As soon as we walked into the convention center, I was a wreck. I got overheated and sweaty, I was breathing fast, I was shaking, and I felt sick. I was having a terrible panic attack. No matter what I did- deep breathing, repeating to myself that I was safe, talking to my family to distract me- nothing stopped the panic and I did not have my Ativan with me. I went into the convention center and saw a corsetiere booth and knew I could stop my panic attack in two minutes.
At another convention I had bought a corset as a costume piece and while wearing it I noticed I was calm and did not feel my usual constant anxiety or have panic attacks.
As soon as the corset was laced up, I calmed down. My husband and son were surprised at my almost instant turn around. We were able to continue our vacation and I had no more panic that weekend, all because of the corset.
|Copyright: J. Norris|
It is not surprising to me that a corset can calm panic, since deep touch pressure has been used for many years with animals (such as the Thundershirt), and now for people with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Deep touch pressure became more popular and widely studied by Dr. Temple Grandin after she discovered that she was calmed after putting herself into a squeeze chute made for cows.
The corset is not that different than the weighted clothing they make for autistic children. The nice thing about the corset is that you can adjust the amount of pressure throughout the day. There are also different lengths of corsets. You can get some that are smaller which cover mostly just your waist (waist cincher or short underbust corset), or one that goes farther up your back and chest (overbust corset), depending on how much pressure you need over your body. When I am really manic in the evenings sometimes I will put on my obverbust corset, which covers my whole torso. They do make corsets for men as well and you can get a corset made to your exact measurements and body shape, such as an asymmetrical corsets if you have one hip higher than the other. You can wear corsets under your clothes, but I find it more uncomfortable and a bit hard to handle because you can not adjust the pressure of the corset if it is under your clothes, especially a dress.
|Corset under clothes. Copyright: J. Norris|
For me, wearing a corset is a quick and safe fix for panic and mania. I can wear it all day, it's adjustable, and it does not cause addiction like anti-anxiety medications such as Ativan do. I would like to use Ativan all day due to how much anxiety I have, but I can't because it is an addictive substance. However, I can use the corset all the time and it is totally safe. (Read about corset safety here.)
P.S.: The corset I am wearing in these photos is the short underbust corset from Timeless Trends.