Anxiety and panic on/off the road (1 Viewer)

Romanriff

Pilgrim
Joined
Sep 11, 2019
Messages
41
Location
Oakland
Sharing some personal info because I need advice:

I used to legitimately think anxiety was overrated, overplayed and an excuse people use but I learned my lesson. A couple years ago I starting using spice which is some nasty shit for being such a little talked about drug. I was smoking weed and drinking a normal amount but after spice my mental state got bad. To make a long story short, I started getting pretty bad, reoccurring panic attacks after a bad trip. Multiple times a day I would forget where I was (sober) , everything I'd see looked like a movie, I'd get dizzy and just trip for no reason. That was 3 years ago and since then it's gotten a little bit better but I developed anxiety and a panic disorder since then.

In a couple of days I'll be getting on the road again but this time by myself and I can't stop worrying about worrying.

I know I can't the only person with this so anyways I was wondering if anyone has any remedies, mental tricks of the sort you can share with me or anyone who wants to know. My panic attacks aren't debilitating but I don't want to have them in at the wrong place at the wrong time.
 
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Faceplant

Mmmm . . . Taste the Ballast!
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
Messages
523
Location
Boulder Creek Ca
Sharing some personal info because I need advice:

I used to legitimately think anxiety was overrated, overplayed and an excuse people use but I learned my lesson. A couple years ago I starting using spice which is some nasty shit for being such a little talked about drug. I was smoking weed and drinking a normal amount but after spice my mental state got bad. To make a long story short, I started getting pretty bad, reoccurring panic attacks after a bad trip. Multiple times a day I would forget where I was (sober) , everything I'd see looked like a movie, I'd get dizzy and just trip for no reason. That was 3 years ago and since then it's gotten a little bit better but I developed anxiety and a panic disorder since then.

In a couple of days I'll be getting on the road again but this time by myself and I can't stop worrying about worrying.

I know I can't the only person with this so anyways I was wondering if anyone has any remedies, mental tricks of the sort you can share with me or anyone who wants to know. My panic attacks aren't debilitating but I don't want to have them in at the wrong place at the wrong time.

If you’re still using spice, weed and alcohol - why not abstain for several years and see if things improve? At the very least, it will be better all around for your health.
 

roamingsnake

Pilgrim
Joined
May 30, 2020
Messages
28
Age
22
Location
New Jersey
Well, not as advice, but a personal anecdote to maybe provide some perspective:

For awhile I picked up vaping to deal with it, eventually going up to a high mg/mL of nicotine and it... didn't work long term, mostly because I got used to it and it became more about needing the next "smoke" break than a relief for anxiety. While it did work, that was probably one of the most effective things (non-synthetic weed was the best, but it's been impossible to find and anyway isn't an in-the-moment solution for me, just helps longer term).

In the moment, I've picked up a lot of small tricks that are mostly about making it through each moment. Deep breathing exercises, anything tactile like crocheting or playing with some beads or a fidget cube, vaping NON-nicotine or CBD just for the familiar motion, reminding myself this is temporary and I can make it through the moment.

Going for walks helps me, too, especially when there's a specific intention to escape from a different situation for a little while BY walking (read also: walking with a very specific goal in mind).

Affirmations work for some people, they can help a little if I repeat them a lot while I try to settle into something with my hands, so if I takes some time to disentangle my yarn or set up to sit somewhere to crochet then I just try to repeat things calmly and slowly to myself to avoid panicking more because it's taking long. I might just say what I'm doing ("I am taking out the yarn, and then I will crochet and it will be relaxing") or affirm that it will be okay, I can make it, this will work, etc.

As with many mental health issues, tactics are tailored to the person who uses them, and what works only a little might work a lot for you or not at all. Reading up on different tactics and doing some research might help you find something you hadn't thought of before and might help you feel a bit more prepared, but it can also be a bit overwhelming sometimes.

Reaching out on here is a great step and you're going in the right direction to address some of your concerns. Anxiety is really difficult, and it's good to see that you're working on trying to manage it. I wish you the best in finding some helpful coping skills! =)
 

Romanriff

Pilgrim
Joined
Sep 11, 2019
Messages
41
Location
Oakland
Well, not as advice, but a personal anecdote to maybe provide some perspective:

For awhile I picked up vaping to deal with it, eventually going up to a high mg/mL of nicotine and it... didn't work long term, mostly because I got used to it and it became more about needing the next "smoke" break than a relief for anxiety. While it did work, that was probably one of the most effective things (non-synthetic weed was the best, but it's been impossible to find and anyway isn't an in-the-moment solution for me, just helps longer term).

