Panic! is it me, or are we hitting a panic attack epidemic!
I recently read an article followed by some research in the area of panic attacks. The reason I did this, is because it is a subject close to my heart. Not only do I have clients who seem to be increasingly seeing me in regard to getting help with overcoming their panic attacks, but also my own daughter has suffered from them, as has my son.
Having witnessed a panic attack first hand, I can understand why loved one’s can feel so helpless at the time that an attack strikes. However, there is help out there, and many tools that can be used in order to overcome this form of anxiety.
I do find it fascinating however, having been born to parents who were children during wartime, that they had never heard of a panic attack, as back there, back then,you had little time to think, and the attitude was, just get on with it. Shell shock of course was a different story altogether.
During a threat, we need to act fast. We do need to respond effectively when threatened. The problem I believe is, that our young people are enduring a faceless monster in the form of anxiety, because they don’t know why it strikes, what set’s it off, or even how to control it. There seems no obvious reason, and this is what is so scary to my clients, because they just don’t know when another attack may strike.
At least if a direct threat happened as it did in wartime, we could run, scream, cry, fight, and basically react on a physical level, therefore naturally releasing pent up energy.
Today however, I realise having been born in 66, that we have moved from a physical age, to a mental age very quickly, in fact so quickly that we haven’t had time to evolve into it.
This leaves our young people being born into a generation that is full of an overload of stimulus, but in a different way to their ancestral history. They have to adapt fast, and they are expected to be switched on literally from infancy. To make a point here, I have seen babies in pushchairs with phones, and highly lit, stimulating and colourful images prancing across the screen. This stimulus is not a natural one, but is artificially made.
Rather than looking with fascination at the trees, the sky, the birds, and listening to natural sounds as our ancestors would have, our young children are subjected to a world that is fast becoming virtual, and so their reality will be very new and different from previous generations, as will their reactive state.
So it’s no surprise recent studies have declared that our current millennials, especially women, are the most anxious generation in history. In other words, they are switched on, switched up, tense, stressed, and expect to work well, be a good mum, be tech savvy and keep up with everything else at the same time. This is something that my own mother and her mother never ever had to wrestle with.
Anxiety comes in many forms or course, with the simplest way to describe it is feeling worried about future uncertainty, and of course there is plenty to worry about if you are that way inclined, simply because we are now the fastest moving generation in history. Change is everywhere and all because of technological advancements, without giving a second thought to how human beings, will adapt.
In small doses, anxiety can help motivate us to get things done. However, when it escalates it can be debilitating and have serious effects on our physical health, especially if we ignore it. It just builds up over time, and then strikes when we least expect it, and that is when we can end up with conditions such as Insomnia also.
Anxiety wasn’t officially recognised as a condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) until 1980, so the record-keeping on mental health prior to that was patchy. What we do know is that it’s more prevalent. According to a National Health Survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, anxiety affected 3.8 per cent of the total population in 2011–2012, and 11.2 per cent of us in 2014–2015.
Meanwhile, for those born between 1978 and 1999, Western life has become a perpetual cycle of technology, sleep deprivation and spectacularly high expectations set by social media.
Like the rest of us, millennials are also dealing with unprecedented challenges including political and economic uncertainty, global warming and rapid technological change.
“The IT revolution has actually made it easier than ever to stay apart from each other, and that fuels anxiety too, because at base we are animals at the end of the day, with huge brains, therefore our basic needs do come into it. In short we need physical contact, we need to hear a human voice, we need each other!
When I went to Lake Garda in Italy a yearback, I noticed how refreshing it was to not see kids constantly on their phones, the atmosphere was peaceful, and easy. When I walk down the high street today or go into a coffee shop, I see that kids and adults alike, are constantly checking their phones, but what for? Is the world going to cave in if we don’t?
So we are high on Wi-Fi, texting like crazy and living in an almost perpetual state of “fight/ flight or freeze”. It’s no wonder then that conversations about mental health are more common. We are Generation A for Addict.
Anti-sugar crusader, author, entrepreneur, blogger and former journalist Sarah Wilson’s latest book, First, We Make The Beast Beautiful: A New Story About Anxiety (Macmillan Australia), is a brave deep dive into her lifelong battle with anxiety, insomnia, teenage bulimia, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, hypomania and bipolar disorder that has at times made her suicidal.
She knows a thing or two about mental health and has some theories on why anxiety is on the rise among otherwise “normal” people. “The lives millennials are living is very conducive to turning up the dial on anxiety,” says Wilson, a 43-year-old Gen Xer. “For those of us who might have an anxiety disorder, the conditions are not conducive to handling it well,” she says. “And there are more people experiencing panic attacks who in the past probably would not have, because life would not have put them in that position.”
The good news is that there is mounting evidence to suggest mental health is becoming a priority for millennials, which is a good thing. The brain is a complex piece of kit, and we need to look after it, after all it controls all systems.
In fact, I think it’s important to step away for a minute and actually reconnect with people face to face, and reconnect with yourself, therefore adding to your social skills and coming back to base.
Millennials are more willing than previous generations to consult a therapist and talk about it openly, says Rachel Krautkremer, an insights and strategy director at New York trend forecasting company Cassandra Report. “They are eradicating the stigma around therapy,” Krautkremer says. This is a good thing.
Personally, I have noticed that our millennials have a more holistic view of wellness, believing that mental and spiritual health are just as important as fitness and nutrition. “They are starting to see the negative repercussions of their always-on lives,” and “This is leading people to embrace hypnotherapy, mindfulness, meditation and other therapies etc..
The tools are there to be used, and as we get used to technology, I feel that it is we who need to be the masters, and not the technological advancements being the masters of us. Remember, it is us who introduced technology into our reality, and so as it becomes ever more intelligent, some respect needs to come back to humanity itself, by respecting the human condition and boundaries that we create for ourselves, our future and for generations to come.
For more information on how hypnosis can help you with panic attacks or anxiety please contact me directly 07898 230000
Written by Joanna Knight
Found of 1st success