UNDERSTANDING ANXIETY AND PANIC ATTACKS
Men do you or do you know someone who struggles with anxiety?
At some point in their lives, on average:
- 1 out of 8 men will have depression.
- 1 out of 5 will have anxiety.
Nearly 9%, or 14 million men in the United States feel anxious or depressed daily.
Only half of the men who battle anxiety or depression seek help while most turn to alcohol or drugs to deal with it.
Anxiety disorders are strongly related to suicide attempts.
Right here in America there are 132 suicides a day and men’s suicide rates are 3.5 times higher than women.
Middle aged white men account for almost 70% of all suicides.
Men this is scary and I want you to know you are not alone. Millions of men battle anxiety daily, and I was one of them. It is something most men do not talk about for fear of feeling weak, but something that has to be addressed.
I want you to live a life full of power, joy, fulfillment, and success. An Empowered life. And to do that if you are battling anxiety you must do 1 of 2 things. You either have to completely get rid of anxiety, which you can do, or you must learn how to decrease it’s death grip over your life so you can truly live again.
And you do this by having a more thorough understand and knowledge of what anxiety is.
Once you uncover how panic “works” you simply can’t get caught up in it to the same degree again. “Knowledge is the antidote to fear.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson.
PROTECTION - Anxiety helps protect us from danger by stimulating our mind and body to take ACTION very quickly
PREPARATION - Anxiety can give us extra energy and focus our minds to deal with difficult demands and challenges - (performers often say that they would worry if they DIDN’T feel anxious before going on stage because anxiety helps them remember their lines.)
MOTIVATION - Anxiety can alert us to things in our life that we would be better to change - we may work too much or follow an unhealthy lifestyle. Our goal isn’t to eliminate anxiety altogether - but to know how to deal with it when it arises.
Panic is actually a fearful REACTION to frightening but harmless symptoms that can arise from even a MODERATE amount of stress. Of course it seems desirable to have less stress but keep in mind that this book WILL help you deal with panic so that WILL reduce the amount of stress you feel.
Human beings evolved with a protective mechanism called the ‘fight or flight response’. Basically - if we are confronted with any real or perceived threat or danger our body releases certain natural chemicals (such as Adrenaline and Cortisol) which alter various nervous functions, giving our body a burst of energy and strength so that we are better able to ‘fight’ or ‘flee’. This surge of ‘friendly’ adrenaline results in what could be described as ‘anxious feelings’ - our nerves feel ‘on edge’ and our mind is in a ‘worried state’ ready for action
Mind and body set on high alert watching out for signs of danger. = Sense of danger, impending doom, Agitation - uneasiness - can’t relax
Rapid breathing helps to divert blood to vital organs Dizziness - = Lightheadedness - Hyperventilation
‘Tunnel Vision’ - Peripheral vision is diminished so that sight is centrally focused (on any danger) Pupils of the eyes widen to let in more light. Eye strain - = Fear of going blind Blurred vision / spots in front of eyes - Sensitivity to light Feelings of unreality
Adrenaline increases heart rate sending blood to major muscle groups - to prepare for action. = Rapid heart beat - Palpitations - Flutters - Feeling of ‘skipped’ or ‘missed’ beats. Tight chest - Choking sensation
Increase in sweat so that the body does not overheat. = Sweating (even in cold) Hot and cold flushes
Muscles tense to prepare you for a quick departure and to make the body more resilient to attack. = Muscle tension - Shaking Stiffness Trembling - ‘ Jelly legs’ - Twitching Even severe pain at time
Blood vessels to skin constricted reducing any potential blood loss especially in hands and feet. = Cold clammy hands - ‘Pins and needles’ - Tingling sensations or numbness in hands and feet
Stomach produces extra acid and digestive juices. = Frequently needing toilet Nausea ‘Butterflies’ Churning stomach Acidity Indigestion - Diarrhea
Even though a panic attack can feel terrifying it can NOT cause you any ‘actual’ harm Panic attacks can produce some of the most terrifying sensations imaginable but they cannot cause you any actual physical or mental harm. No matter how extreme the sensations become you are ACTUALLY in no danger in the slightest. It just SEEMS like it.
OK.. so that’s what happens when we have a panic attack, but why do we have REPEATED attacks?!!
It is fear of the panic itself that leads to further attacks.. If we worry about the consequences of having further panic attacks this added fear produces a continuous feeling of underlying anxiety or stress. “What if the next attack is worse than the last one..?!” “what if I collapse..?!” “what if..?” This worry causes a constant low level of adrenaline which keeps the body on high alert which means the fight or flight response is triggered more easily. This is called ’ANTICIPATORY ANXIETY’ and the reason for multiple anxiety attacks.
Understanding what happens to the body during the dreaded adrenaline filled fight or flight anxiety attack helped me to calm down and come back to reality and know that it will pass and that I was going to be okay. The more you understand what anxiety is then the more power you will have over it.
I will post more on anxiety and ways to calm and overcome it upcoming blogs. Until then, you got this, I believe in you, and you are stronger than failure.
You are Empowered,