Category Archives: Anxiety 101

Anxiety 101: Mindfulness

Note: Still not a doctor. Nothing here is proper medical advice.

From here on out, I will leave these posts unnumbered. I may decide to go back and have more pages on, say, anxiety symptoms, and then posts may be out of order unless I changed numbering.

Well, you know a bit of what anxiety can do, you’ve heard my stance on medication (don’t do it unless you feel you have to), now we can start looking at what you can do besides medication to get this under control.

I am deciding to cover mindfulness first. While potentially the trickiest anti-anxiety skill to master, it also holds the most potential. See, mindfulness is all about living in the moment. Anxiety is pretty much all about worrying about stuff in the past or the future. With mindfulness, you take yourself as you are at any given moment and experience what is happening to you now. Chances are, nothing near as bad as you are imagining.

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Anxiety 101, pt. 5: Medication

EDIT 5/27/14: Updated some info and personal experiences, as well as general editing.

I am still not a doctor. All information contained below is not be taken as advice from a doctor. These are just one person’s comments.

One of the things you’ll have to think about early on with anxiety is the question of medication. You may very well be tempted to opt for medication when your doctor suggests the idea. The idea that you can just take something and not have to worry about your anxiety anymore is quite alluring. Sadly, it’s nowhere near that simple. If it was, I probably wouldn’t be writing this, and countless people in the world wouldn’t suffer as much as they do. The only reason I am writing this before the articles on lifestyle changes is because I feel this stuff is important to know from the get-go, before you make a decision on how to go about recovery.

There are many different types of medications here, and I cannot presume to know all of them. Furthermore, bear in mind that meds work differently for everyone. What may work for someone you know may produce no results for you – or may even be more bad than good. The internet is full of warnings to make sure that you have a good doctor/psychiatrist to help you manage your meds. One who has lots of experience treating anxiety sufferers is best, as is one that acknowledges that medicine alone will not make you recover (that’s right, no medication will heal you. Meds will only take care of symptoms, not the cause).

Continue reading Anxiety 101, pt. 5: Medication

Anxiety 101, pt. 4: Panic Attacks

The series continues to focus on some common anxiety woes. Part 2 focused on insomnia, while Part 3 focused on the heart. Again – not a doctor, and nothing here is doctor’s advice. This series assumes you really have been checked out by a doctor and have been given the all-clear as explained in previous posts.

Something’s not feeling quite right. Maybe you know what it is, but it’s also possible that you don’t. Either way, there’s something nagging at you, something saying you need to avoid it, whatever it is. That feeling rapidly grows into a feeling of panic. Your heart rate is high, you’re barely paying attention to anything around you, you’re hyperventilating (but probably don’t notice it), and you’re frantically rushing around, or else trying to find some sort of ‘safe zone’ to sit or lie down.

That’s a basic panic attack. While there can be more (or different) symptoms than I mentioned above, that’s pretty much my typical experience. Panic attacks can seem devastating for the amount of time a person experiences them. They can be triggered by something specific, or perhaps nothing specific at all.

Continue reading Anxiety 101, pt. 4: Panic Attacks

Anxiety 101 pt. 3: The Heart

For my anxiety series I want to first focus on several common anxiety symptoms, under the assumption that this information will be what anxiety sufferers will first want. Part 2 covered insomnia. Again, I am not a doctor and everything is either derived from my personal experience, others, or the internet.

The heart is important to us, so if something is wrong, we become fearful rather quickly. With anxiety, it is EXTREMELY common to have benign (harmless) symptoms. Some of which being more annoying than others…

The first one is usually simple: a fast heartbeat. When you have a panic attack, you are bound to have a fast heartbeat. It also happens when you have high baseline levels of anxiety or are going through an event that causes you anxiety. The normal heart rate range for adults is 60-100 beats per minute (BPM). Having a higher heart rate for short amounts of time is usually not harmful – in fact, consider that during exercise, your ideal heart rate (for young twentysomethings like myself, anyway) is around 150-160, and that is HELPFUL for your heart.

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Anxiety 101 Part 2: Insomnia

Last edited on 2-22-16 (De-emphasized the role of medication as I feel it should be a last-resort type thing, added and changed many other points).

*yawn* I am still not a doctor, and this advice should not be taken as coming from such a person. *yawn*

Insomnia’s not really my idea of fun.  You’re trying to sleep, but for some reason, you just can’t. You toss and turn, and your anxiety gets worse and worse through the night because you’re worried about not going to sleep, being alone, etc.

There are three general types of insomnia for when it occurs: initial insomnia for when you can’t get to sleep to begin with, middle insomnia where you wake up and have trouble getting back to sleep (but it usually does come), and terminal insomnia where you wake up and usually don’t get back to sleep. Odds are a person usually only has one of these at a time, but you can also skip around between the three. I started out having initial, and during the past few months it’s been more terminal, but now initial insomnia is rearing its ugly head again – in fact, I’m writing this on a morning after no sleep. While it’s still a bit early to confirm this is the case, I think it may be brought on by winter (a bit more on that later). No matter what type you have, though, you can use many, if not all, of the same techniques on it.

Continue reading Anxiety 101 Part 2: Insomnia