Panic and Anxiety

by Joyce Dennison, Ph.D
Clinical Psychologist, Ret.

Sometimes our minds can create panic and anxiety – we wake up in the night worried about so many things.  For cancer patients, it feels like we have a death sentence and it’s so scary that panic ensues.

When anxiety hits us in the face, a doctor or nurse may be able to bring reality with information about your health and real facts that can calm the worst panic.  That’s part of the reason Weaver Mountains Health Initiative is working hard to bring medical services and telehealth to our region. 

There are many approaches to anxiety – sometimes a support group is helpful as well. Social Connections with others are SO important!

Tips from research can help – Such as:

  •  Facing our feelings or writing them down can make them less intense.
  •  Trying to stay in the present and being aware of what is going on around us is also helpful in diminishing anxiety.
  • There are many good anti-anxiety medications on the market, as well as natural remedies, such as CBD/THC, meditation, hypnosis, therapy, acupuncture, massage, nutrition, and herbs.  Whereas, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine may increase anxiety.
  • “What If”  thinking adds to panic:  “this might happen.”  or “wonder if the same thing that happened to my husband/friend/sister will happen to me…”
  • Focusing on helping others or volunteering may decrease those negative feelings. Doing simple, but manageable tasks can increase confidence and decrease the “what if’s”.

One step at a time can make us proud of our progress.  We may never be totally in control of life, but we can think of the challenges we have faced and overcome.  That is real progress….and health science can help us feel at peace with our lives.