Home / Challenging Your Anxious Thoughts / How to deal with what ifs

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Amet Sep 06, 2017 (07:37 AM)  

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I'm seeing her Tuesday. Today was a busy week and we couldn't find a time that worked for both of us unfortunately.

I'm going to talk to my doctor today because I started ciprolax in June and I swear my emotions have been so up and down and I wonder if this is a side effect of the pill. If it is I don't want to be on it anymore. I hate pills to begin with but felt like I needed the help because I was such a mess in June. 

Courage1984 Sep 05, 2017 (11:37 PM)  

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Okay im glad yoga helped. When are you seeing the therapist next? Try to see her at least once a week at the very beginning. 

Amet Sep 05, 2017 (09:20 PM)  

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Well on my way home from work I cried quite a bit yay. But yoga was good. It was a very relaxing yoga tonight which is needed so I do feel a bit better. 

Courage1984 Sep 05, 2017 (09:13 PM)  

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Amet, how was yoga? Did it help you feel alittle better?

Amet Sep 05, 2017 (03:40 PM)  

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No it has been a busy day but I am going to yoga tonight so I'm hoping that helps relax me. I also noticed (now that I read about taking big gulps in from the mouth that I even do that through my nose!) I was noticing for a while that sometimes I would breathe so much through my nose that as silly as it sounds I felt my nostrils grow larger and my throat felt funny now I realize its because I'm trying to take in these big breaths through my nose. Ughh anxiety.

Courage1984 Sep 05, 2017 (03:35 PM)  

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I know. Find comfort in the fact that youre not alone. 


You will pull through.  The road to recovery will not be A to B in a straight line.  It will be 
A --- D ----Z ---- x ----- B -----X-----Z--------E ----- etc

Life isnt always neat but that is its beauty and its curse. 

Amet - youre having a crappy day.  I have lots of them.  I remember I told my therapist that I hate happy days - because it means sad days are ahead.  He said ....and then there will be happy days ahead of sad days.  So my dear, there are happy days ahead.  

I know you are in Toronto (like me) - did you have your lunch?  Do you take walks?  Find ways to burn off some of that adrenaline.


Amet Sep 05, 2017 (03:22 PM)  

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Thank you for that! And mine duplicated before too not sure why it does that lol. Its so hard to shake these feelings of sadness when you have those super crummy days.

Courage1984 Sep 05, 2017 (02:53 PM)  

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Why breathing helps

When you notice your own early warning signs, regardless of what they are, they are due to the activation of the stress response (your sympathetic nervous system). You can read more on this by clicking here.

To calm down, whatever it is that you feel in your body, you need to activate your relaxation response (your parasympathetic nervous system.)

Different rates of breathing, result in different emotions and feelings in your body.

You breathe too much during a panic attack, resulting in hyperventilation.

What happens when you breathe too much?

Your heart rate speeds up.
You take in too much oxygen and your carbon dioxide levels lower.

This is known as hypocapnic alkalosis – or more simply put, your blood is too alkaline and makes you

light headed
dizzy
feel unreal
suffocating or smothering feelings
And a host of other symptoms.

You can read more about the symptoms of anxiety by clicking here.

When feeling unreal, light headed and dizzy, you panic, which of course, makes you feel worse and your symptoms increase.

Breathing is something that your brain takes care of, it is normally outside of your control.

If you are having a panic attack, you are breathing more than you should be, and you need to take control.

Taking control of your own breathing will allow the anxiety to melt away.

Controlling your breathing will

Calm your heart rate
Restore the levels of carbon dioxide, and your uncomfortable symptoms will go away

How to take control

If it feels like you are gulping in air, or notice that your belly really expands when you breath in, you are taking in too much air.

The uncomfortable feeling of panic breathing will naturally make you want to breathe more deeply, but don’t.

Your over breathing is the problem.

Breathe in, through your nose, slowly, do not gulp.

Breathe out slowly, through your mouth, as if you were blowing up a balloon. Make sure your exhale is longer than your inhale.

Each time you breathe out, relax your shoulders, let them drop.

Wait for the next breath to come. If you are gulping in air, you probably started to breathe in, before you needed to.

Wait

Wait for the next breath to come.

What to do if you are controlling your breathing and your mind is racing?

