Ozark Herbal Association
Ozark Herbal Association

My Experiences with Anxiety & Panic Attacks

Anxiety and Panic disorders are a growing problem in our society, especially among women. Men are certainly not immune, however!

I know how hard it can be to live with panic disorder: for about a year I was incapacitated by anxiety and panic attacks. My first panic attacked happened while I was quietly cooking supper - suddenly I was unable to catch my breath and my heart was racing. My face lost its color entirely and didn't know what was happening. I and my family thought I was dying. Little did I know, it was a panic attack - and the fear I had, thinking something was wrong and I might be dying, continued fueling it. From that day I could hardly leave my house. I tried to go to the store, but would suddenly be hit with this feeling of increased heart rate, inability to catch my breath, dizzyness, light headedness and fear- and a strong feeling I had to get out of there. Eventually I fell into a deep depression.

With help from my church and my faith in God, and through research, I was able to learn techniques to overcome the thought processes in my subconscious mind that were leading to or increasing my problems. I realized I was not, in fact, going to die from this disorder. In fact, the symptoms that scared me so badly were simply my body's own fight or flight process! However, I had nothing physical to fight or flee from, so I had my body revved up to top speed but not in gear. ll these symptoms - inability to catch my breath, increased heart rate etc - would have been perfectly normal to me if I had been running from a bear. But with the bear in my mind, my own thoughts, I didn't have anything to run from! This is the common problem in our society: our problems are unnatural. Will I be able to pay the bills this month? What if I lose my job? How am I going to get everything I have to do done? Personal problems with people we struggle with daily weigh on our minds. Our bodies can't really tell much difference between the thoughts we have when we see we are in a dangerous physical situation, such as seeing a bear chasing us, or when we are thinking about a bad situation that could happen; they are both in our mind as far as our body is concerned. If we are constantly coming up with ways that bad things can happen to us, we are constantly living those bad scenarios when we don't have to! Our mind finally feels something has to change, it has to run away from these bad things that are happening, but it can't, because the bad things are in the mind. So we have to learn to change our way of thinking.

Not that these things are just "all in our head". Certian hormonal imbalances and shifts can also lead to nervousness, anxiety, and panic, or make it harder to keep a balanced frame of mind. This is why many women going through menopause feel like they are going crazy. They are agitated, nervous, have heart palpitations, can't sleep, etc. If our hormones are out of balance, the slightest thing can just be too much to handle. Upon rebalancing these things out, we can find great peace of mind, just because of our physical hormones and chemicals - making things so much easier. We can accomplish this through diet and herbs.