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Help with panic attacks...

I've had a number of people get in touch about panic attacks, fears and phobias. Here's an article I wrote a few years ago for panic attacks - I hope it helps, Pam x

Here’s Help for You to Face Your Fears And Banish Panic Attacks

A recent National Geographic survey found that although we don't live in a country populated by deadly creepy-crawlies, 20% of us fear spiders, 19.7% fear snakes, and many fear other creatures like crocodiles unlikely to crawl across our paths.

Why fear such creatures when they're not a threat? Evolutionary psychology suggests these fears evolved to protect our ancient ancestors and are buried deep in our psyche. Once rational fears established a "fight or flight" response in ancient people where they'd either face-and-fight that sabre-toothed tiger, or flee if there was an escape route.

We may not have to fend off wild creatures but fearful responses are increasing to aspects of modern life, too, like using technology or giving a work presentation. These fear responses range from classic phobias (eg, acrophobia - fear of heights) and generalised anxiety, to panic attacks - probably the most disturbing fear-based experience of all. Many are irrational but others are a response to increasing demands on our time.

It's estimated around 18% of the UK population experience one or more of these fear responses. These are no laughing matter when you consider the story of Brenda Sharpe, 67, who recently died when she crashed her car having spotted a spider dangling above her. I increasingly see such panic and panic attacks in otherwise able people. Make no mistake, our modern life is conducive to overwhelming people, leaving them stressed, fearful and panicked.

Our "Flight Or Fight" Response Fails In Modern Life

Why wouldn’t our flight-or-fight response continue to protect us in modern life? Because many feel trapped by the way they live. They have nowhere to "flee", e.g., there’s no escaping mobiles, e-mail and Blackberries. People feel obliged to keep them on 24/7. We’re also not supposed to "fight". Pistols drawn at dawn with your over-demanding manager? It wouldn't happen! This leaves many feeling helpless. That's when fears, that were once faced or fled from, override their ability to cope and they panic.


Many self-reliant types attempt to stifle fears (e.g., deadlines, work-overload, etc.). But unless they change aspects of their live styles causing them anxiety, these fears burst forth in the shape of panic attacks with the right trigger. 


What Finally Triggers A Panic Attack?

When you've been stifling worries and stress there are a number of triggers for panic attacks. Common triggers include: feeling under-prepared for a business presentation, being short of time, having to rush between meetings, feeling behind at work, and taking on too many responsibilities. Negative lifestyle choices like too much caffeine, eating processed foods high in salt and/or sugar, and excess alcohol intake are also triggers. Others include, e.g., arguing with a colleague, friend or loved one, bereavement, relationship breakdown, not having time off, and having to juggle too many things like the demands of career and children that are often incompatible.


Signs And Symptoms Of A Panic Attack –

Symptoms vary widely between people and from one attack to another. Symptoms include a clamping or tightening sensation across the chest, shortness of breath, a fluttering sensation and/or palpitations of the heart, feeling dizzy, having sweaty palms, dry mouth, shaking, general anxiety, fearfulness and finding it hard to think clearly. In an extreme panic attack you may experience a feeling of being detached from reality or disorientation.


You might anticipate a panic attack as you identify the symptoms building. But what's daunting about many attacks is they suddenly strike as if from "nowhere". Because certain symptoms of panic attack may also indicate other issues like heartburn or more seriously, heart problems, you should see your GP about any that worry you.


Five Point Panic Plan -

Unfortunately as the symptoms build with an attack so too your panic grows. This induces a vicious cycle bringing on a more intense attack. Try these five points if finding yourself in the middle of an attack.

1/ Remove your self from any crowded conditions.

2/ Sit down if at all possible and steady your self.

3/ Regain control of your breathing by inhaling slowly to the count of five and exhaling slowly to the count of five.

4/ Sip water slowly (carry a water bottle with you).

5/ Distract yourself, e.g., phone a friend or think about something unrelated to your day like a calming holiday memory.


Over the long term lifestyle changes are necessary to prevent attacks. It's no good simply "dealing with" an attack when it occurs. Yes, a few are lucky and only ever have one attack. Once they start, if you don't make relevant changes to overcome them, they tend to continue. It's important to re-evaluate the following areas of your life.

