Supergirl  Image: Dakster Sullivan

Practice Makes Easier Panic Attacks

Family GeekMom

It’s no secret here on GeekMom that I suffer from anxiety and depression. I’ve had it all my life, but it wasn’t until the past couple of years that I had a name to go with what I suffered through. I’ve learned so many tools to help me, but none of them offered any relief during the worst of my panic attacks. It’s kind of like learning a new math equation but only being given the opportunity to practice it during the test. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

Have you seen the quote that goes something like this?

I drink green tea. I meditate. I burn candles. But I still want to slap someone.

Well, that’s me. I meditate. I carry my anti-anxiety bag everywhere I go. I take time out for me when I feel stressed. But I still get panic attacks and I still can’t get through them without wanting to scream, cry, or both.

That’s because I learned how to keep my anxiety at bay, but not how to overcome the attacks when they happen. I’ve learned the equation, but only ever been given the opportunity to practice it during a test.

Now, to start, I’m going to tell you I do not have a degree in medicine and I’m not recommending that anyone try what I’m about to explain. If you have anxiety or depression, talk to your doctor about the best course of action to tackle it. 

The new season of Arrow and The Flash are starting up this fall and I really want to watch them with my family. The only problem is television is one of my triggers, especially shows with a lot of emotion, action, or cliff hangers (so basically anything that is not on Disney Junior).

The trailers for Arrow Season Four have been released, and since the trailers are pretty short, they make for good candidates to practice with.

To start, I put myself in a safe and comfortable environment. It doesn’t get any more comfortable than on my living room couch in my fluffy Superman pajamas with my stuffed Toothless in my lap for company. My husband is close by and he pulls up the YouTube app on our TV and locates the Arrow trailer.

It doesn’t take long for the adrenaline rush to kick in and I want to run away, but I remind myself that I’m safe and there is nothing to run away from.

After I start to realize the anxiety is kicking in, I start doing my multiplication tables in my head. This simple tool helps to bring myself back to a logical state of mind to remind myself what I’m watching is not real and everything and everyone are okay.

This helps a little, but really, I could do without feeling like my heart is going to jump out of my chest.

It gets worse as the action kicks in and I start to care about the characters on the screen.


Damnit Thea!! Did you just swing a sword at your father’s head (not that he didn’t deserve it)?

By the end of the 2:08 trailer, I’m a nervous wreck and it’s time to bring myself down.

Now, for a normal viewer, this feeling will eventually go away.

For someone like me who can’t shut their brain off, I might as well be going through the Chinese water torture.

I start with reminding myself that Stephen Amell and the rest of the cast are not in any kind of peril. The worst thing that is probably happening to Stephen at the moment is sore muscles and a dirty diaper from his daughter that needs tending to.

I then remind myself that it’s all based in fantasy and nothing is real.

John Barrowman is a damn good actor so I go to his Facebook page to see that he’s not actually a diabolical leader of the demon’s head.

And based on the pictures on his Facebook page, Detective Lance is not at odds with Team Arrow and hunting them down.

All of this makes me feel better in a way, so now it’s time to move on to the next problem. The cliff-hanger.

That’s right. Those pesky things at the end of the episode that make you want to watch the following week. It’s the lemonade of the TV world. Sweet and tasty, but leaves you uncomfortably thirsty for more.

We know that the team is at odds. We know that Oliver starts with being out of the picture in Star City and will eventually come back to resume his title as Green Arrow. What we don’t know is…

600px-Dark_Green_Arrow_Up.svgWhy is Thea swinging a sword at Malcolm’s head (and why was she there to begin with)?

600px-Dark_Green_Arrow_Up.svgWhat is Felicity doing with a machine gun (not that she didn’t use it well)?

600px-Dark_Green_Arrow_Up.svgHow long will it take for Diggle and Oliver to come to terms with each other?

600px-Dark_Green_Arrow_Up.svgWhat does Amanda Waller want?

And oh so much more….

I guess it’s time to start writing my own reasons and then use the upcoming season to see how much I got right. I know…it’s not the real deal, but heck. It’s better than nothing until I can find out what really happens and sometimes what fans write is better than the real deal.

Yea…that didn’t work out so well. Instead of taking my mind off of it, I’m focusing more on it to write the story!! Argh!!

Okay. How about this instead…

I’ve found that by doing something else that is completely unrelated to what is bothering me will calm me down. So, I walk away and do something completely unrelated. The cliff-hanger may be driving me nuts inside, but my bedroom has never been cleaner.

Once I’ve brought myself down, it’s time to do it all over again.

Two or three times is enough for one day which equates to around 7:00 minutes of watching time and around almost two hours for calming down.

My ultimate goal is to get this down to seven minutes of watching time and seven minutes of calming down. I know I’ll never be able to just sit and watch without any anxiety because I’m too emotionally invested in the characters. What I can do, though, is continue to practice.

No matter how much anxiety I get and no matter how much adrenaline kicks in, I can’t overcome the fear without facing it.

And I will not fail this city.

Disclaimer: Dakster is not a medical professional and this is not meant to be taken as medical advice. If you or someone you know suffers from anxiety or depression, reach out to a medical professional for help.

Top Supergirl Image: Dakster Sullivan

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