In the moment, I've picked up a lot of small tricks that are mostly about making it through each moment. Deep breathing exercises, anything tactile like crocheting or playing with some beads or a fidget cube, vaping NON-nicotine or CBD just for the familiar motion, reminding myself this is temporary and I can make it through the moment.

Going for walks helps me, too, especially when there's a specific intention to escape from a different situation for a little while BY walking (read also: walking with a very specific goal in mind).

Affirmations work for some people, they can help a little if I repeat them a lot while I try to settle into something with my hands, so if I takes some time to disentangle my yarn or set up to sit somewhere to crochet then I just try to repeat things calmly and slowly to myself to avoid panicking more because it's taking long. I might just say what I'm doing ("I am taking out the yarn, and then I will crochet and it will be relaxing") or affirm that it will be okay, I can make it, this will work, etc.

As with many mental health issues, tactics are tailored to the person who uses them, and what works only a little might work a lot for you or not at all. Reading up on different tactics and doing some research might help you find something you hadn't thought of before and might help you feel a bit more prepared, but it can also be a bit overwhelming sometimes.

Reaching out on here is a great step and you're going in the right direction to address some of your concerns. Anxiety is really difficult, and it's good to see that you're working on trying to manage it. I wish you the best in finding some helpful coping skills! =)


That's hella helpful thanks so much. Yeah something I can tell myself to keep myself grounded seems like a good tactic.
 

Romanriff

Pilgrim
Joined
Sep 11, 2019
Messages
41
Location
Oakland
If you’re still using spice, weed and alcohol - why not abstain for several years and see if things improve? At the very least, it will be better all around for your health.

I stopped using it a lil while ago and feeling better but it definitely made a dent in my health.
 

roamingsnake

Pilgrim
Joined
May 30, 2020
Messages
28
Age
22
Location
New Jersey
@Romanriff No problem! Something I WOULD recommend is looking into other grounding techniques. I just remembered one that's been awesome for me during some pretty intense moments, a mindfulness technique with food.

Basically, you use all of your senses to perceive some food (can work with other objects, but food is best because you can taste it). It really puts you in the moment and focuses on something very specific. Here's an example.

Take a piece of gum, since that's simple.

  1. Sight: First, look at the gum. What size and color is it? Does it have any markings, any particular shape? Is anything about it visually interesting?
  2. Sound: Next, listen to it. Rub your fingers over it next to your ear; is there a gritty sound? If it's hard gum, do your nails clack against it?
  3. Feel: Now, think about how it feels. What is the texture? Is it smooth or gritty, and how would you describe it? Does it compare to anything?
  4. Smell: What does it smell like? If it's fruit, does it smell fruity. Is it like the kind it's supposed to be, or does it smell like something else?
  5. Taste: Lastly, taste. Put it in your mouth (you can also do this for texture and move smell to step 3). Is the flavor what you were expecting? Is it comforting, plain, or kind of yucky? Why? Do you notice anything else particular about the flavor that stands out?
This can be applied to pretty much any food or drink, even water! If just trying to think is hard, you can always try writing it down, too, making little categories with descriptions that are as long or as short as you like, if it's something you decide to do. Just thought it might be something worth sharing. =)
 

superphoenix

Wanderer
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
147
Location
NY
Hey, I've randomly had a spell of vertigo and anxiety for a period of time and didn't even take drugs haha.

The accompanying anxiety could be lessened by
1. Wearing glasses
I never used to, but being able to see clearly while looking at a distance is super helpful
2. Eating more healthfully
Often, some accompanying anxiety was on top of some stomach issue or even iron deficiency, and eventually I could "crap out" my anxiety
3. Looking at my phone
Weird advice, but there's something comforting about focusing on a small box that you have total control over.

Deep breaths and affirmations too. Worrying about an issue is often worse than the issue itself, so I tell myself that. Usually, keeping busy in some way distracts me and helps me regain a sense of normalcy.