 * General time management - are you always time-short? Start saying No to extra responsibilities and worry less about getting further ahead at work, instead enjoy a better quality of life.

 * Work and family - discuss with your manager how to streamline work and be more efficient. At home delegate chores and let any perfectionist tendencies go. Face conflict head on calmly. Resist sweeping things under the carpet.

 * Your relationships - are they unhappy or relegated to second place? Time to nurture them, as that’s a protective factor against future attacks.

 * Overall health - if you're eating on the run, drinking to relieve stress, smoking and not exercising, such things exacerbate attacks.

 * Leisure time - just as loving relationships improve your ability to prevent attacks so too does giving yourself time to enjoy a book, a walk, a film, etc.

 * Relaxation and breathing techniques - as attacks involve many physical symptoms it's important to learn to relax major muscle groups and breathe in a controlled fashion. Practise daily sitting still, warm and comfortably. In turn, tense and then relax every major muscle group. Meditate on your breathing making it measured and relaxed.


Ultimately you can get help and help yourself – you don’t have to live a life of fear and panic.


Useful contacts:

No Panic Organisation Telephone - 0808-808-0545; Website

National Phobics Society - 0870-122-2325; Website

Calling all singles - A Few Important Tips If YOU Have Commitment Issues!

My latest dating column from Wingman Dating App...

In my last column I covered how to ‘help along’ someone you’re dating who obviously has commitment issues – even if they don’t realise they do. However, what if YOU are the one who has commitment issues? How do you move to an ‘emotionally-ready place’ to actually commit to someone you’ve met?

Many singles wrongly assume that if they meet someone with commitment issues, that person is very happy not committing. That’s simply not true and I’ve worked with many people who have commitment issues, who are ready to try and find real emotional intimacy with someone.

Here are three key tips for you to get you ready for commitment:

1/ Look inwards and do a bit of navel-gazing about where your anxiety over commitment comes from. Did your parents have a difficult, even traumatic, relationship? Did this leave you feeling that relationships are scary things rather than something to be treasured?

If so, begin to actively look for healthy relationships that you can admire and even emulate. Maybe a best friend has a very happy relationship. Maybe one of your siblings has developed a satisfying and committed relationship. Actively begin to challenge your thinking that relationships are unhappy and emotionally scary places.

2/ Does the thought of committing to someone strike fear into you because you worry that you’ll get bored? This is another major reason why some people – who are natural born risktakers - shy away from committing. They love the thrill of new things and that includes finding new people to date.

Two things to consider – make sure that you choose a hobby or pastime that really satisfies your need for excitement. That way there is less pressure on a new relationship.

Plus, the next time you start dating someone, make sure that you suggest fun and varied dates. Prove to yourself that dating doesn’t have to be dull. And alongside this, start to value the quieter, loving moments that a new relationship can offer you and your new partner.

3/ Learn to be honest about the worries or anxieties you have about commitment. Keeping such things secret means you’re probably likely to dump people very quickly after a couple dates. That way you don’t have to face any emotionally intimate conversations about your feelings.

Start small and feel your way around a deeper and more emotionally intimate conversation. You’ll feel less threatened if you take these conversations one step at a time.

You might raise the general topic of serious relationships by saying how you’ve tended to avoid getting involved. And that you realise you’d like to relate at a deeper level going forward.

Listen to what that new person has to say to that. Hopefully they’ll be encouraging! And not run a mile if they’re looking for something serious and are now frightened you’ll dump them the minute things look a bit serious. Stop fearing that love must be like a ball and chain!

Good luck and happy dating, Pam x

Check out Dr Pam’s art gallery and shop for gift ideas, fantastic for a loved one: 

 Ball And Chain Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures



Join me for fantastic guests on my show this Thursday, 2 PM, UK time!

You can comment live during the show on the Men's Radio Station's social media platforms like their YouTube and their Facebook channels.
This week I have extra special guests lined up and we'll be talking about things that matter to your life. Kicking off is the awesome Charlie King who'll be sharing his journey from TV personality and personal trainer to entrepreneur. If you want to get a business off the ground then please listen in!
Next up is the fab Eleanor Conway - a stand-up comedian with incredible talent who'll be talking about the dating scene, overcoming addiction and wanting to stay childfree.
Last but not least is the wonderful Helen Hand, make-up artist to the stars, who'll be sharing tips on how make-up can improve your well-being.
I look forward to you commenting on the topics, love, Pam x

Don't miss my FANTASTIC GIVEAWAY on my Twitter page with ITV...

