Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Part 2

I guess the only reason I did a "Part 2" was because I ran out of time to finish earlier. At any rate... I was saying that my anxiety and panic attacks had kept me almost homebound and my first attempt to seek counseling was not productive at all. Several years after that, when my kids were growing up my panic had started to branch out. Now I would think about almost anything long enough and it would incite panic in me. From being alone, to being in crowds... anything that made me even slightly uncomfortable somehow got intensified when I started pondering the situation. That's when I decided to give counseling another shot. This time the counselor I went to was far more helpful. He gave me insights into what might be the cause of my situation, and offered tips that were helpful in dealing with the physical symptoms. The underlying causes have been difficult to pinpoint but have a lot to do with insecurities I felt growing up. I saw that counselor for about five years and did make some progress, but when it came right down to it the only one who could help me was me. I had to make a decision to want to beat this so I could live a normal life. It's only been in the last year or so that I've made any more progress, but I feel that maybe , before too long, I'll be able to take some significant steps toward recovery. To people who don't understand why I can't just grit my teeth and make myself get better I often compare myself to an alcoholic in that he can be sober for a long time, but it might only take one drink to fall off the wagon. In my case, I can get used to driving a certain road and be fine, but sometimes if I don't drive that road for a long time the anxieties come right back when I go on it again.

So here I am today, just a little better than I was when I was 22 and this situation first manifested itself, but I have to say that I have a much better feeling about the future. I'm not sure if it's other things that are overshadowing my anxieties or whether I'm just learning to live with them a little better, but hopefully I'll be able to come on here and give myself (since I'm the only one who reads this) encouraging updates.


Blogger Coloratura said...

Tim - I am so glad I read your post on this. Panic attacks are more common that you might think.

I had them in my twenties, very badly. Several of my family members have had them as well. I was lucky in that my sister-in-law knew a lot about them and was able to help me get over them, mostly with literature and some relaxation tapes.

Please find a specialist for this disorder. It is -highly- treatable. There are therapists who specialize in this and they will help you to get better. It sounds like you have suffered a long, long time with this. Much longer than you needed to. I can't believe the first person you went to told you to 'get out more'... there are so many crackpots in the mental health field.

I wish I could recommend someone in your area, but I don't know of anyone. But get out the phone book and make sure you find someone who specializes in anxiety disorders.

One thing I am gladd to see: you have been exercising recently. Exercise help a LOT for anxiety attacks. As I'm sure you know by know, the anxiety you feel is caused by a sudden surge of adrenalin. That is what makes your heart race, possibly makes you sweat as if you just ran a race and makes you want to run around. Your body is actually full of a chemical that is screaming to all your cells to do just that.
So exercise can often ward off an anxiety attack.

My SIL had me do breathing exercises. Sometimes if I felt one coming on I would simply just starting doing jumping jacks and that would head it off.

Anyway, I'm not a licensed therapist, but I justed wanted to let you know that you do not need to suffer from this any longer and that you can get really good help from someone who specializes in this.

Good luck and I hope you find someone good to work with.

12:20 PM  

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