Chronic pain is the type of adversary that nobody wants to face.“Chronic pain is not only real; it is a bad disease,” as described by health psychologist Golan Shahar Ph.D. It is scarier than cancer, in the sense that the doctor can still give you hope and treatment for the latter, while the former has no possible cure at all. Worse, you can never get used to the illness. Every time the symptoms hit you, you can only crumble, stop what you are doing, and pray that it won’t last as long as before.
The thing is, the severity of the psychological effect of dealing with chronic pain differs, depending on the person’s mental strength. A few may merely get pissed off because of it. Some individuals, unfortunately, develop anxiety and have a nervous breakdown from time to time.
In case you sense that such comorbidity already took place in your system, here are several tips on coping with a panic attack(s) caused by chronic pain.
- Find Your Happy Place Internally
What typically occurs when a recurring condition mixes with anxiety disorder is that you tend to fear everything. You refuse to take medication because you think you’ll overdose. You avoid talking even to your loved ones, afraid that knowing your condition will make them distance themselves from you. “Relaxation techniques can be an effective way to calm anxious thinking and direct your mind to a more positive place,” according to Kathleen Smith, PhD, LPC.
The only tactic that may help you is finding your happy place internally. Think of the best moments in your life. The time you graduated, got an accolade or met the love of your life – any of these scenarios can undoubtedly bring a smile to your heart.
- Carry Something All The Time
When panic attack(s) happen, it is effortless to become oblivious of your what genuinely occurs in the surroundings. You fail to see the reality; you believe the scenarios that play in your head. Most often, though, they are none other than tricks that your anxiety fashioned out of your fears.
To avoid staying in that state of mind for long, you should always hold something. It can be a smartphone, a handkerchief, a fidget spinner, or a stress ball. This way, you have a tiny object to carry wherever you go and distract you when your thoughts are getting noisy again.
- Prepare A Playlist
Whether you are dealing with a panic attack(s) or not at the moment, it may be advantageous to have a list of songs to put on the highest volume anytime. The ideal playlist consists of all the tunes that make you want to bop your head or dance so that your qualms turn into terror. If you wish to calm down, on the other hand, you can search for instrumental songs and play them on loop until the fears subside.
- Talk To Yourself
Lastly, considering you can already recognize when a panic attack is about to hit you – and the tips above are not working – you may go the practical route and tell yourself outright to stop doing that. For one, you are perhaps in the midst of people who care about you the most. Secondly, since you know that you tend to freak out, you won’t possibly stay somewhere that does not make you feel safe for longer than two minutes. Because of that, there’s no need for you to keep on worrying.
We all deserve to have somebody to remind us that not every fear we have will take place in the real world. It will be breezy if your partner, sibling, parent, or friend can accompany you everywhere to be that voice of reason. In case you have no other prospective choice but to set out on your own, however, remember that you still have yourself to counter the panicky feelings.
As what Ruth Livingston, Ph.D said, “Clearly, how one manages such a complex set of psychological challenges can make a difference in the course of illness.” Chronic pain and anxiety are two harsh conditions to beat. Don’t miss any of the coping mechanisms mentioned in this blog. Feel free to re-read them as much as you need to so that you can at least get to manage one of their byproducts: panic attack(s).