Anxiety and Panic attacks

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, it can be mild or so severe it is life limiting.

We all experience it, waiting for an interview, when that results envelope arrives, before a big date, and this is completely normal.

However those feelings can become overwhelming to a point where we find it difficult to control our worries and fears, they become all consuming and anxiety starts controlling  our lives.

It can then become a major symptom of conditions, such as:

panic disorder
phobias – such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
social anxiety disorder (social phobia)

So what makes us feel anxious?

As an animal we have evolved over time, however our inbuilt chemical processing has remained the same.

We had ancestors who had to survive when they were faced with physical dangers and then chemical reactions occurred within them activating a built in survival mechanism, (fight or flight),  hormones were released giving them extra resources to save their lives. So when attacked by a predator, flight or flight kicked in to protect them.

We don’t need to fight a predator or run for our lives now, however we still have our survival mechanism and it is busy helping and hindering.
Have you ever had an adrenaline rush that feeling of excitement and trepidation, butterflies in your stomach before an exciting event? Thats our survival response taking affect.

When we were faced with physical danger on a daily basis it was essential. However these days the majority of our dangers are psychological and we can’t always deal with them immediately. So when our Fight and flight is switched on it stays on. The longer that response remains active, the more draining it can become, physically and emotionally.

Suppose you’re waiting for a date, you are eagerly anticipating the evening ahead, those butterflies are engaged and working, but the date is late. The longer you wait the more those butterflies change to a churning, a dread.

Then starts the inner voice, why haven’t they arrived? Has something bad happened? Are they safe? Was is a wind up? You try calling, no reply. You wait for a couple of hours but then decide to call it a day and go home.

But the worry remains, what is wrong? Are they ok? Am I ok? Is it a problem with them? Is it a problem with me?

And all the time those chemical reactions are woking over time

Physically, your heart is beating wildly, you are stunned, you are full of self doubt but anger is kicking in too but you can’t run away from your inner voice.

You are left with a feeling of apprehension (anxiety). Your fight or flight response remains activated, hormones are released and you stay on high alert. Everything around you becomes a potential threat.

For the next few days you are jumpy and agitated. Blood and resources are diverted from your digestive system, you don’t eat. Adrenalin is pumping,  you don’t sleep.

When confronted with threats like lions or tigers, danger was immediate and generally passed quickly. Survival mode was activated, did it’s job and then deactivated.
These days, Fight or Flight doesn’t always turn off and causes physical reactions like sweating, increased heart rate, nausea, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, panic and many more, which we now associate with anxiety.

We see the world as a fearful place and are stuck in “survival mode” on high alert and anxious.

It is not always easy to deal with circumstances as they arise, so imagine each of life’s curve balls, blips and traumas as pebbles and rocks thrown in a rucksack to be dealt with another day. If we keep adding more, over time the rucksack gets heavier until one day, it’s too heavy to carry any longer, our Fight or Flight is constantly engaged, we need help.

Anxiety can seem to come from nowhere, we don’t understand why, but we may have held on to so many life events, traumas and curve balls that something seemingly insignificant can tip us over the edge. What we need is a way to lighten our load.

That’s where hypnotherapy can help, by working with you to find coping strategies, to help you lighten your load, remove some of those rocks in your rucksack enabling you to live your life and reach your goals.

When I contacted Nicki, I could hardly get out of the house. My anxiety was ruling my life and I did not know why. Even doing the weekly shop on my own started my heart racing. My family were great they came with me, but when faced with going alone I felt physically sick and my heart pounded so much I thought it would come out of my chest. Nicki gave me a place to talk, open up and share some of my deepest fears, she helped me understand myself and the reason I felt the way I did, she worked with me to take some control and get balance into my life. She was gentle, kind and understanding allowing me to go at my pace. Life is so much better now, I am actually living it. I can’t thank her enough. CR - Norwich

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