Self

What Are Anxiety Disorders or Panic Attacks?

 

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I write a lot about anxiety and panic attacks.  It occurred to me that few people may know what the definitions and symptoms are. Even definitions since I was first diagnosed have changed.  While the wheel in mental health has not been reinvented it has been refined.  It evolves, and continues to evolve as modern medicine makes new discoveries about the brain.

Anxiety Disorder is a constant, excessive and nonstop worry or worries that occur almost all day, every day.  It will interfere with you day to day life.  Physically you can experience symptoms such as stomach aches, vomiting, feeling like you are going to throw up, sore muscles, tiredness, anger, dizziness and many more.

Anxiety Disorder can include panic disorder/panic attacks,  agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, and other forms of anxiety.  Anxiety has many related disorders and can coexist with other mental and physical illnesses.

Everyone experiences anxiety right?  Just tough it out, right?  Wrong, any type of Anxiety Disorder when experienced is more persistent,overwhelming and debilitating than normally experienced anxiety.  It interferes with you daily life. You get up to leave a crowded theater even when you really want to see the show.  You can’t fall asleep no matter how tired you are.  You ruminate on certain or all worries to the point of inaction no matter how remote or silly they seem to others. You have physical ailments that begin to appear and cannot be resolved by normal medications. You begin to avoid places because you start to relate them to feeling awful.

The cause of anxiety is unknown.  It can be a variety of factors from biological, genetic, experiences, environment and more.  For me, I believe that it was a combination.  Panic Attacks, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and more run in my family.  While my paternal grandmother was not formally diagnosed I believe she had it.  My father was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.  I was diagnosed with Panic Disorder and others, and my son was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder. Then I believe the way I was raised also contributed to my anxiety as it added stress to an already stressful life.

I made a vow to raise my son differently and I did.  To watch him get it and go through it nearly killed me and triggered my own anxiety again.  It was devastating to me.  “What did I do?”, I thought. What didn’t I do?  The thing is nothing I could have done, would have prevented my son from getting it due to our genetic predisposition.  What I can effect is how his treatment and support is.  How he handles what his disorder is doing to him.  That’s because Anxiety is a disorder/disease just like cancer, or diabetes.  Now before you go off telling me cancer etc are different, understand that I say this because many people believe that mental illness is a character flaw and not a medical condition. We should be able to think it away.  There are a few that can. Most people need therapy and lifestyle changes.  Some also need those and medicine.

Anxiety effects every relationship you have.  It effects every opportunity that comes your way.  For me, I lost over four years of my life that I can’t get back.  You need all the support you can get.  Overcoming your own mind is one of the most difficult things a person can do.

Then there is the fear of what other people think.  Will they think that I am crazy?  Will  they stop wanting to be around me?  What if I am discriminated against. Recently in the news a member of the ground crew in Seattle stole a small jet, went on a joy ride and crashed it.  On several different news channels they were asking if ground crews were screened for mental illness.  It made my heart sink.  First, we have no idea if this man had mental illnesses or not.  So why speculate.  Second most people with mental illness do not harm themselves, fewer harm others. There are already some things that those with mental illness cannot do.  One of my greatest fears is the information age and mental illness.  Where someone can with the touch of a button get your medical history and use it to disqualify you from a job or community.

How do you treat anxiety?  It really depends on the individual.  Each person must have their own type of treatment.  Which is how mental illness differs from other illnesses of the body.  One of the more successful treatments is CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This type of therapy involves changing your thinking and habits to manage your anxiety.  In addition, medication can be prescribed to help you control and minimize your anxiety. What medication and how much depends on each person. It’s important that you maintain contact with your medical providers to ensure you get the best care possible.

I myself have been on so many medications.  Some worked better than others. Some side effects are worse or better. Only one medicine did not work for me.  I’ve been changed around many times.  Sometimes, I can’t keep track of everything I’ve been on. This is the hardest part of a disorder.  Finding the right combo of drugs to use.  If you are at this stage please keep the faith.  It may take an extended period of time to find the right combo of medication.  Then again, you may not even need meds or you can get it right on the first dose!

