Last week, one of my blog readers asked me if I could share a few of my coping skills that I utilize during an anxiety attack. I love this question: it really made me go back to the basic question of how am I incorporating all the things I’ve learned in the past into the world that I now live in.
It’s an ongoing debate within me: have I navigated around my triggers to the point that I control my world to minimize the impact my triggers have on me? Or, have the coping skills I’ve developed enable me to be able to live a productive life in my current environment?
After an Abusive Relationship - Anxiety
Coping skills or controlled environment? I don’t think it’s an either-or question. I think my ability to live less anxiously is due to a combination of both.
Remembering my identity: After leaving my abuser, I accepted being an anxious person. For me, my anxiety became a kind of panic meter; the more anxious a situation made me, the more I knew I had to do something (or not do something). The level of my anxiety dictated how I handled a situation. But my anxiety no longer identifies who I am.
I no longer consider myself an anxious person; I am a person who has anxiety. I am a child of God. Removing the identifier of being an anxious person and instead giving God the power to identify who I am frees me of a lot of negative energy in my mind.
Staying in continuous prayer: Just as I feel the anxiety to overwhelm me, I start to continuously pray for God to walk me through the anxiety. Praying for God to walk me through the attack is different than asking God to take the anxiety away from me. Walking through the attack with God implies I must act and do something. Getting through the anxiety attack isn’t a passive experience; it’s not I’ll feel better when it’s over so I’ll just passively wait for the attack to pass by. That’s what asking God to take the anxiety away from me is.
Instead, during the attack I must present an active effort on my part to seek God’s guidance, listen to what He is telling me in my heart, and lean on the powerful Holy Spirit to give me the discipline to follow through on the tough things I am being asked to do. Staying in continuous conversation with God keeps my mind occupied on positive energy versus negativity of anxiety.
Resting my head: Years ago, I fractured my ankle which required me to rest, elevate my foot, and slow down my ability to move around. During one of my early anxiety attacks, it occurred to me that my head is injured and it too should be rested. This was before I knew the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. For me, resting my head includes:
Focusing on being PRESENT. I listen to the birds sing, feel the wind blowing against my face, enjoy the beauty of all that flowers during the spring season. I try my hardest to stay intentionally aware of my environment.
The biggest thing I’ve learned with recent anxiety attacks is that eventually, sometimes sooner and sometimes later, they do have the ability to end. If I consciously work on minimizing the impact it has on my world, it will end and I will regain complete control of my thoughts again.
I’d love to hear what strategies you use to minimize anxiety attacks,
Blessings to all,
Hi, I'm Sue
Welcome to my blog! I served twenty-one honorable years on active duty, living a double life of capability and accomplishment in the service while enduring brutality and abusiveness in my twenty-one year oppressive marriage. Today I'm happily married and have three children who are my inspiration and motivation.
My goal is to help combat the lies of abusers with the truth of God. I hope you find my words to be healing and helpful through your own life experiences.
Being separated from my abusive husband didn't make me a domestic violence survivor. It surely didn't release me from the grip of his brainwashing control and the innate power he had on me.
Read the full raw story in my new book, Rock Bottom and Faithless.