Please check my Twitter page @drpamspurr for your chance to win a fantastic bundle of DVDs and Father's Day hamper courtesy of the lovely people at ITV Studios!
It's easy, you simply retweet any of my competition tweets and follow my handle for a chance to win.
Good luck, fingers crossed, Pam x

It's show time! Please join me at 2 PM, UK time...

Join me today, Thursday, May 27 at 2 PM, UK time for my radio show - you can comment live during the show on the station's social media platforms - on these two links - love to hear your thoughts, stories and comments!  
Three fantastic guests join me kicking off with Jay James, X Factor star and member of The Overtones – will be catching up on his news and discussing what's trending on social media and what difference it makes to our lives.
Next up is tabloid queen Dawn Neesom – she and I will be discussing women in Fleet Street – how to get there, what's it like and why we need more women there!
Last but not least is TV psychologist Anjula Mutanda - she and I will talk about how many people have decided to make life changing decisions during the pandemic about relationships, work and other things!
I look forward to hearing from you, Pam x

Calling singles! Three (or Four) Is Company - Dating Someone With Children Part 2...

Here's Part 2 of my new dating column for Wingman Dating App...

In my last column I covered some important thoughts about when you first start dating someone with a child or children. Now it’s time for some practical tips to help make your new relationship a success!

Top tips for dating a parent -

* Take dating slowly - Don't expect to plunge into this complex situation. Although parents are individuals in their own right, they obviously have lots to think about when first dating. There is no need to rush something that could be worth taking slowly.

This includes not expecting to see him/her frequently at first. A parent has less time for dating and expecting them to make more time for you is a big pressure.

*A question of sex - When it comes to sex it can become tricky and you have to be inventive. At their place you’ll need to wait until the children are in bed. Children are very good at interrupting things so you should both talk about how to handle it if a child gets up, wanting a glass of water or something, and it’s obvious you’re there very late at night.

*Meet the children - Undoubtedly they – as the parent – will guide when this happens but it's savvy of you to suggest keeping it low-key. Don't expect, for instance, to spend a whole Saturday when you first meet their child/children. Suggest meeting somewhere casual for an ice cream is a great starting point. If it’s going well you can continue to the park or have a meal. If it’s a bit awkward the first time then keeping it to having a treat is helpful.

*Be confident - I personally experienced lots of anxiety becoming a step-mum in my first marriage, especially as I was a very young. I combated that by expecting the best to happen for all of us. I decided not to buy into any negative stepmother myths. Keeping positive and confident definitely helped my stepsons when they felt unsure of things.

* Respect their past – They’ll have their ways of doing things, especially with their children! Instead of sweeping in and trying to create everything from scratch, respect the things they enjoy doing. Demonstrate that you're coming along for the ride - you're not trying to be the driver.

If you also have children

If you both have children this can be a challenging juggling act.

*Protective parents - It's natural for you both to be protective of your children. If there are rows between your children it's hard to resist defending your child’s side. Resist! Early on you two should form ‘Team Adults’ presenting an excellent example of not taking sides but trying to ensure all are treated fairly.

*Parental love doesn't happen overnight - You love your child/children, they love theirs - but loving each other's takes time. Think of how a friendship grows - that's what you can expect from your feelings for your stepchildren-to-be.

*Regular relationship MOT - This might seem a challenge too far but it can work wonders for everyone to sit around the dinner table and check how they're all feeling. If you encourage a supportive atmosphere, it can have enormous benefits.

* The family that plays together - It helps you to bond by finding a new activity to do together. From swimming to cycling, or whatever you all enjoy, start forming a couple new traditions.

Good luck and happy dating, Pam x

Check out Dr Pam’s art gallery and shop for gift ideas, fantastic for a loved one: 

 Multiple Hearts Valentine's Day Free Design 4X4, 5X7 & 6X10 Machine  Embroidery Design - Br… | Machine embroidery, Machine embroidery designs,  Embroidery design sets



Join me Thursday, May 27 at 2 PM, UK time for my radio show...

