Anxiety …

Went to the dentist for my regular cleaning and to have my night-guard adjusted today. I was halfway through the procedure when I realized I had zero anxiety. It’s a giant milestone for me!! I’m so happy.

Since finishing cancer treatment I have had a lot of issues with scheduled appointments. Going to see the doctor (even for something minor) puts me into a tizzy. Even something as simple as a hair appointment would leave me restless, stressed out and sometimes cause me to have a panic attack.

screen-capture-2Every once in a blue moon I will have to take an Ativan before the night of my appointment but for the most part – since I figured out this trigger – I have been able to deal with my Appointment Anxiety much better.

I realized it was residual anxiety from hundreds of stressful and sometimes painful appointments I did during cancer treatment. So now before I have any appointment I make sure to acknowledge my anxiety and then I work extra hard at being kind to myself.

I’ve been working on recognizing the symptoms of a panic attack – and I have various tools in my tool kit that I pull out and use to calm myself before it turns into a full-blown attack.

One of the big things I noticed about myself before a panic attack hits is that I am really down on myself. I’ll start saying really terrible things about myself like “I’m fat” or “I’m ugly”. I do NOT think any of those things about myself and I have come to realize that it’s a warning sign of panic starting to swirl up inside my head.

There’s a few things I can do to stop my panic before it starts. Most important for me is to say out loud to someone “I think I am having a panic attack.” For whatever reason it calms me to verbally acknowledge what’s happening.

I do the same when I’m having a hot-flash. Saying it out-loud to someone makes the hot-flash less intense.  🙂

If that doesn’t work – I stop what I’m doing and do jumping jacks. I learned this trick from an episode of Orange is The New Black!!
#1. It makes me laugh (always good)
#2. It makes me breath in good healthy oxygen

Anyway … I teared up a little today in the dentists chair. Isn’t it awesome to notice and acknowledge cosmic shifts like this in ourselves.  🙂

What are your tricks for dealing with anxiety/panic attacks?


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6 Responses to Anxiety …

  1. Cécile says:

    Hi ! Sarah, i love your book, and your life in general. I would like to how many years are you vegan ?

    Thank you.

    Cécile, from montréal

    • Sarah says:

      I’ve been vegetarian since birth and vegan since I was 25. I’m 46 now.

      • Cécile says:

        The WORST anxiety i ever had is in the plane…! and when I go to the dentist I feel the same tensed moment. Once I travelled to go to france and had a PANIC attack, really intense. I called the hostess to ask her painkiller to rest until the landing. She looked at me with dull expression and told me : do you think I’m a nurse ??? We are not in a hospital here ! I was so anxious (I had my baby son sleeping on my knees, and my husband really relax next to me) and almost cry, I told her that I felt nauseus too. She finally looked undestanding and told me that something could help me and disappeared. Then she came back with… ginger ale… ! I was really upset. She told me that it works sometimes on customers who feel nauseus… Believe it or not but it worked ! Anxiety and nauseus had disappeared. I had two ginger ales with much of ice and didn’t eat at all ! Thank you nurse… ehhh hostess, sorry !

  2. Stacey Jennings says:

    Meditation saved my life. I was having crippling panic attacks. Several a day. I could barely function. I had been meditating on and off for years but at this point I took off to a week long silent retreat in California. Worked wonders. I also learned a valuable lesson… Good feelings are no different than bad ones. They’re all just feelings and temporary. Realizing that has made a massive difference.

    Anxiety attacks are the worst.

    And I related to you ativan struggles. I had a bitch of a time coming off. No more of that.

    • Sarah says:

      I had a hard time getting off ativan as well… Ugh. The worst. But luckily I find I can take it occasionally without feeling withdrawal.

  3. Bev says:

    Maybe I’m a little late to add in here. I was agoraphobic for a while suffering with anxiety and panic attacks but I found a great guy who had a panic attack program online /CDs (ha CDs!) his website was ilovelpanicattacks . Com and even his free little videos were great. This and a 8 week mindfulness course change my life forever! Love your book and blog – also changed my life forever!

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