It is normal to have scary thoughts during a panic attack. In addition to taking your control of your breathing, you need to ground yourself.

This will take your attention away from your thought

Amet Sep 05, 2017 (01:52 PM)  

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Thank you so much! How did you break the habit of breathing too deeply. I catch myself sometimes trying to get as much air as I can :(. I hate the feeling of "not getting enough air".

Courage1984 Sep 05, 2017 (01:40 PM)  

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No I totally understand.


But listen, you'll get there.  

Remember it is not a permanent disease - it is just anxiety.

Everyone has anxiety.  

My dog has anxiety.  When I try to bathe him, he runs.  That is his flight response activated.
Fishes have anxiety.  When you try to catch one, they flee. 
Coworkers have anxiety.  When someone gives them an assignment at 5pm on a Friday, they become dangerous.  Fight activated.

The difference btwn them and us is our beliefs and thoughts about anxiety otherwise physiologically we are normal (though sometimes that is hard to believe, or feel).  You will get there.  I had what you had and I conquered it. So I speak with experience. 

Hope you are feeling better.  Enjoy the sun.  

Amet Sep 05, 2017 (12:57 PM)  

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Hahha. Well that made me smile. I am glad I can come here and talk about these things. It is super frustrating and it gets me down missing how I used to feel when this breathing thing wasn't an issue and I was happier. Like now I stress and get sad about the silliest things. My fiancé is going to Montreal for the weekend and I am so sad thinking omg I won't see him for the whole weekend. He's one person who really helps me through this so its hard to not be around him lol.

Courage1984 Sep 05, 2017 (12:52 PM)  

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That was me yesterday.  I actually did cry lol.  My mom walked in and I was like, it's allergies.  She bought it haha.  


It's okay to let the tears out.  There is no shame in feeling vulnerable.  Youre human.

Also, it\s okay if you have these down periods.  You have this forum to lift you right up.  Think of a boxer who just got punched.  View us like your coach, slapping your face, picking you up, spraying you with water, massaging your shoulders and pushing you back in the ring to show who is champion.

Ding, ding, ding, ding!

Amet Sep 05, 2017 (12:43 PM)  

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Thank you so much. I really needed that. I am feeling extra emotional today for some reason and trying not to break down crying at work! Its not a great feeling. I get random days like this especially when I am feeling overwhelmed. I know I feed into it with my damn fears. I wish this was easier to let go. Slowly I am guessing!

Courage1984 Sep 05, 2017 (12:41 PM)  

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Ofcourse.  


Im at work too.  I was just typing and suddenly I started to panic.

I just saw your other post.  

I was reading the anxiety work book and it states that:

Anxiety is normal and it naturally declines on its own, if left alone.  For ex if someone is driving for the first time, they are nervous and anxious.  But through repetition, they grow confidence and the anxiety gradually extinguishes.

Why anxiety stays -
By developing certain beliefs about anxiety ie. you cannot handle it, that it is horrible, you contribute to its persistence and perpetuation.  The goal of CBT is to stop you from resisting anxiety and allow it to happen as it will naturally decline on its own.

Applying this to you - You are saying I wish this could stop. Again this is resistance.  I TOTALLY know where you are coming from (ie I was there 2 days ago and I know its hard to be in that frame of mind when you are afraid) but we have to, even in our fear, speak the language of CBT to end this.  This kind of self-dialogue continues to supply it with fuel.

When the derealization symptoms pop up in my situation, I feel my heart racing and I am ready to panic but then I say: 

It's okay to panic.  It's totally fine. Panic is normal and natural.  I will allow it to happen and I will watch it as a 3rd person with my popcorn in hand. 

Allow the breathing fixation to happen.  Welcome it.  Have your popcorn and let it throw a tantrum while you watch like a boss.  Eventually it will go away.  It always does.  You have evidence of this because you said on the weekend you had several hours of not even thinking of it.  That is amazing.  It confirms that remission is totally possible.  Just trust me.  I am going through the same thing right now and it helped.

Amet Sep 05, 2017 (09:02 AM)  

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Today has not been a great morning:(. I don't know if its cause I'm sad the weekend went so quickly and now I'm back to work or what. Just feeling super sad and super anxious. My breathing is all over the place. Does this happen to you sometimes?

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