Panic Attacks are acute, intense instances of fear.  They can last for a few seconds to a few hours.  The often can come out of the blue, but some also are triggered by circumstances.  The fear is so intense that it can cause you to flee the area, feel like you are having a heart attack or a break down. You feel as if your body and mind operate separately. The biggest part of these attacks are learning to regain control of you body again.  It involves relaxation, deep breathing and other techniques to bring down the intensity of the reaction.  Short lasting medications are also used for certain patients to take the edge off the attack.

For more information or diagnosis, please contact your doctor for a referral to a mental health professional.  You can also check out the website of The Anxiety and Depression Association of America at http://www.adaa.org, Web MD, or NAMI The National Alliance on Mental Illness at http://www.NAMI.org .

This article is an opinion piece and not to be used for self diagnosis or in place of advice from a medical professional.

 

 

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5 Ways to Help the Environment

Helping the environment.  Doing what is right for the environment is such a political act these days.  Should it be? No one wants to drink tainted water, or breathe polluted air. So here are some ideas to do your part to help the environment survive just a little bit longer.

  1. Recycle those batteries!  Batteries contain heavy metals that can leach from the batteries and pollute the water supply.
  2. Shut off the water when you brush your teeth.  Some people let the water run.  Turn it off.  You can save gallons of water a day.
  3. Use natural personal care products when possible.  Many personal care products use ingredients that are harmful to the planet and the other life forms that live here.  Try to use natural ingredients if ever possible.
  4. Turn off the lights! Just leaving the lights on releases a large amount of greenhouse gases.  If you don’t need it, turn it off.
  5. Buy local. Buying local not only supports jobs, but it can also cut down on many pollutants.  Gas, electricity, and packing things to ship can not only cost money but add to environmental pollutants.  Learning to buy local saves on many fronts.

I hope these short ideas help you on your quest to be a better consumer and resident environmentalist.

Self

5 Self Care Ideas

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Self care is something I really struggle with.  There is too much to do, and not enough time to get things done. Of course, I always think that I am the only one that can do these tasks.  Problem is, I am often the only one.  I don’t deal with stress well.  I feel it in my head, shoulders, and stomach.  Now, due to prolonged stress I even feel it in my legs.  That’s a new one.  So I am working on relaxing as much as I can.  Here are a few things that I do to relax.

  1. Take a deep breath.  I take 5 minutes, usually in the car, where I turn off all media and take deep breaths to reset.  Try it when you are waiting in your car.
  2. Journal.  I have kept a journal since I was 10.  Need some help starting one?  Check out my monthly journal prompts.  A journal can be done in anything.  You can use a journal, plain notebook, loose paper, or a computer.
  3. Go to a rolfer.  Rolfing has really helped me with both pain and stress.  Rolfing works by manipulating the connecting tissue of the body.  After a session I always stand a bit taller.
  4. Call a friend, call your mother, call someone and let it out.  If that isn’t your thing, then just call to catch up.  I will get your mind off it.
  5. Have a short stay somewhere. Go for a night or two to a hotel.  Spend some time alone.  You need it.

What are ways you like to take care of yourself?

Home

Things to Declutter

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Here are 5 things to declutter this month.  Why not 10 you say?  Normally I will do 10, but August is a busy month for everyone.  I usually do this post at the beginning of the month.  So here is the condensed version.

  1. Go through all your child’s papers from last year.
  2. Go through school supplies you already have.  Should any be tossed or replenished?
  3. Try on fall clothing.  What is too small, too worn?
  4. Check you tote bags and backpacks for signs of wear.  What can you get rid of?
  5. Go through all the items you have collect this summer.  What do you keep or get rid of?

There may only be five items but they do involve some work.  If you have children like I do, I think of the year in terms of the academic calendar and not the normal one.  So get ready to work!  If it’s any consolation, I have to collect bugs with my child for a Science class.  Ugh.

Journaling

Journaling Prompts for August

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1. Back to school ads are in session.  What do you think when you see them?

2. As a journaler what school supplies do you buy when August hits?

3. Did you enjoy going back to school when you were in mandatory schooling?

4. What would you like to change about your mandatory education (K-12)?

5. What skills should schools teach that you don’t think they teach now?  What classes should be taught or be discontinued?

