Posted 8/4/2013 6:59 AM (GMT -6)
I've been panic free for almost 2 years now. I had previously been stricken with daily panic attacks for the past 8 years or so. It had gotten increasingly so bad that I almost became agoraphobic. Basically, anytime I got off my couch, I would feel panic or anxiety. My story is a long one, and very similar to a lot of people who have posted on this forum. I wanted to post not so much to share my stories of panic - how I couldn't bend over without feeling like I was going to have a heart attach or how my husband had to take me to the emergency room more than one time because I was pulling my hair out (literally) and feeling like I was going to die - how I lost years of my life to fear and panic. Years with my daughter and husband that I will never get back.
I wanted to post to let those of you know what worked for me. How I conquered my panic. And believe me, if I can do it, so can you. So, as you have, I'm sure, I tried all the meds Zoloft, Xanax, -- I even went to a naturalist doctor that gave some pellets of some-kind (I can't remember the name). Anyway, xanax would work temporarily to fix the panic while I was having a panic attack -- but nothing I was doing was preventing them.
After doing some internet research I discovered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as an option of therapy to treat anxiety/panic disorder. I dont know whether it was because I was just ready to be panic free or because I had an amazing therapist, but I swear to God, within 3 therapy sessions I was panic free. I still had anxiety -- don't get me wrong -- but no more debilitating panic attacks. The most profound thing that my therapist said to me was that in the history of the world, Panic had never killed anyone. Wow. So obvious but I had never thought of it that way. Bungee jumpers, sky divers-- they pay big money to feel the way I do when I'm having a PA --- heart racing, adrenaline pumping so hard it's making my fingers numb. Really? Are these people cray cray?? So basically after hearing a lot of anecdotes from my therapist like these -- I started to "push" myself.
First, I started by bathing my (at the time 2 year old) daughter. Seems simple right. Previously-- I had been so scared of bending over the tub that my husband had been pretty much bathing her every night for a year with no help from me. So, my first homework was to bath her. It was scary, I barely made it through. I kept telling myself over and over -- Panic has never killed anyone. You are fine. You are fine. I kept chanting this mantra until the bath was done. i had done it. It had been awful and scary but I did it. I had a small victory under my belt.
Next, my homework assignment was to take my daughter to the grocery store by myself ( although i had anxiety before I had my daughter it was definitely exacerbated after I had her -- a whole other story -- but I just wanted to point out alot of my homework focused on things to do with her b/c that's they stuff I wanted to be able to do). Anyway, so she, myself, and my husband drove to the grocery store. He stayed in the car. We went inside. Again, it was scary - I felt anxiety -- but I kept chanting " Panic has never killed anyone. You are fine. You are fine." Once again - believe or not I made it out alive!!
See - that's the key. The key to success in conquering your panic is Living Life!! Doing the things you're scared of and when you survive something in your mind clicks --- hey, if I do this thing it really won't kill me! For me, it took days of doing these things and being "uncomfortable" before I felt semi-normal again.
That's right, I said Days! And I had been panicking for YEARS!!! Days to cure myself!! The biggest hurdle anyone reading this will have to over-come is thinking that you are different. That your panic is so much worse than mine was. Or that you've been through bad things in your life that keep you from being able to conquer your panic. I'm hear to tell you -- you're not special. I know how you feel. So do millions of other people. What separates you from them is whether or not you want to try to change or thinking and actually get your life back!
I hope this helps someone who was feeling as low as I was. There is life after panic disorder!!! I'm proof!