This is just stuff I've found that works for me, but maybe you can apply similar to your situation.
 

MetalBryan

Vagabond
Joined
May 30, 2018
Messages
188
Location
Miami, FL
Good stuff here about grounding and affirmations - I personally just say "I'm going to be okay" or "everything's going to be okay" sometimes once is enough. The most important technique is to identify what you are feeling as soon as you feel it - these steps are easy and/or cheap so don't just let your anxiety sit there to go away on its own. Here's my routine, more or less in order, if one utterance of "I'm going to be okay" doesn't calm the panic attack.

2. Take a good breath through your nose. Doesn't have to be a full breath just a deep one. Breathe out through your mouth pretending you're blowing out a candle that's a few feet away. This helps expand the diaphragm which may contact during panic attacks. That's the "am I having a heart attack?!?" feeling in your chest.

3. "I'm going to be okay."

The rest of the steps require physical objects...

3. Smell some lavender. I have dried flowers but essential oil works okay too. You could carry an Altoids tin amount of the flowers or the smallest bottle of oils.

4. As an alternative to lavender, orange peel or orange EO works too. Peel an orange and smell the skin as you rub it with your fingers. It's fucking weird but then you can smell your fingers for a while.

5. "I'm going to be okay."

6. Just like for hyperventilating, breathe into a paper bag. When you get that 40 of Old E or something from the Mogen David winery, you can ask the liquor store for a few extra since anything larger is impractical. I still drink but fyi drinking isn't going to stop your panic attack. I used to get them more often when I was hungover. Same goes for weed - smoke less or educate yourself about the various strains and become selective.

7. I don't treat it as a "step" anymore but I did when I first started having anxiety. I'm always conscientious of staying hydrated. Just like rebooting a computer fixes 95% of software problems, drinking a glass of water serves the same purpose.

8. I don't recommend this step, but it's something I did in the beginning because it's what the rest of society does. I had some benzos I would break/cut into quarters and dissolve under my tongue. Don't do this for three reasons - first, expensive and if you don't have a prescription it's illegal. Second, combining them with alcohol could stop your breathing when you sleep. Third, they can become a crutch and then if you run out that may cause anxiety. Don't be a sheep - huff that lavender like a freak.

Good luck!
 

Solfinger

Newbie
Joined
Apr 16, 2020
Messages
13
Location
VA
I completely agree about the hydration thing. Great analogy of water rebooting a body. Anxiety is real. Keep your head up.
 
Joined
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The place beyond the sun
I'm not a panic attack/anxiety kind of guy. I just don't get them. Or maybe I do but I am really quick to distract myself with something else. That's not to say that I don't believe they exist. Seen many people struggle with them. As such, my advice comes from a place where I can not walk in your shoes but never the less, I have found it to be very effective advice when dealing with stressors of any kind. You may want to write this down as many people seem to overlook it.

Good work, good food, good orgasm, good sleep.

That's not some neanderthal level advice either. A hard day of productivity, a series of healthy meals, some excellent toe curling and several nights worth of oh lawd do I need my pillow uninterrupted sleep will cure what ails ya. You may even see god. My take home point is not to forgo or forget the simple things.

And for fucks sake if you are going to get blitzed, don't use spice, be a man about it and slam your head against a wall three or four times. You WILL catch a buzz. I promise.
 
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Deleted member 29173

I deleted myself
Cut out any bullshit you put into your body. Seriously. It took me far to long to figure this out. Im not going to say this will cure your anxiety 100 percent but it will help so much.

No sugar, no bad oils (basically avocado, olive, and mct oil and nothing else) and no shitty processed grains. No smoking. No drinking. Diet is a very complicated thing that you will need to fine tune yourself. In short, dont eat anything with more than one ingredient and youll be good.

Excercise every single day. Doesnt matter what kind.

Limit screens of any kind to a minimum. This is a huge trigger for anxiety to constantly be glued to your phone.

Sleep!!!!! When I dont sleep well Im anxious all day the next day.

Tons of water. Drink a glass every hour if you can.
 

superphoenix

Wanderer
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
147
Location
NY
I have to recommend sleep as well. Sometimes a lack of sleep gives me the fun dizzy feeling while other times it's just straight anxiety.
 

