Anxiety and panic attacks: How to get through my day
I have suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for years. Sometimes I can’t get out the door. I feel frightened all the time.
Anxiety and panic attacks can be absolutely devastating and crippling. Most people with anxiety have been involved in lots and lots of self-treatment. They’ve done all sorts of things to get rid of it.
We often focus on the thing we’re afraid of, and try to somehow get rid of what we’re afraid of.
We go to a doctor and want them to give us something to make the anxiety stop, either medicine or some kind of coping strategy that will help calm us down.
We get involved in a lot of self-criticism and judgement. We self-medicate.
We do a lot of distracting so as not to feel the anxiety. We try and avoid the triggers.
These strategies are all useful but unfortunately, many of these things we do, tend to perpetuate the disorder.
The most important goal in the treatment of anxiety is to to be able to accept the experience of arousal and not to freak out with aversion responses. We need to learn how to AVOID avoidance – to avoid this natural tendency to get rid of what’s uncomfortable for us. It’s only when we’re no longer trying to fix the problem that the problem tends to go away on its own.
There is a value to anxiety and it’s important to recognise that the anxious approach to life has probably been useful at some stage in your life.
The antidote to it isn’t so much going to be how to calm down, but how to practise more acceptance, and this can include acceptance of adverse outcomes in life e.g. ‘All right, so I didn’t show up at the airport 3 hours in advance and yes, I was rushed, and that was ok’.
Contemporary society is getting more anxious because we’re moving at a pace that’s too fast for discerning thought. How we interpret things is coloured very much by our past experience including how much unresolved trauma we’ve had.
If you’ve been hurt in the past and haven’t resolved all the feelings about that, you’re going to experience all sorts of things as quite threatening.
It’s important to seek out a therapist who is experienced in working with anxiety and panic attacks. Call or come in for a free 20 minute consultation and see if I am that person.