There is no “comfortable” way to recover from panic disorder.
Don’t waste your time or money on books, CDs, DVDs or websites that claim to have a “cure” for panic attacks unless you’re willing to face your fear head on as part of the process. Nobody can get you around that. Nobody. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. The very heart of recovery lies in learning not to be afraid of panic. The only way to do that is to fully experience panic without fleeing, avoiding, or adding more fear to the situation. This means that you will experience times of extreme fear and discomfort. That’s just the way it has to be. The good news is that if you’re willing to do that a few times, it will begin to get easier very quickly. It doesn’t take long for your courage to pay off as you suddenly find that you are no longer deathly afraid of having a panic attack. Reach that point and you’re most of the way home!
You have to be afraid, before you can not be afraid.
Learning to not fear how you feel is a huge part of truly overcoming your anxiety and panic issues.
Its important to not react physically to the symptoms of anxiety and panic. Reacting in fear only leads to the belief that something you did somehow made you “safer”, when in reality there is no danger at hand. Lets talk about how to just let your anxiety symptoms be without engaging with them or focusing on them. We talk about using coping techniques and also taking an active approach to even welcoming your symptoms or daring them to take their best shot at you.
Lets talk about avoidance and safety behaviors and how they’re a bad thing when it comes to dealing with anxiety and panic issues. Avoidance and safety rituals reinforce the mistaken belief that you need to be “saved” from your anxiety. We contrast this with the use of positive coping techniques that help teach you that you’re in no real danger to begin with.
Today Billy and I discuss the role of coping techniques in dealing with anxiety and panic issues. We touch on breathing, muscle relaxation and meditation techniques designed to quiet the mind on demand. Coping techniques are designed to limit the duration and intensity of a panic attack, not to stop it dead it its tracks. Coping techniques must be learned and practiced all the time in order to build the skills required to use them properly. We also briefly touch on important difference between coping and safety/avoidance behaviors.
When it comes to dealing with anxiety issues, you must understand that fear feeds the beast! Your symptoms – the way you feel – do not equal anxiety. Rather, its how you react, and the fear you create in your own head, that fuels the fear cycle and ultimately your anxiety.
Today Billy and I discuss the fact that the fear we feel when dealing with panic and anxiety is real, but the danger is not. There’s no real danger underneath that fear. Understanding that this is false danger is a key toward making forward progress in recovery. We discuss false danger during periods of high anxiety and “future perceived danger” that drives the lifestyle changes which can become the hallmark of an actual anxiety disorder like agoraphobia.
Lets look at the basics of recovering from anxiety, panic and agoraphobia related issues. First in a series. Billy and I talk about the need to accept that the recovery process will include feeling afraid and uncomfortable, and about building a recovery plan based on acceptance, courage, persistence and patience.
Find the original article the series is based on here.
Once you understand that exercise isn’t really making things “worse”, you can work on solving this common problem. Lets review what’s really going on, and look at how to re-introduce exercise into your life in a step-by-step way. As with everything we walk about, this isn’t necessarily easy, but its absolutely worth the effort!
If you haven’t seen part 1 of this mini-series, you can find it here.
Today Holly and I discuss chapter 5 of Claire Weekes’ Hope and Help For Your Nerves. In this chapter Dr. Weekes discusses her four cornerstone principles for “curing” what she called nervous illness. We talk in detail about which each of these principles means, how to apply them when dealing with panic and anxiety issues, and we also touch on use of the word “cure”, which might not always be the best term to use. We talk about how these four principles require you to do exactly the opposite of what you’ve probably been doing to deal with your anxiety issues. What Dr Weekes calls a “cure” is a simple plan for sure, but can be difficult to execute for this reason.