hello to you all. i am new to this website and i am so happy to have stumbled upon it...so nice to see how other people share know and understand what i have been through. something about knowing that im not alone is very theraputic in itself. i have dealt with panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder for close to 30 years. when i was diagnosed with these disorders i was working and had health insurance so i was able to see a psychiatrist twice. then i was laid off and lost my health insurance and the therapy sessions had to stop since i could not afford them out of my own pocket. since then i have done alot of research on panic disorders and have learned alot. i would like to share some of these things with you in the hopes that i will be helping others to overcome this disorder as i have.
a friend of mine actually shared a method she used for overcoming her attacks and it worked for me as well. its a bit unusual but the more you think about it the more sense it makes. i used to get up to three attacks in a day so i know how scary and real the symptoms can get. but you have to keep in mind that they are just that...symptoms. no matter how real they seem ..they cannot hurt you. a panic attack will never harm you. yes they are scary as hell but you are never in any real danger. so keeping this in mind..you have to treat the attack as an annoying "thing" in your life. when you feel an attack coming on...welcome it. acknowledge that its there. dont try to ignore it. know all the symptoms that you have experienced with the attack before and expect them again. this is where you stand up to the attack. this is where you challenge the attack..basically you are bullying the attack. focus on the symptoms as they happen. when you start to feel your heart beating faster..challenge the attack to make it beat faster. feeling a bit dizzy? ask the attack to make you dizzier. your breathing changing? tell the attack to make it worse! yell at it! scream at it! bully it! "cmon damnit! make me feel worse!". thing is that it wont make you feel worse because it cant. it cant make you any dizzier and it cant make your heart beat any faster. the symptoms will never get any worse than your last attack...and you got through that one right? and the one before that one...and before that one...etc. once you see that the attack is no more of a threat than the others you got through..you can then look at the attack and start putting it down. say something like "yeah i knew you were just a weak failure...nothing for me to worry about..you sorry little creep. ok you can leave now." you are basically changing the way you mind reacts to the attacks. you are now in control and your mind sees that. so everytime an attack comes along...say "oh hey its you again...ok do your best...is that all you got? just go then". i know it sounds crazy but it worked for me. it did take me some time..and i did fail the first couple of times...but after a while i noticed that the attacks were weaker and weaker. ..to the point where i didnt even fear them anymore..and after a while they vanished. i have now been free of panic attacks for many years. something else i should mention..i did take my ativan and that helped alot during those moments i stood up to the attacks. so if you take meds i would say to use them. having patience and faith is what got me through.
something else that helped me make sense of these pd symptoms was a comparison my friend made of the panic attack symptoms with those sensations we experience on a roller coaster. for those that have been on a roller coaster you will get what im saying. she explained how the sensations are very similar..only difference is that on a roller coaster you know why you are feeling them so they arent an issue..actually they are pretty intense and fun... but when you get them out of the blue they freak you out. think about it...on a roller coaster your heart beats faster...your adrenaline is going crazy...you get a warm feeling up the back of your head...your stomach may even feel kinda quesy...you feel nervous...a bit lightheaded...your breathing becomes more shallow...the ride scares us but yet we are having a blast on the ride right? yet when these very same sensations happen to us while sitting on our couches or driving somewhere or out shopping..all of a sudden we flip out. im not saying the attacks should be fun like a roller coaster..im just saying that we shouldnt be so scared of these symptoms or sensations because they pose no real threat to us. we have to program ourselves to not see the attacks as anything to fear. once your brain sees this all of a sudden the attacks have no hold on you. the fear isnt there to fuel it anymore..so it dies.
if you happen to try the method i shared with you ...just dont give up on yourself if it feels like its not working right away. yes it isnt easy at first..but most things are like that right? just push ahead. like i said..have patience and faith. if it works for you then please share it with others.