Windwalker

Newbie
Joined
Jan 29, 2020
Messages
31
Age
50
Location
Scio
The first and last time I tried spice I ended up in a bar threatening everyone in the place plus the security. They chased me out into the street where I had parked my mountain bike. I rode away into a crowd of people crashing into them and was chased again. I woke up six hours later at dawn in an empty parking garage. For a long time I had crushing anxiety and I found a few beers took the edge off until I made it out of town. I still have my days though but there are other factors. I've had PTSD for many years for various reasons.

Anyway here is a list of things Ive condensed from a survival manual that I find helpful. There are a few references to anxiety throughout.

"As you reduce your anxiety, you also bring under control the source of that anxiety—
your fears."

KNOW YOURSELF
You should take the time through training, family, and friends to discover who you are on the inside. Strengthen your
stronger qualities and develop the areas that you know are necessary to survive.

BE REALISTIC
See circumstances as they are, not as you want them to be.

ADOPT A POSITIVE ATTITUDE
Learn to see the potential good in everything. Looking for the good not only boosts morale, it also is excellent for exercising your imagination and creativity.

TRAIN
Through training and life experiences, begin today to prepare yourself to cope with the rigors of survival.
Demonstrating your skills in training will give you the confidence

ANTICIPATE FEARS
Don’t pretend that you will have no fears.

LEARN STRESS MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES
People under stress have a potential to panic if they are not well-trained and not prepared psychologically to face whatever
the circumstances may be.

PREPARING YOURSELF
Fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, guilt, depression, and loneliness are all possible reactions to the many stressors
common to survival.

These reactions, when controlled in a healthy way, help to increase your likelihood of surviving. They prompt you to pay more attention in training, to fight back when scared, to take actions that ensure sustenance and security, to keep faith with your fellow team members, and to strive against large odds. When you cannot control these reactions in a healthy way, they can bring you to a standstill. Instead of rallying your internal resources, you listen to your internal fears.

These fears will cause you to experience psychological defeat long before you physically succumb.

Remember, survival is natural to everyone;
being unexpectedly thrust into the life-or-death struggle of survival is not. Do not be afraid of your “natural reactions to this unnatural situation.” Prepare yourself to rule over these reactions so they serve your ultimate interest—staying alive with honor and dignity.

NATURAL REACTIONS
It is not surprising that the average person will have some psychological reactions in a survival situation. The following paragraphs explain some of the major internal reactions that you or anyone with you might experience with the previously stated survival stressors.

FEAR
Fear is our emotional response to dangerous circumstances that we believe have the potential to cause death, injury, or illness. This harm is not just limited to physical damage; the threat to your emotional and mental well-being can generate fear as well. If you are trying to survive, fear can have a positive
function if it encourages you to be cautious in situations where recklessness could result in injury.

Unfortunately, fear can also
immobilize you. It can cause you to become so frightened that you fail to perform activities essential for survival. Most people will have some degree of fear when placed in unfamiliar surroundings under adverse conditions. There is no shame in this! You must train yourself not to be overcome by your fears. Ideally, through
realistic training, you can acquire the knowledge and skills needed to increase your confidence and thereby manage your
fears.

ANXIETY
Associated with fear is anxiety. Because it is natural for you to be afraid, it is also natural for you to experience anxiety.
Anxiety can be an uneasy, apprehensive feeling you get when faced with dangerous situations (physical, mental, and emotional).

When used in a healthy way, anxiety can urge you to act to end, or at least master, the dangers that threaten your existence. If you were never anxious, there would be little
motivation to make changes in your life. In a survival setting you can reduce your anxiety by performing those tasks that will
ensure you come through the ordeal alive.

As you reduce your anxiety, you also bring under control the source of that anxiety—
your fears. In this form, anxiety is good; however, anxiety can also have a devastating impact. Anxiety can overwhelm you to the point where you become easily confused and have difficulty thinking. Once this happens, it will become increasingly difficult for you to make good judgments and sound decisions. To survive, you must learn techniques to calm your anxieties and keep them in the range where they help, not hurt.

ANGER AND FRUSTRATION
Frustration arises when you are continually thwarted in your attempts to reach a goal. The goal of survival is to stay alive
until you can reach help or until help can reach you. To achieve this goal, you must complete some tasks with minimal resources.

