Panic relief

Sunday April 28 2024.

Anxiety! Panic! a cruel dictator that often rule and ruin my life. Here are my coping strategies:

  1. Understand and avoid short-term triggers. Mine include (TW) any mention of the heart, heartrate, pulse, or diseases related to the blood or heart.

  2. Understand and avoid medium-term causes. For me this includes more than 1 cup of coffee per day, and skipping SSRI medication.

  3. Recognize panic symptoms. For me are psychosomatic chest pain (random pain spikes, dull chest aches) and shortness of breath and unsatisfying breaths. Your mind can exaggerate pain and only notice pain near your area of concern (e.g. chest). Another one is jaw pain in the TMJ muscle from grinding or clenching, which may occur unconsciously during anxious sleep. Since often occur to me at night, I become acutely aware no urgent care center is open.

  4. Relax muscles and perform breathing exercises. The shortness of breath often comes from unconscious tension in the chest, so relax your chest. A normal unstrained breath should raise and lower the stomach, not the chest. My preferred exercise is 4 seconds each on in/hold/out/hold. Try listening to a youtube video guide or asmr. For nighttime clenching, consider a mouth guard.

  5. In last resort, immediate relief drugs. The main one are alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), and diazepam (Valium). I have heard of beta blockers but they seem less relevant.

  6. Accept precarity of life and appreciate its absurd beauty. If you can read this, you already made it far: you are human, you are alive and with vision or e-reader and have internet access. Life owes us nothing, and we can’t obsess over every possible misfortune or else lose the human spirit.