Anxiety attacks are the worst. When something big happens, even when I freak out, my generator kicks in and says “Okay, this sucks, but this, this and this are your options.” There’s something in me that is totally capable of dealing with the ”worst.” I can totally roll with the punches when nuclear bombs are dropped on me.
Unfortunately, it’s “the small nothings,” that unravel me. The tiny unexpected things, that creep up, tap me on the shoulder. An unexpected phone call or an ambiguous text can ruin my entire day. My heart races, I’m frozen in place and my stomach gets coated with dread. The part of my brain that says, “You’ve dealt with bigger problems before,” gets shut down by a screaming banshee demanding, “Then why can’t I make sense of it?!”
The only thing that occasionally helps is writing down every action. I mean every action. ”Breathe. Drink water. Close eyes.” I write any number of tasks until I am comfortable with writing about the thing that triggered the anxiety attack in the first place. ”Call ___.” ”Repair button.” I always have to remember not to chastise myself while in the middle of an attack, because it only makes it worse. ”What’s wrong with you?! This is stupid!”
When they’re really bad, I’m lucky enough to be able to call my sister. She’s talked me through more than my fair share of them. She’s really one of the most patient souls that I know. She’s the one who helped me find my makeshift coping mechanism.
The entire point of this post, is to open the floor to suggestions. For those of you who deal with anxiety attacks, what are your coping mechanisms? How do you “talk yourself down?”