Ring of Famer
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Anxiety is, for some of us, a part of our life. I've had it every since my early 20's. I've had it extreme style in spurts, panic attacks and social phobias, and so forth. What's frustrating is you don't know why in the hell you feel that way. I just sort of dealt with it and then it starting taking over my life as I really wanted to just ignore it. I could not sleep a wink and had to go on Ambien/Lunesta. After several years on those, I could literally feel that I had lost the ability to remember many things and that's from long term use of those drugs. Stay away from them. You may feel crappy from not sleeping well but in the long run you're better off. And I've tried all the natural stuff such as L-Theanine, Motherswort, Passion Flower, Lavender Pills, you frickin name it I've tried it.
I think Razor gave some good advice. In the last few years I really started to change some thing in my life and I am doing way better. Haven't had a panic attack in 2 years, I sleep 4-6 hours a night without any medication. 4 years ago I could walk into a crowded mall and I had no idea why my brain would go into one of these stress storms. You feel light headed, and just weird. What happens then is you start to self analyze and you get a little nervous and your body starts pumping adrenaline, and you can start sweating, get tingling in your hands or face, palpitations, etc.
The things I changed were pretty simple things really. First you have to know, that for whatever reason, you have something inside you that makes your brain produce these higher waves, and you have to do something about it. Medication is not the answer, trust me, trust me, trust me.
Some more recent studies have shown there is a link between anxiety and brain wave patterns. There are some things you can do to help with that but the main thing is that you have to realize, that the next level of anxiety, is you fearing that something physically bad is going to happen to you. This is when you mind tells the body to start creating adrenaline. You don't know that's what's going on so you start freaking out over that and it just creates more adrenaline. So the absolute first step in getting past your anxiety is to realize, nothing is wrong with you, when you start to stress (even though there isn't anything to really stress about) just realize that if you start to produce adrenaline, know that's what happening and it's a totally natural thing. If you know that, you can talk yourself down from it going to the next stage. People will tell you to take deeper breaths and all that but you body knows when you're trying to trick it. It doesn't work over night but you will get better at it. Just know that when these adrenaline episodes take place, you're fine, you're not dying. Palpitations are not a heart attack, their simply a sensation. Same with tingling hands or face, or warm flush skin, or dizziness. Their all sensations.
Secondly I would go have your vitamin levels checked. Being low on vitamin D will definitely help create anxiety. I was very low on my vitamin D. If you are, you will take a supplement for 3 months because that's how long it takes for your liver to store enough to change your levels.
Get out in the sun every day. Not only will this help with creating vitamin D in your body but it also helps with sleep. Most people think that your body makes melatonin when the sun goes down and it gets dark, which is half right. But being out in the sun also is part of the melatonin production process.
Strenuous work out. Razor hit the nail on the head with this one. I can't emphasize enough how much this really helps. And it can't be just mild exercise. You really have to get after it. It will suck at first. Especially if your sleeping habits, like mine, were shot. You just don't feel like doing jack **** the next day. But force yourself. I can't tell you how many times I slept 1 or 2 hours and did not feel I could even fuction the next day but I would go hike and after 10 minutes of hiking it made me feel so alert and gave me energy. I started off with 30 minute hikes and now I'm up to an hour and a half every day. I also now lift weights for 30 minutes every other day. This is so important. You have to really get after it, to the point where you feel exhausted. This is a great test, and I did this 2 years ago. I would go to a mall or grocery store and I could feel my stress storm coming on. I would leave the store, go work out for an hour and I would be shot when I was done. Took a shower and went back to that same store and I was perfectly fine.
Ok, so the last thing I would say is this. Stay away from stimulants for awhile (coffee, tea, nicotine). When you want to go to bed, leave the PC and TV alone for an hour prior to that, go outside and walk for 20 minutes in the dark. When you want to wake up, first thing you do is go outside for 20 minutes and walk in the light. Go to bed and wake up the same time every single damn day for 3 weeks.
Sorry, left one thing out, you can do a journal or write stuff down. That helps some people but what I found to be a key source is goal setting. Sometimes you feel as if you're just drifting in life and there's no real direction. You have a job, a wife or girlfriend, whatever. But how do all these things fit into your "LIFE GOAL". What do you want from life and how will you go about getting it. This has helped me out so much.
Then just realize this all takes time. You want it to happen over night but it won't, I can tell you that much. But when you understand that, and understand you will have set backs, but you keep your march going forward no matter what, you start having those good days, and then more of those good days, then good weeks, and so forth. When you create your goals, work towards them. So for some people, they may have stressful times in their life, but for some of us, hardcore anxiety was so seriously brutal, you thought you were going crazy. If that's you, get serious about it, change your life or it will take over your life. Life doesn't change on it's own, you have to make it change.
Good luck and PM me anytime if you want more answers or if you just need an ear.