Help! I am stuck in an Anxiety Spiral
Anxiety is the worst, the bane of my existence. I remember my first panic attack in great detail at the tender age of 5. I hate it, but am grateful at the same time because I am better able to understand others who suffer from it.
Anxiety comes in many forms, some of which come with a diagnosis, other times it can be situational. It is very common for anxiety to rear its ugly head during pregnancy. There are so many hormones coursing through the body causing new chemical reactions that you have never experienced.
This is 100% normal. You are not alone. I Promise!!!!
Most commonly anxiety presents itself in the wee hours of the morning or when we are trying to fall asleep. It is when out rationale mind has already gone to bed for the night and it is harder think clearly. During this time, you may pick up your phone to consult Dr. Google, text friends or go down scary Facebook rabbit holes of conspiracy theory. Once doing these things, your heart moves into your throat, your mind start to race uncontrollably, cold sweats and nausea might even seep in. This is what I consider to be an anxiety spiral. Physical symptoms can include: nausea, diarrhea, racing heart, possible chest pain, headache, severe sweating and tears.
I want to clarify that I am not a licensed therapist and if you feel that your anxiety is disrupting your everyday life, please contact your OB or therapists office asap.
Here are some tools I have learned throughout many sessions of therapy that have helped me to take back control.
Prepare your mind for rest. Don't use electronics for at least 1 hour before you plan on going to sleep. It takes time for our brains to shut down, we can assist with that by taking away outside stimulus.
A hot shower or bath has always helped me to prepare for bed, sometimes I will add lavender oil or calm essential oil blend to the water.
Meditate before bed, there are many different meditation methods out there that talk you through breath and releasing of tension. I like to focus on my specific muscles one at a time, tensing them up as hard as I can and then completely releasing. This has also worked for me when I have been in the middle of a full blown panic attack.
If you have concerns, contact 1 maybe 2 trusted sources and then trust your own gut. There are so many opinions in the world today, anyone could go insane trying to understand them all and do the perfect thing 100% of the time. I ask my clients all of the time, "What is your gut telling you?" Trust your instincts and what is right for your body and your child.
Recognize you are not perfect, give yourself some grace
Find a physical activity that you can do each day, this will aid in endorphins being released in your body and letting go of excess mental energy.
Focus on what you can control. Worrying and obsessing about things out of your control always leads to a spiral. It is important to acknowledge your emotions and how you feel about circumstances that may be out of your control, but once you have felt and processed said circumstance, let go of the control.
If possible hire a doula to be a part of your birth team. This can take a lot of anxiety out of the picture. You have a trusted source that can provide you with unbiased evidence based research.
These are just some of the tools and techniques that I recommend to help avoid the anxiety spiral. As I said before, I am not a medical professional and anything that I have said does not supersede medical advice. If you feel that anxiety is affecting your every day life, talk to your doctor. I have been on medication for anxiety since I was 25 and for all of my pregnancies, there is no shame in it and it made me a better mother and partner.
What are some tools or techniques that have helped you?