You can comment live during the show on the station's social media platforms -
on these two links - love to hear your thoughts, stories and comments!  
On this week's show I have three fantastic guests kicking off with Jay James, X Factor star and member of The Overtones – will be catching up on his news and discussing what's trending on social media and what difference it makes to our lives.
Next up is tabloid queen Dawn Neesom – she and I will be discussing women in Fleet Street – how to get there, what's it like and why we need more women there!
Last but not least is TV psychologist Anjula Mutanda - she and I will talk about how many people have decided to make life changing decisions during the pandemic about relationships, work and other things!
I look forward to hearing from you, Pam x

Please don't miss my radio show Thursday the 13th of May!

I have brilliant guests for you this Thursday at 2 PM, UK time on the Men's Radio Station - repeated on The Women's Radio Station Friday at 4 PM, UK time!

The inimitable Big Ben Ofoedu, the wonderful Annemarie Bickerton and Robert Grace, plus the gorgeous Sam Tomlin will make it unmissable - plus you can comment live on their social media platforms - here is their FaceBook link and here's their YouTube link!

So ask my guests questions or comment on the issues we'll discuss!

Love, Pam x



Calling all singles who are dating someone with children...

How to Date When His/Her Children Come As Part of the new column for Wingman dating App.

I’ve worked with countless singles and dating someone who has children is a very common theme that people worry about. Some singles have a strict rule never to date anyone with children and that’s their prerogative. But for those who are more open-minded, they still have a number of concerns.


When you first meet someone it’s easy to make a quick assessment about whether they’re a suitable match. He or she mentions their child or children and that can be a deal breaker. You can’t cherry pick with such a potential partner – you can’t have them without also ‘having’ their children some of the time. Here are a few key thoughts to consider.

Communication is key

After my divorce, I was always open about how important my children were to me. If you sweep your responsibilities under the carpet – like saying your children spend “so much time” with your ex partner – you’re bound to hit trouble. If you’re doing it because you think that new person you’ve met isn’t that keen on children, they are NOT the person for you.

If you meet someone with children, except the fact that it’s quite natural to worry about how they will balance developing a new romance with you, with their responsibilities as a parent. And that’s where clear communication comes in. Ask what would be most helpful, for instance, should you set up a regular night of the week to have a date? Will that help with their childcare?

Being straightforward with your communication by asking such questions, or making such suggestions, will really help cut through loads of potential problems!

Compromise over sharing time

It’s probably going to be the case that his or her child care plans are set in stone. And for the relationship to stand a chance, you need to learn how to work around them from the outset. Otherwise, it’s easy for resentment to set in. You resent the fact that he/she can’t come with you to some event as your plus-one because they’re looking after their child/children.

Look at the bigger picture, try to find compromises with special events or get togethers, but ultimately don’t rock the boat over their childcare plans.

Be mindful of jealous feelings

Jealous feelings are fairly common. After all, the fact he or she has children shows you that they’ve been in a serious relationship before you came along. It’s crucial to be mindful of such feelings of jealousy. Remind yourself that you also have a past relationship track record even if you don’t have children.

Also beware of feeling jealous towards the children themselves. You are not in competition with them so challenge such feelings as being pretty natural but also ones that need to be dampened down quickly.

You’ll never be their dad/mum

Over time you will hopefully get closer to his or her children and might even feel part of the family. That's a fantastic position to develop but never let unexpected motivations like wanting to be loved/adored by their children to drive your behaviour. Think of things being more akin to you becoming a role model – perhaps like being an uncle/aunt to their children. And accepting you'll never be their dad/mum.

Feelings can get complicated for you, him/her and the children

You may have the best intentions for developing a great relationship with your new partner and the children but it's not that simple. It’s crucial to realise that while your relationship may be an exciting beginning for you and him/her, for the kids it’s an ending! It puts a full stop on their hopes that their parents get back together. They have a right to feel unhappy at this loss. If you can accept their feelings are understandable, sooner or later they’ll come round to accepting you.

In my next column I’ll provide you with some top tips for taking this new relationship the full distance.

Good luck and happy dating, Pam x

Check out Dr Pam’s art gallery and shop for gift ideas, fantastic for a loved one:

 10 Easy Valentine's Day Doodles - Amy Latta Creations



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