Manage your anxiety attacks without medication. Take control!
I was born with a CHD called Tetralogy of Fallot, operated on at 5 years old, parents divorced at about 10 years old, and diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation at 23. Anxiety and panic invaded my life.
Feeling how your heart races too over 200 beats per minute while you just sit messes with your head! You feel life going out of you, it sucks!
I went to a psychologist and psychiatrist. I received therapy, medication for a short while but knew that I could not lead a fulfilling life relying on them for the rest of my life.
The guidance and therapy I received helped me a lot and I believe psychologists and psychiatrists are very important. I used their therapy, guidance, and knowledge to forge my own happiness.
My quest for sanity brought me here.
Thoughtarrest is my way of examining and evaluating my thoughts. It is not something that I came up with but thoughtarrest is my term for it. You will agree with me that panic attacks, Generalised Anxiety Disorder(GAD), or plain anxiety can paralyze you.
This thoughtarrerst has not only helped me with my panic attacks but its use and understanding has had a big impact on my life.
The inspiration is from 2 Corinthians 10:5 King James Version (KJV), Bible Gateway:
“and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”
WHY MUST YOU ARREST YOUR PANIC AND ANXIETY THOUGHT?
The Police will arrest someone for a few reasons: To prevent that person from doing more harm, to investigate the person, and to bring that person before a court of law.
Now why can't we do that with our panic and anxiety thoughts!
Just imagine how wonderful it will be if you could arrest your Panic thoughts before they made your life a living hell! Many of us have wasted hours, days, or even months on panic and anxiety thoughts.
Here’s the deal.
Imagine the thought…… You know the normal panic stuff like: I’m having a heart attack, I’m going to faint, Do I have a dreadful disease? Why is there a lump in my throat, is it even a lump? Isn’t it something worse? Is my heart going too fast? Is it going too slow?…..
Did my heart skip a beat, is it in rhythm, when will it go out of rhythm again, what about a stroke, what type of arrhythmia is this, will I be able to handle cardioversion or ablation, can I be cured?
Ok! enough of that, you get my drift.
These type of thoughts are horrible! and they can kill a moment, a day, event or peaceful setting.
Now think how glorious it would be if you could make a thoughtarrest on that panic thought and first investigate it before it makes a mess in your head and life!
4 STEPS BEFORE YOU DO A THOUGHTARREST.
1. Keep on breathing!!
Do not stop breathing because you want to count your heartbeats. Is it just me or do you also hold in your breath and start “feeling” and counting your heartbeats?
With AFIB or other types of arrhythmia, some sort of panic is usually not far away.
It’s enough to deal with AFIB, but panic and anxiety just make things worse.
How fast is it going now, am I going to make it, is it going too fast?
Sometimes the shock of a panic attack is so sudden and paralyzing that we forget to breathe, and then we start to take faster breaths, and then it does not feel enough and then we take even faster gulps of air!
Rather concentrate on taking deep full breaths. If you are laying on your back you must see your stomach going up and down with every breath.
Something that I learned from my grandmother is, sit down, make a cup of Rooibos tea breathe in and relax. Rooibos tea has many “anti-stress” qualities because of it’s high magnesium levels, influence on cortisol levels, no caffeine content, and antioxidant count.
Breathe less and you go into STRESS! panic stress.
2. Don’t fight it accept it!!
I do not say accept it as the truth, but rather bringing it closer to see what this fear is made of, and how bad it is.
My attitude was. OK panic bring it on let’s see what you’ve got. This can be like a light you put on in a room and see that the monster does not exist!
Running away from your anxiety does not make it go away, the contrary may be true. It gets bigger inside your head.
3. Use your Victoryvault.
Build a victory bank or victory vault and remember any victories you had over panic. Even the smallest victories can help you build this victory bank.
Quickly go to that bank and see all the times that you have overcome a panic attack.
Write it down. Sometimes you are so struck by panic and anxiety that you do not even remember that just last month you had a panic attack, and guess what… You did not die or have a heart attack.
Just a week or so ago you got a panic attack but started breathing, went for a walk, talked to somebody and the panic went away.
USE IT! if you get another panic attack.
Tense and then relax all the muscle groups, one by one, you can start from your feet up to your head or the other way around. This can take up to 20 minutes or you could just do a quick 5–10-minute exercise.
How will this help you?
Steps 1–3 can be taken in a matter of seconds. It gives you the opportunity to think about what you are thinking.
Then it’s your chance!
Do a thoughtarrest. ⇒
- Do not deny or suppress the thought.
This step is similar to the, do not fight it step, mentioned previously but with this one, it’s more about investigating or dismantling the thought. Look deep into what you are really fearing in the thought or symptoms you are experiencing.
- Write it down, or talk about it.
When you write down your thought you “capture” it. Write down how bad it is or was. Don’t sugarcoat it! Even if the idea of writing it down scares you, write it down. It not only helps at that moment but also when you reflect on your panic and anxiety later. You may then see it was irrational. Do not skip this step! You will thank me later
- Write down a “better” statement.
If you get thoughts of “I cannot breathe” rather write down “I feel as if I cannot breathe but I am”. Or just write down “I am breathing” although everything inside you yells “I’m not getting in enough air”. The two statements should not be too far from each other.
- Unmask and expose the false thought. Now that you have your panic attack or anxiety thought pinned down on paper you can expose it as false and not real. It may be that you still have the thought of “I cannot breath” or “I’m dying”, “I’m going crazy”, “I’m going to faint” or “I’m having a heart attack”.
- Now you must evaluate them and give yourself the true facts about them!
- You’re still breathing You did not die No! way! I’m not crazy I did not faint — Yes it felt like that but I did not.
- I did not have a heart attack(Although many people have heart attacks and still lead a normal life afterward).
Do not give up hope! Keep on doing a few thoughtarrests and you will see that your panic thoughts start to grow weaker and even go away. Some may be more difficult to arrest but keep at it!
The nature of a panic attack is that it gets you off guard and then you go into anxiety. You need a quick response! Do an immediate thoughtarrest. Get yourself through that first 5 minutes.
Think stronger and anxiety thoughts will get weaker — Janco Vorster.
I find that the Word of God — The Bible gives me the hope and inspiration to go on and helps me perform an arrest on an unruly thought.
There is also two other important habits that help with killing panic and anxiety:
Be in the habit of eating healthy.
Do regular exercise.
I hope and believe that the thoughtarrest technique will help you in fighting panic and anxiety.
Please leave a comment, and share.
Which step are you going to try first?
Which step worked for you?
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Write or type down your thoughts.
I am not a Doctor or health professional and am only speaking out of my own experience and research. Please ask your own doctor, caregiver, or health professional about how to deal with heart disease, AFIB, and stroke.