In a previous post, I wrote about having an anxiety attack several months after my chemotherapy treatments. Since then I have heard from several cancer survivor’s who have also experienced, not just anxiety but major anxiety and panic attacks.
Surviving cancer is difficult. An anxiety attack makes it even more difficult. And; it decreases our overall health and well-being. It can actually change and modify the way a person lives
After my battle with cancer I just wanted a normal life again. When the anxiety attacks occurred, I knew I wasn’t thinking or reacting to life situations normally. The reason for this is that the chemicals in the body tip their balance making the effects of anxiety even more severe.
I actually felt physical pain and experienced irrational fear. This is not what I wanted after beating cancer. It was terrible. My social life, my relationships with friends and relatives suffered. I actually thought my cancer free life wasn’t worth the fight and was really worthless, I became depressed.
I knew I had to doe something. And something I did. I researched everything I could. I wanted my pre-cancer life back.
I read about several types of medication and rejected them. I am not saying you should not take any medication for your anxiety if you and your doctor think doing so would be best for you. Personally I don’t like taking medication for any thing.
Although I never tried any relaxation techniques I decided I would give that a try. I learned that relaxation techniques are proven effective methods in dealing with anxiety attacks.
Through relaxation techniques such as breathing techniques, the mind will be able to control the body. Relaxation techniques can be used during an anxiety attack to slow down the heartbeat, control breathing, and divert the mind away from the cause of anxiety attack. Although these methods require practice, once you learn the proper techniques, they are very effective. They are for me.
In my research for ways to deal with anxiety, I learned several other ways to help control the anxiety. I am a stubborn 70 year old and pretty set in my ways so I have not embraced all of the other things I have listed below as other ways to be free from anxiety. If you are not an obstinate, immovable and inflexible old foggy like me. You may find the following helpful to you.
Diet – The food we eat plays a very large role in our overall health, including our mental health. A well-balanced diet and healthy eating promotes a healthy brain and a healthy body. It is advised to choose natural or organic foods rather than processed foods or those with preservatives and chemicals. [I know and believe that; I just don’t practice it] I don’t recommend you following me in my intractable stubbornness.
Exercise – Aside from diet, another important factor that helps promote a healthy well-being is exercise. Studies suggest that as little as 30 minutes of exercise, 3 to 5 times a week can have great effects to the body as well as the mind. I have implemented this in my routine. [A nice round of applause would be appreciated]
Herbal treatments – St. John Wort, Hyperforin, 5HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), Melissa officinalis, Ginkgo Biloba, passionflower, valerian, scullcap, California poppy, hops and lavender are used as an alternative to prescription drugs to treat anxiety. Natural herbs can be made as tea, but some of these are already available over-the-counter as powder, liquid, capsule, oil, tincture, tablets and tea. [I’m not too stubborn. I am drinking some herbal tea albeit not daily. [Opps, there goes my applause]
I am adhering to the following two things I learned in my research:
Pray – If you believe in the power of prayer, pray. Many studies show that prayer is an effective way to relieve stress and anxiety as prayers have a soothing and calming effect both on the body and on the mind.
Laugh – Laughter still holds the title as the best medicine. This is because when you laugh, your body releases endorphins or “happy chemicals” that help you to feel good and happier.
If you are a cancer patient, survivor or a caregiver and you are experiencing anxiety, please, identify where the anxiety is coming from – Sometimes, anxiety attacks happen for no apparent reason. That’s the way it was for me. But that doesn’t mean that there is really no reason. After all something cannot happen out of nothing. Thus, if you experience an episode of anxiety attack, there must be a trigger (it might be directly linked to the attack or it might come from something else, totally apart from the event).
Once you identify the cause of the attack (which is as important as recognizing that you are having one), it is easy deal with it directly and process your condition using the natural ways mentioned above or through medication and therapy.
Not dealing with anxiety can lead to other illnesses, depression and even suicide. Please dot not ignore it.
Leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you. I’m sure other visiting this blog would like reading your experiences as well. Thanks.