Advice, Lifestyle

Three ‘episodes’ brought on by my anxiety

I suffer from three, what I call ‘episodes’ or ‘side effects’, due to my anxiety. Since I experienced one just the other day, I thought I would write a blog post about them in case someone else suffers from them, too, and doesn’t know what’s going on.

Disclaimer: This content, including advice, provides general information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.

Sleep choking

There are a lot of different reasons/explanations why sleep choking occurs, all of which can be found, here.

My sleep choking occurs due to anxiety, and it usually happens after a very rough day or week filled anxiety and stress.

I remember the first time it happened – I was petrified. I honestly thought I was going to pass out because I couldn’t calm down enough to the episode. But, the more it happened, the more I realised I could manage each episode and, eventually, get back to sleep.

I manage my sleep choking by meditating before bed if I have had a particularly bad day and, if it happens anyway, I try to not panic when I wake up in the middle of the episode. Instead, I try to calm myself down as quickly as possible and, once I am more calm, breathe deeply. These episodes tend to wake Jean up, so she helps me through them as well.

For those who have suffered from sleep choking and feel like they cannot manage it themselves, here a few things you can do or people you can see:

  • Talk to a therapist,
  • reduce stress (try meditation, for example),
  • reduce caffeine intake, and lastly,
  • consider prescription medication dispensed by a professional.

Waking up crying

There are numerous reasons why one would wake up crying, and they’re not always anxiety-related. However, when I wake up crying, I have usually suffered from a bad day or week that amounts in stress and results in tears.

Other reasons one might wake up crying in their sleep include: night terrors, experiencing a traumatic event, stress, depression or anxiety, and, usually, one wakes up because the dream is so intense that it feels real, resulting in a surge of emotion and uncontrollable crying.

I have woken up crying throughout my life for as long as I can remember, but the episodes intensified after my grandfather died. Now, they happen every once in a while – one being the other day – and I cope with them a lot better than I used to.

Like sleep choking, Jean usually wakes up due to my sobbing and she helps calm me down. But, if you sleep alone, you can try one or more of the following things:

  • Talk to your doctor or physician,
  • when you wake up, try to calm down. Make some tea, read a book or watch a TV program until you feel like you are ready to go back to sleep, or try to
  • breathe deeply or meditate.

Mouth sores

Okay, I know you read that subtitle and winced at the thought of any kind of mouth sore but, the fact of the matter is, that stress, anxiety and depression bring on the likes of canker sores, as gross as they may seem.

Stress, depression and anxiety can affect your oral health in numerous ways, so it’s always a good idea to tell your dentist if you are suffering from any of those things – although they will more than likely be able to tell once you open your mouth.

I did not realise that the state on my mouth was a result of my anxiety (mixed with a few other factors, no doubt) until my dentist asked me the question and then it all made sense.

Another mouth-related side effect I get from anxiety is gum disease, and there have been a few studies linking the two. If you have an abnormal amount of mouth sores or tender gums, make sure you make your way to the dentist ASAP.

Other episodes and side effects brought on my by anxiety include:

  • Clenching my jaw (which results in the worst headaches),
  • Grinding my teeth in my sleep, and
  • biting my nails.

What episodes or side effects do you suffer from because of anxiety, stress or depression? And how do you manage them? Let me know in the comment section below.

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