Monday, 9 September 2013

Guest Post - Dealing with Anxiety

This is a brilliant guest post by Amy.  It also ties in nicely with the post I shared this morning as I often find music helps me in the same way and I need to remember that when I'm going through a stressful time.  There's nothing I like more than cooking with my music on full blast in the background, singing along and dancing round the room.  

As Bex has recently shared some of the ways she makes herself feel better I thought I’d do the same.  Just over ten years ago I started having anxiety attacks.  They started about a year after a particularly traumatic time, in a period when I was actually really happy and relaxed (this is apparently really common!).  I was really freaked out at first but then when I pieced together why it was happening I had some counselling to address the core issues.  Since then I have managed to get things pretty much under control through avoiding or overcoming my main triggers or by taking steps to compensate, such as taking valium when flying.  Last week I sadly had my first all day attack for a few years which was horrible but has meant I’ve forced myself to work harder at looking after myself and not letting things get too much.

One of the best ways I’ve found over the years of making myself feel better is by singing.  Despite being not being very good, I’ve always been an ‘in the car’ singer (much to my poor husband’s dismay), but then I started going to karaoke a few years ago with some colleagues and always really enjoyed it.  As a result I bought a few Singstar games and one night when I was feeling a bit low I put one on and realised that singing made me feel a lot better – it can feel a bit like you’re moping around like a hormonal teenager, especially if you go for ‘emotional’ songs, but Singstar is especially good because you have the added challenge element – I’m very competitive and always want to get the best score possible.  I find that singing is a really good way of distracting my brain from negative thoughts and if I feel as though I’m on the edge of an attack (I’ve taught myself to recognise the signs), I can now sometimes prevent it – I just quickly bring up Youtube, search for a song (you can get karaoke versions for lots of them too which have the words – reading them adds to the distraction), and let rip at the top of my voice (obviously this doesn’t work in the office or on the tube) until I’ve focussed my brain elsewhere.

Sometimes the best thing is a Disney classic, sometimes a weepy tune to sob along to, sometimes whatever is at number one and paying on the radio, and sometimes an obscure cult classic you’ve never heard before as a challenge, but whatever you choose, singing is proven to release endorphins and help lift your mood!

Here are my best ‘get it all out’ singalong tunes:

Defying Gravity – Cast of Wicked This is my go to tune if I’m stuck in an emotional funk and need to shake it all out – I’ve been known to have to stop the car because I’m crying too hard singing along to it while driving that I can’t see where I’m going.  If I haven’t cracked already by the line “And nobody, in all of Oz, no wizard that there is or was, is ever going to bring me down.” then that’s guaranteed to tip me over the edge.

Hold On – Wilson Philips This is another weepy one for me but I think it’s a good one to wallow in if you need a bit of a hug and there’s no one around to give you one.  Plus the video is so 90’s that it’s a great diversion – even if just to pray those high waisted jeans don’t come back into fashion along with all the other 90s trends that are creeping in.

Ordinary World – Duran Duran “But I won’t cry for yesterday, there’s an ordinary world, somewhere I have to fiiiiiiiind, And if I try to make my way, to the ordinary world, I will learn to surviiiiive!”   Need I say more?

 Heaven Helps The Man (I’m Free) – Kenny Loggins In all honesty pretty much ANY KL tune (funnily enough with the exception of the 2 famous ones – Footloose and Highway to the Danger Zone) is guaranteed to do the job for me – especially some of the more obscure soft rock ones - but this one also has a cheesy video so I picked it for blogability, plus it’s an awesome tune which you can really get overly into when singing along.

Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac You can’t beat a bit of Fleetwood Mac can you?  I love how this is actually a really angry song but with a really boppy feel to it.  It’s a bit like an audio metaphor for putting a happy face on.

Winds of Change – Scorpion This is one of my Singstar classics and the one (along with Total Eclipse) I consistently manage to achieve a ‘Singstar’ score (the highest level) on.  It’s mellow 80’s rock with some great long notes and some slightly weird lyrics meaning you have to concentrate pretty hard.

Eye of the Tiger - Survivor I reckon this tune vies with I Will Survive as the ultimate karaoke classic but that needn’t put you off.  The lyrics are cheesy but punchy and good for firing you up plus EVERYONE knows the tune and you can do some cool air punch type dance moves too.

Motherlover – The Lonely Island featuring Justin Timberlake This one is in here just because it is so ridiculous that it can’t help but cheer you up.  [I've chosen not to embed this one since my Mum and MIL both read the blog and it may cause offense to some people.  You can see it here if you wish ;) ]

I've actually thought of making a couple of playlists, one of melancholic songs for when I just accept the sadness and have a little wallow, one for when I want to cheer up and be happy and dance around and another of shouty songs like Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger" for when I'm angry and frustrated and want to get it all out!  Thanks for the advice Amy and for sharing a few of your favourite songs with us!


Lorna said...

I went through a spell of having really terrible anxiety attacks I just couldn't control- I ended up in A&E so many times. I can totally sympathise and I'm so sorry you had an all day episode, it really is just the worst feeling. Love your tips though. I'm off to build myself a happy day playlist!

Unknown said...

When my agoraphobia kicks in I always use music to help me get out of the house/office/wherever and it ALWAYS works. Hold On by Wilson Phillips is a great bad mood lifter and The Great Escape by Patrick Watson is my soother "Hey child, things are looking down/that's okay you don't need to win anyway/ don't be afraid just eat up all the grey/ and it will fade all away/ don't let your self fall down" (ooh am getting a bit teary just thinking about it.

Oh and if I need to cry Be Good Until Then by Butch Walker always gets me with the line "And it's okay to cry, if you feel it coming on, it will let you know your human in the end/ all of this will mean more when I'm gone/ Just be good until then" and I use his more angsty songs for angsty moments too.

Unknown said...

This is really an excellent as well as worthy publish. Anxiousness can and will affect people in different ways. Some experience anxiety through psychological and/or psychological signs and symptoms. Others are afflicted by bodily effects. Both of them are effective enough to upset our regular pleased lifestyle. There are still numerous panic attack symptoms based on type of person.

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