الأربعاء، 1 يونيو، 2011

How To Stop Panic Attacks

I’ve got some questions for you. Think carefully about your answers...

    * Do you spend a lot of your time fearing your next panic attack, wondering when it’s going to strike, and how bad it will be?
    * Have you ever had a panic attack that made you feel like you were going to lose your mind and go insane?
    * Are you living in fear all the time, even though you sometimes don’t even know what you’re scared of?
    * Have you tried everything you can think of to win your battle with panic and anxiety, and yet you’re still right where you’ve always been - a prisoner to your anxiety and fear?
    * Do you fear that there’s no way out and that your anxiety will never stop?
    * Can you remember a time when you didn’t feel this anxiety and this fear and you were happy and full of hope, and does that memory seem so distant it’s almost not real?
    * Have you ever had a panic attack that was so strong you were sure you were having a heart attack or dying, and did you end up in the ER only to be told it was anxiety?
    * Do you live your life around your anxiety, missing out on things you want to do, full of regret that you’re missing opportunities you’ll never have again?
    * Do you ever feel completely detached from the world - like you’re living in a dream and not in control of anything you say or do?

If you're anything like I was 3 years ago, then you probably answered "yes" to quite a few of those questions.
Living In Hell, Every Day, Every Minute

Three years ago my life was a living Hell.

A “normal” day for me back then would include 10 or 15 panic attacks. They were HUGE attacks too. The kind that would leave me curled up in a corner somewhere, crying, shaking, too exhausted to do anything.

It didn’t get much better when the attacks stopped. Because even then I had to live with the general anxiety that had ruined my life for the previous 17 years.

And I was living in fear, all day, every day.
Scared Of Dying, Scared Of Living, Scared Of Everything

I was scared that any minute I’d have another panic attack. When an attack came I was scared I was going to die.

When my anxiety caused physical symptoms like headaches, dizziness, depersonalization, and palpitations, I was scared I had some terrible illness that was going to kill me.

If I had to leave the “safety” of my house I was terrified I’d have a panic attack out in the street.

And pretty much every minute of my day I was scared that my life would always be that way. That it would never get better.

So when I say I lived in fear, I mean it.

I tried everything possible to stop my anxiety and panic, and my fear. I really did.

I lost count of how many times I saw my doctor. And seeing her wasn’t an easy thing to do when just the thought of leaving the house was enough to make me throw up.

In the end she put me on medication. First sedatives, which numbed me to the point where half the time I didn’t know where I was.

Then anti-depressants.

And not just one anti-depressant. Three of them. Because the first two caused such unbearable side-effects I couldn’t stand them for more than a couple of days.

I was on a cocktail of drugs for more than 9 months, and you know the crazy thing? My anxiety and panic were as bad as ever. And I was still having all the panic attacks. And I was still living in fear.

Actually, things were worse. Now, as well as my anxiety problems, I also had to deal with the side-effects from the medications I was taking.

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My family were telling me to get some help.

Some psychiatry-type help.

But I’d already had 3 months of sessions with a psychologist 6 months before.

The psychologist had me talking to empty chairs where my dead father was “supposed” to be sitting. Really helpful stuff.

My sessions with her were pointless, and seeing her each week had become one of my biggest worries. And extra fears and worries were the last thing I needed.

I’d tried to help myself by reading books on anxiety too. I read dozens of them. Stuff on cognitive behavioural therapy, distraction techniques, relaxation, positive thinking.

I’d tried it all.
Hitting Rock Bottom...

And even after everything, I still found myself curled up in a ball in the corner of my bedroom one night, having the longest, most awful, most scary panic attack of my life.

This was two and a half years ago now.

My memory of that night will never leave me. From midnight until 7 the next morning I’d had one long and unbearable and terrifying panic attack.

It just wouldn’t stop.

I really thought I was losing my mind. I’d locked myself in my bedroom because I was sure if any of my family got in they would have me put in a mental asylum.

When the morning came, and my mind had cleared enough for me to think straight, I knew it had to stop. It had to end.

I knew that the anxiety and the panic and the fear had to end.

It was killing me. I couldn’t go on like that.

I made a decision while I was still curled up in a ball in the corner of my bedroom floor. I would find a way. I would do whatever it took to stop my panic, my anxiety, my fear.

I would do whatever it took to get my life back.

What I did that day was drag myself up off the floor and over to my computer. I went to Amazon.com and looked up books on the subject of fear.

Because it was the fear the previous night that had been unbearable. It was the fear that had made me sure I was losing my mind, and it was the fear that had made me sure I would lose my life to anxiety and panic.

I wanted to know everything there was to know about fear so that maybe I would get some control over it.

So I ordered 5 books on fear, almost randomly.

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