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    • #15341
      Brittany Foster

      Lately, it has been harder for me to manage my anxiety when it comes to my health. There are days when I feel high anxiety and get PTSD reactions sometimes out of nowhere. Sometimes, it takes a small trigger to set me off. I am NOT one to use any type of physical force but lately I have had physical tantrums and have even lashed out at those I love the most. This happens when I am feeling especially vulnerable, when I feel let down an insecure, when I feel angry and frustrated.

      I know there are ways to channel these feelings in a better way. Believe me, I am all for distractions, taking time for myself, taking space, talking with friends, family and a therapist, but there are times when I really feel as if I need some sort of physical outlet. I hit things, scream into my pillow, hit my bed. Outward anger and aggression has been something I’m struggling with but trying to work out.

      Have you ever had these feelings of outward aggression? What emotions bring up this need to be aggressive? What are you triggers?

    • #15345
      Kathleen Sheffer

      Brittany, I know you’ve been doing some workouts lately and that is a great outlet for anger. When I’m in a particularly bad mood, I force myself out of the house and climb up a bunch of stairs (there are a ton of hidden stairway walks in my neighborhood) until I feel a bit better. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I imagine if your anger is mostly about your health, pushing your heart and lungs might not be the best way to work through it.

      When I had PH and couldn’t really exercise (I didn’t get much benefit from it when I tried), I drew a lot. I would sit myself down and pull out some markers and blank paper and angry-draw. It’s a thing. I’d start by drawing ugly versions of my sister (usually the source of my anger) hahah. Eventually I’d calm down and start drawing prettier things and enjoying myself. Have you ever tried this? I’m pretty sure my mom was the one who suggested it when I was very young – I still do this sometimes at night when I’m anxious.

      Drawing and painting can actually be a physical activity, especially if you do it at larger scales and have to use your whole arm instead of your hand. In high school I made larger and larger abstract paintings and even set up an easel in my bedroom for nights when I was especially upset. You don’t have to be artistic to do this. Painting a whole canvas a single color can be therapeutic!

      I have also locked myself in my room and punched pillows and thrown tissue boxes around. Throwing harmless stuff can help hehe!

      You’re not alone. I’ve thrown tantrums all my life (hopefully less now). I honestly believe I’m alive today because I am what my mom likes to call “spirited.” We have fought for our lives. Sometimes that drive isn’t directed in the most productive way.

      My boyfriend says he doesn’t see the sense in ever getting angry. He never sees good come from it. He prefers other methods to solve his problems. But sometimes there isn’t a solution to a problem. And sometimes I just need to be upset about the fact that there isn’t a solution; that it isn’t fair.

      The trick is finding a way to release that anger in a way that doesn’t harm other people. Lashing out at the people we love only makes us feel worse (I do this often). Making art is the best solution I’ve found. Would love to hear your ideas.

      • #15351
        Brittany Foster

        Hi Kathleen,
        I definitely have always turned to sports as an outlet. The sports that I were involved in were contact sports so it allowed me to release some of the rage. Let’s just same little Britt was in the penalty box quite often. It’s hard when someone can say something or do something that is triggering (the source of my anger and aggression sometimes when it’s not always health related) but I make it into a big deal and lash out. I know it’s a crappy way to deal with things and it’s definitely something I have to work on. Exercising has been helping my over all meantal health, but sometimes when something triggers my PTSD I just go into a different mindset all together. I like your idea of drawing or painting. I like coloring when I am feeling very anxious and overwhelmed. When I’m in the hospital I do this a lot. I also am able to read and use that as a distraction ( I know some people find it difficult) . Even if I experience some brain fog while reading, at least my mind is in a better place. In some cases I rely on medications and fast acting anxiety meds. For example, today I had to take a klonopin to calm my body down after having a slight panic attack. I used to be ashamed of having to take medication, but I know that in those moments my nervous system really could use the relief !

    • #15382
      Vanessa Vaile

      I write them out in my online journal (750 Words) that is also my daily record of PAH related observations (breathing, good and bad days, even weather) and various readings and measurements. Therapeutic rants as needed. Progress and milestone markers noted. Frustrations too. My private safety valve.

      Physicality I understand though. Hitting a puck no doubt offered the same kind of release as galloping full speed cross country through rough terrain and over solid obstacles. I can’t do that anymore either. Not being able to is frustrating, even though I know and pretty well accept limitations of age that stopped me even before PAH.

      • #15398
        Brittany Foster

        I’m glad you are accepting your limitations even though I know realizing you have these limitations isn’t easy for any of us. That can be the most struggling part. I like the idea of your journal where you make it a point to write something in it every day. That in itself can be a huge sigh of relief and it feels good to get things out (even if its just on paper) . I enjoy ranting and just allowing myself to type it all out. I was writing poems at one point, not exactly rhyiming poetry but just my strings of thoughts that ended up pretty great and a great mind exercise. Do you ever share your writing with others ? Sometimes I would share my journal with a therapist. Do you share with any of your doctors too?

    • #15385
      Dori Herrick

      Creative and physical outlets are great tools. Recognize when you are not able to control the reactions and seek therapy when necessary. I have been to therapists on-and-off for over 30 years. Sometimes I just don’t have the tools in my “coping toolbox” for what pops up, so I go learn a new coping mechanism or two.
      When all else fails, sometimes I allow myself to have a day where I stay in bed, in the fetal position and cry and pity myself. But I only allow myself one day. The next day, I have to put my smile back on and get back in the fight!

    • #15402
      Brittany Foster

      Couldn’t agree more. My artistic outlets are coloring and reading. I love to read to keep my mind busy and allow myself to drift off into another world with the characters. I allow myself a good cry and usually do this in a space that feels safe for me. I have struggled with self harm in the past so having these breakdowns with others around me (or at least in the same house ) is important to me.

    • #15424

      As much as my PH makes me… extremely unhappy… I haven’t thrown a physical tantrum about it… yet. (I have about other things, though.)

      If something is making you possibly violent, IMO you should talk things out with the source of the problem – For example, was it something your family said that made you mad? I am sure they will be willing to talk about it with you.

      Sometimes family isn’t as reasonable, and if you run into that problem, well I can only empathize because that’s my situation most of the time. If that should happen, avoid them (and if they ask why, tell them that if they want grandkids to go adopt someone who didn’t get their crappy genes – basically you need to give them a huge “PH*** you”).

      I have struggled with self harm in the past so having these breakdowns with others around me (or at least in the same house ) is important to me

      So basically, having a breakdown in your case is better than the alternative. A lot of my “tantrums” 10 years ago were nothing but self-harm so what I think you are doing is actually more productive.

      Last but not least, there does exist an app for tantrum-taking: — If you play it right (or wrong technically – you’re supposed to be conducting an orchestra, not kickboxing like I am in that video!) — it’s a great release of anger and a reliable workout, too.

      • #15425
        Brittany Foster

        Thank you for the response VK,
        It is important to find good outlets. Luckily I have people in my life who can talk through it all with me when it’s said and done. I’m sorry that you don’t have that support from your own family and I wish that was different for you. You always have your PH family and we are always here if you need to talk it out. Thanks for the suggestions and the resources!

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