You may be going through something you’ve never experienced before, with times of deep anger, panic and terror. I cannot imagine exactly what you are experiencing, but I have helped many people in deep stress in my years as a psychotherapist and can offer a few practical suggestions. Some possibilities to get through these times:
• A simple breathing technique to stop the panic in its tracks – breathe in through the nose for a count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 4, breathe out through the mouth for a count of 6. Repeat this 10 times, and then check in with yourself. Are you feeling stable again? If not, do another 5 cycles of breath and check in with yourself. Are you feeling stable again now? If not, do another 5 cycles and so on. It can be helpful to practice this with 10 cycles twice a day for a week or so to get it into muscle memory, and begin to practice it when you feel anxious, so that it will become automatic when you need it most.
• Prayer – if you are a person of faith, this has helped sustain people for eons. Pray asking for courage, strength, endurance and help to get through this tough time – then allow yourself a few moments of silence afterwards to simply dwell in that sacred space and feel your connection to the Eternal. This can soothe your spirit while you pray but also for some time afterwards. Repeat when needed. And feel free to invite others to join you in prayer.
• Even those with little or no religious sense can ask for help from the Universe around you. How? Find a relatively quiet space. Make yourself comfortable, close your eyes and say within your mind, “Dear Universe, help me at this difficult time. Please send me the courage, strength and endurance needed to get me through and to help the others around me.” Then sit in silence for a few moments to let yourself feel a connection to the universe around you. We live surrounded by enormous reservoirs of energy – this can help you tap into that and find the soothing and the strength you need. Repeat as needed.
• Find someone else who needs soothing. When you comfort others, that helps them enormously; it also has the wonderful side-effect of comforting you too. Especially if you bring the power of touch – a comforting hand on someone’s shoulder, a hug, a pat on the head or stroking someone’s hair or cheek. But ask them first if they would welcome your hug or whatever – some may not want that kind of thing.
• Turn your fear into anger and use it to strengthen your resistance to the attack. If you are in a position to join the others fighting for the right to live your own lives, then your anger is a kind of rocket fuel for you to get going and fight back. Use it wisely.
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