It is inevitable, in trying to do these tasks, that something will go wrong; that something will happen beyond your control; and that with your life at stake, every mistake is magnified in terms of its importance. Thus, eventually, you will have to cope with frustration when a few of your plans run into trouble. One outgrowth of this frustration is anger. There are many events in a survival situation that can frustrate or anger you. Getting lost, damaged or forgotten equipment, the weather, inhospitable terrain, enemy patrols, and physical limitations are just a few sources of frustration and anger.

Frustration and anger generate impulsive reactions, irrational behavior, poorly thought-out decisions, and, in some instances, an “I quit” attitude (people sometimes avoid doing something they can’t master). If you can harness and properly channel the emotional intensity associated with anger and frustration, you can productively act as you answer the challenges of survival. If you do not properly focus your angry feelings, you can waste much energy in activities that do little to further either your chances of survival or the chances of those around you.

DEPRESSION
You would be a rare person indeed if you did not get sad, at least momentarily, when faced with the hardships of survival. As this sadness deepens, it becomes “depression.” Depression is closely linked with frustration and anger. Frustration will cause
you to become increasingly angry as you fail to reach your goals.
If the anger does not help you succeed, then the frustration level goes even higher. A destructive cycle between anger and frustration will continue until you become worn down—physically, emotionally, and mentally. When you reach this point, you start to give up, and your focus shifts from “What can I do” to “There is nothing I can do.” Depression is an expression of this hopeless, helpless feeling.

There is nothing wrong with being sad as you temporarily think about your loved ones and remember what life is like back in “civilization” or “the world.” Such thoughts, in fact, can give you the desire to try harder and live one more day. On the other hand, if you allow yourself to sink into a depressed state, then it can sap all your energy and, more important, your will to survive. It is imperative that you resist
succumbing to depression.

LONELINESS AND BOREDOM
Man is a social animal. Human beings enjoy the company of others. Very few people want to be alone all the time! There is a distinct chance of isolation in a survival setting. Isolation is not bad. Loneliness and boredom can bring to the surface qualities
you thought only others had. The extent of your imagination and creativity may surprise you. When required to do so, you may discover some hidden talents and abilities. Most of all, you may
tap into a reservoir of inner strength and fortitude you never knew you had. Conversely, loneliness and boredom can be
another source of depression. If you are surviving alone, or with others, you must find ways to keep your mind productively
occupied. Additionally, you must develop a degree of self-sufficiency. You must have faith in your capability to “go it alone.”

GUILT
The circumstances leading to your being in a survivalsetting are sometimes dramatic and tragic. It may be the result of an accident or military mission where there was a loss of life.
Perhaps you were the only survivor or one of a few survivors.
While naturally relieved to be alive, you simultaneously may be mourning the deaths of others who were less fortunate. It is not uncommon for survivors to feel guilty about being spared from death while others were not. This feeling, when used in a positive way, has encouraged people to try harder to survive with the belief they were allowed to live for some greater purpose in life.
Sometimes, survivors tried to stay alive so that they could carry
on the work of those killed. Whatever reason you give yourself, do
not let guilt feelings prevent you from living.

The living who abandon their chance to survive accomplish nothing. Such an act
would be the greatest tragedy.

From the US Army Survival Maual
 

trashswag86

Rambler
Joined
Feb 23, 2019
Messages
118
Age
34
Location
New Jerusalem, Idaho
Holy shnikies, lots of good advice here.
Only thing's I would add:

Keep gum on hand: For the better part of human evolution, no one ate when in danger. It's associated with being in a safe place, so you you'll find chewing gum takes the edge off your anxiety.

Breathe: There's a Fresh Air episode with James Nestor, who wrote a book on it, (He also did a much longer interview on the Joe Rogan podcast, but I haven't heard this myself) and in the podcast he talks mainly about the benefits of breathing through your nose rather than the mouth. The science on it is insane. Like, it's really freaking important for your health in so many ways, even down to effecting your hormones.

For anyone who breathes through their mouth while sleeping, he recommends using a small square of medical tape on your lips, like a Charlie Chaplin moustache moved down a step.

Also, if you want to get into meditation, the Waking Up app is free to anyone that can't afford it. No questions asked.

Here's the Fresh Air episode:


Best of luck and health.
 

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