Oh, I kid. That wasn't the most important, but it was certainly the most exciting. We sat down, and she asked me what I wanted to talk about today, and I said basically coping skills to help me deal with stress and anxiety. Then I launched into my speech of my six months of dealing with gastritis/IBS/acid reflux/heartburn and anxiety. (Speaking of anxiety, guess who just paid a hundred dollars for a months worth of Lexapro? $#%&!) As I spoke about my grandparents deaths, and my health issues, and the anxiety, and the effect of all of that on school . . . her eyes kept getting bigger and bigger.
So! Here we go! To help me calm down when I realize I am either obsessive thinking or starting to have a panic attack, I now have these tools to work on:
1) Deep breathing. (In to a count of eight, hold for a count of eight, and out to a count of eight.)
2) Meditation. Also try counting an inhale and exhale as "one" and trying to reach 10 without having a thought. If I get distracted, I have to start over.
3) Exercise. (DUH. If I had a nickel for everybody who told me to exercise, and the number of times I thought "I should really exercise", I would be able to afford an endoscopy without insurance.)
4) Journal. (Or blog.)
5) Visualization. Go to a happy place (see it, taste it, smell it, hear it, feel it) and once you're there gently tap your hands to your knees so you get a physical response, which is supposed to make it easier to calm down after time.)
I asked about how to cope with grief as well, and she suggested:
1) Talk to somebody about it.
2) Write Grandma a letter.
3) Talk to Grandma/Grandpa/Boppa, to either a picture or their graves.
When I go back for my second appointment in January she wants to try something called EMDR (I think) that I still need to Google.