Jemma Kidd is a successful career woman, mother of twins and somehow manages to be both model and girl-next-door with consummate ease. Behind the often smiley demeanor portrayed in the media, Kidd hides a torrid struggle with anxiety and panic disorder; an overwhelming illness that can literally paralyse sufferers.
Panic disorder and anxiety attacks are the most common anxiety disorders and affect at least 20% of adult Americans. In an interview with Fiona Shield for Celebrity Angels, Jemma described how the crippling disorder adversely affected her life on a daily basis.
“The attacks are so random and debilitating that you become fearful of the fear that they bring. You start to anticipate them and find yourself doing anything to avoid them. I stopped driving on my own; I manipulated my life so that when I had to go somewhere, I had someone with me. I couldn’t go into the supermarket or anywhere crowded. If I was going to stay at someone’s house for the weekend, I would be anxious for about ten days before and would insist on knowing how close they lived to a hospital. The symptoms were so real that I believed I could have a heart attack at any time.”
A panic attack is an exaggeration of the body’s normal response to fear or stress. According to the Anxiety and Panic Disorder Center of Los Angeles, when we experience a threatening situation, the ‘fight or flight‘ response takes over and the body prepares itself for danger by releasing adrenalin. The physical symptoms that accompany this include rapid heart rate, palpitations and an increase in blood pressure and hyperventilation.
For most of us these symptoms taper off and the body is restored to it’s normal state but when the body produces too much adrenalin, the sufferer can be left experiencing absolute terror that can linger on for hours. In the worst case scenarios a person might pass out but according to records nobody has ever died as a result of a panic attack.
Jodie suffered from the disorder throughout her twenties and she credits Charles Linden ( who developed the Linden Method) with helping her find mechanisms to deal with panic. Experiencing up to 20 panic attacks a day, Linden came up with a routine to treat his own symptoms and break the habitual nature of anxiety.
Although there is no “quick fix”, Linden suggests practising the following techniques to help divert a panic attack:
- The dive reflex– When you feel a panic attack building up, take a towel, soak it with cold water then place it on the back of your neck. You can also splash your face with cold water.
- Diversion– Do anything to divert your mind. Put on headphones and listen to music, practical chores, count trees or lampposts, immerse yourself in whatever is present and practical at the time.
- Eat a cold apple– When you feel an attack is imminent take an apple from the fridge and eat it very slowly. This will help to slow your breathing and the coldness of the apple helps to create positive, non-anxious sensations.
To learn more about his anxiety elimination techniques visit www.charles-linden.com