger mood issues. You never know what you will uncover when you look at the whole person as opposed to just one isolated symptom, such as “I feel nervous.”

But it isn’t just new-agey bullshit. Let’s look at the research on food, anxiety and allergies....  continue reading

Anxiety, Alcohol Use and 13 Ways to Cope With Panic (Besides Drinking)

Monday, February 09, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

Social anxiety is strongly linked to higher levels of alcohol abuse1, possibly due to the way alcohol lubricates vocal chords and actually allows nervous folks to speak in public. A little social helper to get you through meeting new friends, right? 

But anxiety is more strongly connected to alcohol dependence than alcohol abuse so those with anxiety may have a predisposition to end up addicted2. Either that or people mistake the withdrawal symptoms for anxiety which skews the data. Either way, over time, alcohol triggers worsening anxiety issues, leading to more need for more alcohol to reduce ever climbing emotional symptoms. 

Uhoh. 

There are ways to cope without the alcohol, and we’ll get to all that in a minute. But you need to understand what you’re up against....  continue reading