Anxiety and Panic Attacks

  • -

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

First published May 22, 2013

Over the last few weeks and months I’ve seen a big increase though my therapy practise of people suffering anxiety or panic attack.

A lot of people complain of very similar symptoms such as racing heart beat and a feeling on being on edge all of the time among other things.

So what happening to cause people to feel like this?

First of all it will be more than likely start with something internally like negative dialog, which will create a picture in the mind. These two things together then create or start the process of creating a negative and most unwelcome feeling.

So the process starts at a neurological level in the brain.  It could be argued that anxiety itself is its own neurological symptom. After all, anxiety can change neurotransmitter levels in your brain causing them to send unusual signals to the rest of your body that  actually effect all your nervous systems and causes real sensations/symptoms.

The forebrain is the area most affected in people with anxiety disorders. The limbic system, which is involved in storing memories and creating emotions, is also thought to play a central role in processing all anxiety-related information. Both the locus coeruleus and the dorsal raphe project to the septohippocampal circuit, which in turn projects to other areas of the limbic system that mediate anxiety. The hippocampus and amygdala are of particular importance, as they are interconnected and also project to both subcortical and cortical nuclei. The amygdala fires off the fight, flight or freeze reaction in the brain then floods the body with adenine. It is the increased activity of the amygdala that causes the symptoms of anxiety and panic. It acually happens like this freeze, fight or flight.

Normally after each anxiety event, the amygdala resets itself to a normal level. But if we continue to experience anxiety or stress over a long period of time, our amygdala is modified and becomes fixed at a high anxiety level. In other words it is in the on position and needs to be switched off.

So it is a very real problem for some people. I think that a panic attack is anxiety but a much stronger reaction, anxiety that has been allowed to grow and become somewhat out of control. A friend who was a nurse in A&E in a local hospital said that 99% of people admitted to hospital who think they are having a heart attack are actually experiencing a panic attack

Anxiety and panic attacks can be cause by increased stress and inadequate coping mechanisms may contribute to anxiety.

One of the best ways to help yourself is to try deep breathing exercise every day for around 10 – 15 minutes at time.

How to do Deep Breathing Exercises:

  1. Find somewhere comfortable where you will not be disturbed during the exercise, if necessary tell who you live with family etc than you don’t want to be disturbed and to be considerate to your needs.
  2. Lie down or sit in a comfy chair, place your hands on your lower stomach. Breathe in through your nose so that your stomach rises, this mean than you will be breathing from the bottom of the lungs not the top. Hold the breath for a couple of seconds then slowly breathe out.
  3. Repeat these 3 or 4 times then allow your breathing to go back to normal.
  4. Concentrate on different parts of the body allowing these to relax one by one starting with the top of your head and working all the way down to the tips of your toes. Image you are in a wonderfully relaxing a safe place, I like to think of myself lying on a beach sunbathing.
  5. Just allow yourself 10 to 15 minutes of relaxing this way every day making part of your lifestyle. Try not to fall asleep as relaxation is different to sleep so you don’t want to associate relaxing with going to sleep although you may find it hard not too drop off at first.

If you feel you need a little more help then please contact me via the website or the office telephone number. www.blhypnotherapy.co.uk or 024 76362360

I am available for one to one or Skype (adam.cowming) therapy sessions if you can’t get to my office in person.

Regards

Adam


  • -

My Glass Shield

My Glass Shield

First published on March 21, 2013

My Glass Shield

Please note :This post may upset some people who have been affected in their life by suicide.

I’m big believer in sharing my life experience with people.

In my day-to-day therapy sessions I can see anything from client who wish to stop smoking though to less pleasant things, trust me there is not a lot I’ve not heard in my room.

What I believe makes me a good therapist is the ability to step away emotionally when I need to but still have a real understanding and empathy for the client.

I find this is the best way for me as I can see things more clearly and as it should be from a neutral perspective. I do this by having an imaginary  glass shield between me and the client(in my mind) which allows me the see, hear and help the client without getting unconsciously draw in. It is very important not too get to involved and personal with situation or it will cloud judgement and the therapy will not be as successful.

Why?

Well sometime client have had a very upsetting and traumatic event that they want help with so although I want to help them 100% I have to be careful. This is not cold or uncaring but a safety net for me. I can still help and care for the client but from a safe position thus allowing myself and client to process the experience the best they can.

How does it help me?

I going to tell you a true story which happened on Wednesday 07/10/2012. Please note this is NOT a nice subject.

I had just got up at 08:30am and my front door bell rang. Stood at the door was a worried looking man dressed in a high visual tabard and muddy work boots. He asked me “Have you seen Mark” my neighbour from next door. I replied “Not for a few days”.

He said Mark had not turned up for work today and also never rang in which he always had done in the past.  They worked for a local company delivering skips.

He told me he had knocked on the door and there was no answer.

Did I notice anything unusual? I said Mark garage light was on late but as he owned and raced car I thought he was messing around as he normally did when he got home from work. It was normal for him to work late into the evenings some times to prepare the car for the next race meeting.

We agreed we should go over my garden wall all see if we can see anything though the kitchen window, at which point we saw the garage light still on. I agreed to go and take a look in the garage. I knocked, no answer?

I said l will go in, the second I opened the door I was hit by the fumes from a car. I thought this doesn’t smell great. I was right. I told myself to put my “glass shield” up and switch off go into therapy mode, just in case! As I entered the garage there was a plastic sheet over the entrance. I pulled this back and looked around. I saw Mark in the corner of the garage on the floor. He was very still. I couched down and said his name, nothing. I gave him a little shove, again nothing. I checked his neck and wrist for a pulse and notice how cold he was. No pulse.

I was more than aware of his mate now inside the garage door, as he asked “Is he O.K.?” I said I had found him and to call 999 for the ambulance and police. “Is he bad?” I said something like “I want you to be aware you are calling 999 because we have too. Not to help him, he is not going to get any worse and looks very peaceful. There is nothing more we can do for him now” I needed the lad to process the fact that Mark had passed and still call on the phone. I said we should leave and wait outside for the police etc.

Mark had taken his life. The crime scene investigators confirmed this Mark had gassed himself using the car (I think). I never heard the car on the previous night which normally I can, it’s a loud race car?

The police and ambulance arrived within a few minutes and confirmed what we already knew. He had been dead for many hours, maybe 12. Rigour mortis had set in already.

Over the next few hours people came and went and finally the family came to pay their respects and mourn in each other’s arms. I passed on my condolences and went into my house.

Sometime we all need a glass shield and be honest I’m glad I have mine some days!

I’m now checking myself daily for signs of trauma or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), I know it can pop out and bite me on the arse if I ignore it. I am very aware of the signs as I’ve seen it as a therapist many times and have taken training course on the subject I’ve asked the people around me to watch and keep an eye on me. If I see, hear or feel anything I’m not happy with I will be straight over my friend and mentors house and process it using a technique called EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) which I use myself on clients among other very powerful therapy tools.

I know this wasn’t a happy  post but thought it was an important one to write.

If you are suffering from any form of Trauma or PTSD please contact someone and get the help you need.

Thanks

Adam