Is there anything worse than a panic attack? Of course there is. But when one strikes, most of us are willing to sell our own mothers and throw in free shipping to make it stop.
If you are dealing with panic attacks, I know that you are in research overdrive mode and you probably got yourself a fresh bottle of magnesium and a plan and probably a book. Good for you!
No matter how resolute you feel with whatever path you have chosen, save this post. Remember it. You’re going to be processing a lot of information, but bookmark this one. You may need to come back to it.
I started this blog to give the advice I wish someone had given me. This post may challenge some of your core values and I apologize, because that shit is uncomfortable. So when I tell you that the method that is pushed the most when it comes to anxiety disorders is the natural method and not Big Pharma, take a breath and bear with me, baby.
If you don’t believe me, go ahead and google “how to deal with panic attacks.” The first four pages will be everything from breathing techniques to cleansing your aura with crystals. You’ll find antidepressants nowhere in sight.
Put the oil diffuser down, girlfriend, and step away from the door. Mama ain’t trying to take yo’ natural-paleo-detox-super-green-chia-seed-organic-golden-milk. I promise! I just want to give you the advice I wish someone had given me…
1. Give yourself a hippie shit timeline
Girl, you do you. You want to meditate, yogatate, herbitate, go on a fucking walkabout? Go for it. I am a huge proponent of giving that hippie shit a good try. However, when it comes to panic attacks, baby, you don’t want to have an anxiety disorder on your hands.
So if you find that you can’t downward dog and vegan taco your way out of it, please see your GP. Get a good antidepressant and retrain your amygdala tout suite. Don’t let this continue for more than six months. Trust me on this one.
2. You’re not giving up by showing yourself some kindness
Don’t you love how somehow we think we can keep ourselves in check by being heinously cruel? Like, hey, if you don’t tell your panicking self that you are a worthless piece of shit for calling in sick to work, you may never go to work again.
Our lizard brains have translated being kind with ourselves into “letting ourselves go.”
That. Is. Bullshit.
When you are trying to retrain your amygdala, there is no room for bad mental habits. Imagine bringing a frightened and abused puppy home. It’s barking and growling and crying. It’s cold and hungry and wounded. Would you yell at it? Call it names? Say it was a bad, bad, dog? Of course not.
Your amygdala is in abused dog mode. While you may be tempted to call yourself names and express your disappointment and self-hatred, understand that just like yelling at the abused dog, it will only make things worse.
Actively stop and challenge any negative thoughts you are having about yourself. Forgive yourself by understanding a very powerful truth: anxiety is your problem, it’s not your fault.
3. It really is OK to go on an antidepressant
As a recovering member of the all-natural cult, I wish I hadn’t let my panic attacks turn into an anxiety disorder because I thought a temporary antidepressant would destroy my health.
Six years after acupuncture, massage, seed cycling, lunaception, cryotherapy, raw veganic jogging, supplements, gratitude journaling, herbalists, psychics, talk therapy, water therapy, and whatever the fuck else any guru could tell me to try, turns out I just needed a little Prozac for a little bit of time.
4. The Wizard of Doctor Oz
I get it: we live in the world of Dr. Oz. Our girlfriends swear by juicing, and when you search for “how to deal with panic attacks,” you’d swear that turmeric was not only just discovered, but it’s what actually made Jesus walk on water.
We are “proud” to not treat our mental pains. It “means” something about us. It means we are weak, that we “take pills to solve our problems,” and if we give in, it’s just a matter of time before we tell our doctors that we want a full-strength antacids and to just lop one of our diabetic feet off because we want to eat six pounds of bacon for breakfast and let the pills fix it.
God damn, we do not give ourselves enough credit. You can still be a hippie. It’s not a slippery slope. It’s fine.
This subject is one that is near and dear to my cold, dead heart. If you are struggling with panic attacks, I know. I’m you. It can be a long, unbearable process, and there is a lot of information out there. There is a lot of internal and external pressure.
Please don’t give your life away to anxiety or depression because you are afraid of what getting help might mean about you. Please accept that antidepressants work. I know there are a lot of horror stories but there are also millions of people, including myself, for whom they have made a night-and-day difference.
Feel free to argue with me down below. It’s ok, I can take it. I just took a Prozac.