May is Mental Health Awareness month, I am so grateful that mental health awareness is becoming so mainstream. This is something that should be talked about openly and often. I have lost friends and family members due to mental health issues. I have close friends and family member that deal with different mental health issues, and I myself have dealt with bouts of depression, anxious feelings and panic attacks. Thankfully they have been few and fleeting and not of the clinical nature.
About 5 years ago I started having panic attacks. I’m not sure why they started. At the time I had a lot of things going on, it was after my car accident, I was traveling a lot and I was trying to figure out who I was. Whatever the reason, they started and they were terrifying.
The first time I had one thankfully I was with a friend, I was gasping for air and not understanding at all what was happening. He looked at me and asked what he could do and all I could manage to say was “lime”. He grabbed the lime oil and got it on my hand. Within a few minutes I was able to breathe in enough to calm my limbic system down and breathe.
I had watched my mom have panic attacks several times growing up. Each time resulted in her ending up in the ER for help. Each time it was hours of getting her the right help and then waiting for the concoction to kick in and then hours of recovery from the “fix”. Then days for me to get my mom back.
I’m so thankful for the doctors that helped my mom. It might be sad to say but I’m thankful that I was able to see that growing up so that when it happened to me, after I was safe and calm, I understood what had happened. Mom I’m so sorry that you had to go through that and grateful that your experience was able to help me.
I’m also grateful that I have many options available to me to get help. What I have found that works for me quickly, and effectively is:
Essential oil right away – My family knows to get Breathe oil or any citrus oil. (you will have to figure out your “happy place” oil) They put a drop on my hand and slowly lift my hand toward my face. Do not get in a person’s face if they are having a panic attack this will only freak them out more. The more control you can give them over their own situation the better.
Calm music, Guided meditations, or affirmations that you know work for you. – You can prep your family to know what helps you the most. Talk about this when life is good. Let your friends and family know how to help you through the attack. You can even write up a formal plan and have your emergency kit in a place that is easily accessible. If you are out, make sure that you have a small emergency kit in your bag/purse.
I have found that using these methods I’ve been able to gain control in just a few minutes. I am so thankful for the love and support of my friends and family. I’m also thankful that this subject is no longer taboo at my house and in my circle. I’m also thankful that if the methods above don’t work for any reason the rest of the plan is put in place. If I’m not able to calm down in a timely manner then we will head to the nearest ER and get professional help.
I hope that you find this information helpful. There are MANY resources available to you, here are a few of my favorites:
- Essential oils of course! – I carry them with me everywhere. Figure out your “happy place” oils. If you need help with this feel free to contact me and we will do a “sampling”. Kind of like a wine tasting but for your nose.
- Insight Timer – Best app for guided meditations
- Lots of water and Exercise
- Counseling – I think everyone should do counseling at some point in their life. It is so incredibly helpful.
- Other peoples blogs – here is one written by a good friend of mine
- Self help books: Big Magic, You are a Badass, Girl Wash Your Face, Girl Stop Apologizing, Braving the Wilderness, Loving What is. I know that there are a bunch more but these are a good start.
Whatever method you choose to help with your mental health, please know that there is no shame in reaching out for help. This is definitely a road that should not be traveled alone. Please talk about it with friends and family, you might be surprised by how many people not only want to help but might need your help in return.