While I would love to tell you that PTSD and depression are not a part of my everyday world, I would be lying. They very much are a part of my daily world and will always be a part of it to some degree. Understanding my PTSD and depression has helped me to become the person I am today.
You can find posts about my journey here.
After 8+ years of battling PTSD and a crippling depression, I stopped making excuses and I did the self-work that I needed to do, ultimately throwing myself into Post Traumatic Growth (PTG). While therapy and EMDR were instrumental in my recovery, they were only a small portion of what I did to get myself where I am today and to keep me here.
If you or someone you know experience anxiety/panic attacks, there are things you can do to help pull you out of them quicker. Below are coping strategies and distractions that can help with attacks.
Coping strategies are paramount to help bring you out of an anxiety or panic attack. They are not the same thing as thing as a distraction. Distractions are things that distract you but do not help you to heal.
Examples of coping strategies…
*Self Guided modified EMDR
*Listening to music or sounds
*Weighted Lap Pads
Examples of Distractions…
*Chomping on frozen things (ice cubes)
*Splashing your face with ice cold water
*Watching a Movie or TV Show
*Reading a Book
Below are some examples of my favorite coping strategies.
EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Tapping is a form of psychological acupressure. The video below is the best demonstration I have found that shows the EFT Tapping techniques.
I personally do not say anything like what is said in the video. Instead, I say whatever my body needs to hear at that moment in time. The key is to say them in a positive form. No using the words “No”, “Not”, etc.
I tell myself the following…
- I am happy
- I am in control
- I am whole
- I am safe
- I am PTSD free
- I am anxiety free
The list goes on and on and varies depending on what I am Tapping for at that moment.
Yes, you will feel like an idiot doing this. You also look like an idiot doing this. But I promise it works! I do not personally do this in public because I do not relish looking like an idiot.
If you are in public and need to Tap, you can do this by tapping the outside of the palm at the “meater/fleshier” part right where your wrist and hand meet. It is not as effective as doing the full tap, but it will help get you through the situation with more of your dignity in tack.
I listen to Weightless by Marconi Union when I feel my anxiety starting to rise. It has been shown to help reduce anxiety by 65%.
Here is more about the study that was done on Weightless and also a playlist with other music/sounds known to also help with anxiety.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy treatment that was originally designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories.
This is to be used only to ground you in the present. I do NOT recommend doing EMDR for trauma-related issues without a trauma-based trained therapist.
What I tell myself when I am doing a modified version of EMDR is as follows…
- On a scale of 1-10, my anxiety is an (insert #<)li>
- I am safe right now.
- I am doing (insert XYZ) at the moment to calm myself.
- I got this and am in control of my life.
- I am 100% relaxed.
- I begin to list positive things in my life. I can breathe, I can see, I can hear, I can touch, I can eat on my own, I can move my head, feet, arms, legs, waist. I have food in my fridge, my freezer, my pantry. I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, etc
- I force myself to smirk, then smile, then chuckle, then laugh.
I AM NOT AFFILIATED WITH ANY OF THE LINKS LISTED ABOVE NOR AM I THERAPIST OF ANY FORM. I am only listing what has helped me in my own healing of PTSD. Please know that you are doing these at your own risk. I am not liable for any negative outcomes of any kind.