Day 11 – Panicking

In class today I got a bit panicky. I tried hard to control it, through distraction and deep breathing, to no avail.

I had to leave class to attempt to calm myself down, but the whole reason I got anxious was because I was struggling with an assignment, and missing more class made me panic even more. Sitting in class would have done no good either; when I start to panic my mind goes blank and sends me into an even deeper panic. And deep breathing didn’t help; I was wearing high waisted tights which made diaphragmatic breathing next to impossible. I eventually had to take a Valium in order to be able to return to class. It was the first time I couldn’t calm myself without medication in 13 days.

I was a little disappointed in myself; I had thought I was doing so well. But we all have little setbacks, the key is to not let it discourage us so much that we give up trying (and to not wear tight clothes in stressful situations).

At least I tried; one month ago I would have just let the panic have at me, and the day would have been a total write off.

I’ve been reading about the amygdala, the part of the brain that triggers emotional reactions based on conditioned emotional responses. So, when we panic, it is because our amygdala told us to, sometimes even before we realise we are in danger. And in people who have experienced trauma, it often tells us to panic even when there is no real danger.

I haven’t got any further in my research yet, but surely responses that have been learned can be learned anew. I don’t want to just control my anxiety when it occurs, I want to stop it from even occurring inappropriately.

I’m going to find a way to tape over what my amygdala has recorded. I’ve played that program enough. It’s become boring to me.

2 thoughts on “Day 11 – Panicking

  1. I always try to deal with the anxiety rationally and it never seems to help much at all. I want to be able to “stop it from even occurring inappropriately” so badly.

    • I still get anxious a lot. I need to practice mindfulness more. We’ll get there if we keep trying. A friend on facebook posted “Slow progress is better than no progress”. I think of this all the time, when I get impatient with myself.

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