Among the things the doctor has determined about me is that I have abnormal adrenal function. That abnormality is the source of my nighttime anxiety attacks. Caused by excessive production of the stress hormone cortisol. The adrenals are supposed to work in a way that cortisol is produced in the early part of the day, it should peak in the early afternoon and then wane throughout the rest of the day to a lower value. I seem to have two cortisol production speeds, high and higher. Which leaves all that hormone floating around in my body when I need to relax and sleep. This seems to be a common occurance in Type A people and may be why we have type A tendencies to start out with. It also contributes to high bloodpressure. I have a supplement designed to nourish the adrenals and to support their function. I also have a number of supportive measures to help with the issue.
I have stretching exercises that have to be performed in the morning before I begin my day, and then again in the evening before I go to bed. Stretching my muscles uses up some of the cortisol. Meditation also helps, but there are days that I can't find the quiet, alone time to accomplish a meditative session.
I have a high stress job, taking care of people in their homes can be stressful in ways that don't immediately occur to me. Some of that stress is alleviated by the movement involved, but there are days that things go wrong. I see families that ignore their loved one when they shouldn't. They're in denial as to the true conditions of the client so everything the client asks them to do is a burden and they respond to that. I try not to be judgemental, but some days it's more than I can accomplish. I grit my teeth while trying to stay out of the situation, and I end up having an anxiety attack.
When all else fails, and sometimes it does, I have found that filling my thoughts with things that are pleasant to me help me to not focus on the attack, so it's duration is much shorter and quite a bit easier to handle. Sometimes it's a matter of reminding myself that even on the darkest days, good things happen. No matter how bad the day, we always have little pleasures. It's just a matter of stopping to remind myself that they exist and the day wasn't all bad.
The following is a list of some of my pleasures.
Snuggling under the down comforter on a cold night.
Making the turn onto the home street after a hard days work.
The scent of spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove.
The shy smile of the toddler in the shopping cart in front of you in the check out line.
The sight of a crocus pushing up through the snow.
The first bud of daffodil in my garden.
Saying Thank You to someone holding a door open for you.
Returning the favor and being thanked.
Being greeted at the door by your pet acting as if you've been gone for a month.
The hug and wet kiss from a small child.
Hearing the voice of someone you haven't talked to in a while.
The sound of laughter among friends.
The scent of a steak sizzling on the grill.
Cleaning out a pocket and finding money when you're broke.
A smile from someone you love.
The playfulness of a puppy or kitten.
The purr of a cat on your lap
The warmth of a baby sleeping in your arms.
Getting to stay inside on a cool rainy day.
The sound of music.
A good book.
Knowing that you're loved.
Having the ability to recognize and appreciate that life does have it's little pleasures.