From Tracie: Slow Breaths

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Slow Breaths

It starts in my chest. A slight pressure. My heartbeats feel heavier, louder, almost painful.

"Take a deep breath, slowly" I tell myself, "And another. And another." I count to ten with each breath.

The pressure subsides. I feel my heartbeats return to normal.

I'm overcoming this anxiety one breath at a time.

But it leaves me wounded for the rest of the day, and sometimes longer.

A little, unrelated thing happens, and I feel those heavy heartbeats return.

"Take a deep breath....Do it!" Now I'm yelling in my mind. Not very calming, for sure, but I don't seem to be listening to myself very well.

Slow breathing isn't working, I need something more. Distraction time.
(flashing lights, confetti, games - that is what I'm imagining in my mind as I type that, but the reality is less of a carnival.)

I try to do something calming, that requires precise thought, to distract from the anxious thoughts and feelings. Eventually it works. The pressure releases, the heartbeats lighten. Calm.

Dinner cooked. Movie watched. Bedtime prayers and tucking in for my kid. The night progresses without incident.

I stay up much later than I should (this is my normal, anxiety or not), finally turning down the lights and snuggling into my pillow at 3am. Peace surrounds. The darkness of sleep rolls in. I reach for dreams, and...

Boom. I'm sitting up. The pressure intense, mind racing, heart pounding. Panic. I try to slow my thoughts enough to pinpoint what is causing this feeling.

I realize part of my brain has been tightly holding the anxiety in check since the afternoon, and it has come untethered.

Slow breaths. Prayers. Distraction.

Tomorrow will be a better day.


47 comments:

  1. Sorry about all of this. Been there a lot. Hope you get it all worked out soon.

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    1. Thank you so much. I'm sorry that you have been there too.

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  2. I stay up way too late myself and suffer from terrible anxiety. I know these feelings all too well. I, too, also say that tomorrow will be a better day. We can only hope when it's 3am and we still have a million thoughts running through our heads, especially knowing that we have to be back up awake in a few hours.

    Hope you start feeling a little relaxation and stress-relief soon! Hang in there!

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    1. I hope we both have better days this week. I'm sure the lack of sleep really plays into the stress levels as well - it is always harder to deal with stress and anxiety when you are already tired.

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  3. Ok gf it is time to take this bull by the horns. Having been there done that let me tell you what I learned. The exercises help but they are useless in the midst of an attack. PSALM 91 Get a bible keep it close to you. EVERY TIME one comes on open it to that Psalm and read it OUT LOUD over and over. What they don't tell you is that when you read aloud your brain has to cease the thought process, it can't run rampant and focus on reading and verbally articulating what you read at the same time. Not only that but you read that psalm and tell me King David was not describing a panic attack perfectly.

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    1. You are so right! I'm going to hold tight to Psalm 91 this week. Thank you Angel. Love you!

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  4. I can relate to this a lot... granted my anxiety hits under other circumstances...

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    1. I'm so sorry that you can relate to this under any circumstances.

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  5. This is beautifully written, Tracie. I'm sorry you're going through this.

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  6. I've been there, and I know those feelings all too well. Good for you for being able to recognize those feeling early on and taking control of them, without letting it overcome you. That is something I need to work on.

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    1. Recognizing it early does seem to make a difference a lot of times. I'll be praying for you this week - hopefully we will both have better days.

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  7. In my own way, Tracie, I know of what you speak. Hang in there. With you in thought.

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    1. Thank you Karen. I appreciate you so much!

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  8. I hate days like that. (((hugs))) and hopes that today is a better day for you!

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    1. Thanks Cindy! I have had a mixed bag of days this week, but definitely some better ones. Love you!

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  9. I know that feeling. When I get overwhelmed or when I have a panic attack my heart races and my brain shuts down. Even after it passes I'm left feeling exhausted for the rest of the day. Hugs to you, and hopes for it getting better!

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    1. Hugs back at you, and lots of love. I relate so much to that exhaustion that lasts for the day. Here's to good days for both of us this week. <3

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  10. I'm so sorry you have having a rough time. Hopefully it will get better for you. Hugs!

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  11. My hubby is going through this now and it is heartbreaking. Hope you get the sunshine soon!

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    1. I'm sorry to hear he is dealing with this too. I hope he finds himself having better days this week.

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  12. I hate that. But you're right. Tomorrow is a new day. <3 you

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  13. I'm sorry you are dealing with this. I hope that today is a better day. xo

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    1. Thanks Shell. <3 I'm holding on to these better days!

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  14. I can't even imagine how hard it is to fight your mind/body during an attack. *hugs* to you girl!

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  15. That is the hardest thing to deal with because you panic that you're panicking and the breathing starts all over.

    Wishing you many slow breaths today!

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    1. YES! That is exactly how what happens.

      Thank you. xoxo

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  16. So sorry. Anxiety is so tough. You just feel held captive by your own thoughts, and how frustrating when those thoughts aren't real?! anxiety is something I've had to deal with too. I hope you feel better tomorrow.

    Could I be so bold to share my favorite verses with you? They help me when I'm struggling with anxiety.

    "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8 This one helps me focus on what's true and REAL! I meditate on this one alot!

    "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 Praying for your peace!

    AND I love this one. Because I swear my mind plays tricks on me at night, when I should be resting!

    "When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
    when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet." Proverbs 3:24

    I hope they help. I will be sending a prayer for peace your way tonight!

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    1. Thank you SO much for sharing these verses. They are such a blessing to me. I'm going to hold them close this week.

      Thank you for the prayers. That means so much to me.

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  17. Dear Tracie,

    I am sorry to hear that you have anxiety, I am having anxiety attacks an some times panic attacks myself too, I actually kind of control one breathing and drinking water but when I had both at the same time I had to used medicine,
    I understand a little be of what you are suffering, keep trying friend!
    Sending you lots of positive energy from my corner.....

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    1. Thank you, Katt. I'm sorry to hear that you deal with anxiety and panic. Hoping for good days this week for both of us.

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  18. I so relate as well. Safe hugs.

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  19. Replies
    1. Today was definitely a better day. Thank you!

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  20. Oh, Tracie. You take us right there. Anxiety is just awful. Breathing and prayers take the edge off, but it's plain ol' work.

    Sometimes I dread the pillow, because I know that it will hit.

    I feel you. Saying an extra prayer for a peaceful day today.

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    1. Work is the perfect word for it.

      Thanks for the prayer, it is much appreciated. Hoping for good days full of peace for both of us this week. xoxo

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  21. I am sorry you go through this. But you described it beautifully, and I know it will help others.

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    1. Thank you Pamela, there is definitely strength to be found in knowing that we aren't alone. I hope that sharing this does help others and give them strength.

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  22. I wouldn't say this except that I know you're a Christian from reading you for awhile now, but have you ever tried memorizing Scriptures? One long anxious night, I memorized all of Ephesians 4 and part of 5 and I still know big chunks of it til this day. Doing this really works for me.

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    1. Jennie, I have never though about trying to memorize scripture in that moment. Really that is genius though. Thank you. I'm going to remember that next time - and I already have some places to start from verses other people have sent me.

      Hoping for good days for both of us this week, and thankful for scripture for the days that aren't so good. God is always good.

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  23. Just popping in and hoping for a calming and, dare I even say it, peace-filled week. One breath at a time, my friend. {{{hugs}}}

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  24. I'm sorry, Tracie. Anxiety sucks big time. Unfortunately I take meds to manage mine. And even then...it's not totally under control...

    HUGS to you, mama.

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