6. The last days of summer are here.  What would you like to get done before fall?

7. What are you looking forward to in the last half of the year?

8. How did this summer vary, if any, from previous summers?

9. What is your first hint your fall is starting?  Is it visual, planned or a surprise?

10. Write you wake up routine?  What is your bed time routine?

Home · Self

Life Update

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Life happens.  I think my life is happening a little too much at the moment.  I had to take some time off due to events.  I can’t seem to catch a break or relax enough.  Right now I do what needs to be done, then I just can’t do anymore.  I just listen to music or podcasts.  It’s all I have energy for.

My son is still having problems.  School is a month away.  Right now he is in day treatment.  He absolutely hates it.  He goes for three hours a day.  Many of the kids in treatment with him are physically violent or swear and use every manner of bad language.  It is common to hear a 7 year old scream at the top of his lungs “F*ck You, you stupid c*nt.” Wonderful.  My son has Sensory Processing Disorder and High Functioning Autism.  He hates this.  He also says he is hit for no reason.  I know he is telling the truth.  Unfortunately, if the therapists don’t see it, they can do nothing.

I hate to send him here.  However, there is no other place to go.  If I could find a therapist willing to see my son several times a week I would.  There isn’t anyone like that.  Therapists have long waiting lists.

I have even started to have my own panic attacks. I have had 3 so far.  I will definitely need my own medication adjusted.  I’ve avoided a few places because of the attacks which I shouldn’t do.  Bad example for my son.

On a happier note, my family has acquired two new members. We adopted two 12 week old kittens, brothers, from a local pet rescue.  One is a tuxedo cat (black and white) named May.  The other is a grey/brown striped Tabby named Winter.  They were for my son as a way to help distract him from his depression and anxiety.  He was so thrilled to get them.  Check out my Instagram for photos.

I get the joy of cleaning the litter box and feeding them. They are very curious about everything.  Just for the record, I am allergic to cats. I have 5 air filters going all the time.  So far I am getting by.

I also made some zucchini muffins and banana cake.  Check out the blog for recipes.

We have also had issues with insurance. They are giving us the run around on my son’s treatment. I’m sure some random doctor in another state who has never met my son is qualified to decide what treatment he should receive and what he should not.  My son right now is in a day treatment program.  This is the only one we could get him into.  Some programs have three year waiting lists.  We could not wait any longer than a few days.  My son needed therapy.  So he has been going to this program Monday thru Friday for three hours.  He absolutely hates it.

I knew he would.  When I was filling out the paperwork for it, they had two pages on parole officers, and court ordered treatment.  I didn’t feel this was right for my son.  My son has anxiety and depression.   He is not a juvenile delinquent. He is with the 12 and under group.  However these kids are not like the kids he was with in his stabilization places. As stated in the first paragraph, it’s not a good environment.

Starting this month insurance will only pay for three days.  My husband and I can pay for one, and he will have one day off.  I am hoping he can survive being back at school full time.  He has expressed anxiety.  I can only hope for the best.

Until next time.

Clothing

10 Fashion Terms to Know

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Abraded Yarn: A continuous filament of man made yarn which has been rubbed to raise fuzz which increases bulk.  Then the yarn is twisted into two-ply.

Two-ply yarn: A yarn made by combining two lightly twisted single yarns into one yarn. This makes the yarn stronger and durable.

Baby Bunting: An infant’s outdoor sack that has a zipper in front with a hood.

Barathea: A fabric with a pebbled texture that was originally done in silk.  Generally used for ties it can now come in a variety of fabrics types.

Chemise: A linen garment worn next to the skin.

Crochet: A method of making a garment, lace or fabric with one hooked needle by machine or hand.

Down: Material used to pad winter jackets, coats, and blankets for warmth.  Down is from the fluffy undercoat of geese and ducks.

Dummy: Called a dressmakers dummy, is a form of the human body on which cloth is draped before construction.

Gauze: A net like fabric used for costumes or trim and can be crinkled.  Used for a variety of garment constructions. Made of a variety of fibers.

Lorgnette: A pair of eyeglasses attached to a handle used for seeing detail or distance.

Check out the blog next month for more fashion terms.