As a gentleman, helping her cope with anxiety is your obligation.
You may think her anxiety is her problem, but anxiety can make people do some pretty bizarre things. One second, your traditional girl can be mild-mannered and calm, the next she may be verbally attacking your best friend for interrupting you.
Behavior during a panic attack can be quite erratic and when it happens, it not only affects you, but your relationship with her and with others. It’s important that you understand the best coping strategies so the two of you can effectively tackle her anxiety together.
When she begins to withdraw into herself and is suddenly quieter than usual, that’s usually a sign that her anxiety is rising. This is not always the case, however. Some girls become louder, meaner, more obnoxious when their anxiety level rises. If her behaviour seems to radically change in a short period of time, she’s probably dealing with an anxiety or panic attack.
There are two very important things that you can do to help her when this happens.
First, always carry a very small bottle (15 ml / ½ ounce) of lavender essential oil. It cannot be lavender oil, or lavender scented oil, but must be lavender essential oil. If you have it with you at all times and you notice a change in her behaviour, force her to stop whatever she’s doing. Reach for your bottle of lavender essential oil, pull off the cap, and force her to smell it. She must take deep inhales through the nose. Lavender essential oil is not intended for internal use, so don’t ask her to swallow any, just have her inhale the scent through the nose deeply 3 or 4 times. That should soothe her anxiety over the following three or four minutes.
However, if the anxiety or panic attack is severe, it’s important that you take her to an isolated place, away from everyone else and make her stand facing a blank wall. Command her to breathe deeply while you gently assure her, “I’m here, I’m here.” Do not touch her. Often, people suffering from an attack do not wish to be touched. Just let her stare and breathe deeply, and reassure her that you’re there for her.
At any given time, I have a refillable inhaler that I carry with me. Sure, I could ask Christina to carry it, but she doesn’t always have her purse on her, she doesn’t always have pockets on her clothes, and, let’s be honest, trying to get her to find her inhaler in her purse during a panic attack would be impossible. Girls may have their entire lives perfectly organized, but their purse will always be a disaster, so I carry the inhaler in my pocket and make sure it’s always filled.
Wherever Christina and I go together, I always scan the area for the closest handicapped bathroom in case she has a meltdown.
Why a handicapped bathroom, you ask?
Handicapped bathrooms are well lit, they’re usually empty, and they have plenty of floor space for the two of us. Once we’re inside, I force her nose into a corner and order her to breathe deeply while I stand back and watch. If I don’t feel she’s breathing deeply enough, I’ll remind her in a calm voice, “breathe deeply.” When she focuses on her breathing, she can’t focus on the anxiety. Throughout the breathing exercise, I remind her softly, “I’m here … I’m right here.”
Within 4 or 5 minutes, the episode is over, and we can get back to what we were doing.
If your girl suffers from anxiety, it’s vital that you not only understand what anxiety is and what triggers it, but also how to relieve her symptoms.
When you took her, you agreed to better or worse.
Anxiety is about the worst she’ll get.
But when she shows you her gratitude for helping her and being understanding, she’s at her best.
Helping Her With Her Anxiety, The Gentleman’s Times, (Dec. 2018). Copyright © Vintage In Stepford™, December 2018. All Rights Reserved.