PANIC MONSTER DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE!
Exploding the Mystery and Myth of Anxiety Disorders
By Shari Schreiber,
going about your day as usual, and all of a sudden your heart starts
pounding, you break out in a sweat, you’re feeling dizzy or faint
and short of breath. You might be nauseous or feel like you’re choking,
and you presume you’re having a heart attack, because there's pain
or pressure in your chest! You’re almost paralyzed by
these scary sensations, and fairly certain you’re either dying or
going crazy. Welcome to your first panic attack.
seems weird, is that one day you’re fine, and the next
day you’re not. Like thousands of individuals worldwide who struggle
with feelings of panic or anxiety, you're probably wondering just
how and why this has happened to you!
mystery of Anxiety Disorder is that it
appears to "come out of nowhere" and of course,
this is perplexing to your rational mind. Since panic symptoms are
unlike anything you’ve felt before and they seem completely
beyond your control, your natural response might be to consult a
you're examined, and obvious medical concerns (like heart disease)
are ruled out, the myth your
doctor may perpetuate about your condition is, "it’s treatable,
but incurable." Next thing you know, you're leaving his/her
office with an Rx for anti-anxiety meds, and questioning if you'll
always be needing that prescription.
the time you read this, you may have had a number of these debilitating
episodes, and you're actively seeking a cure--or perhaps you've
learned to live with this issue, by making certain
adjustments and sacrifices. In either case, you're about to discover
that you can eliminate this problem fairly easily.
you're skeptical, and that's wise and healthy--in fact, I wouldn't
expect you to feel differently at this point. You've suffered terribly,
and that's why this article was written for You. Specific life experiences
have contributed to your condition, and the insights you'll acquire
here can be an important part of your healing.
You'll get the most value from this piece, if you click the hyperlinks
that take you to other pages, after you've completed reading/studying
IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE?
Panic and anxiety impact the autonomic nervous system
in your body which operates its involuntary responses
to various stressors. These 'autonomic' responses function automatically,
whether you want them to or not~ think, ‘goose bumps’ when you’re
cold or frightened, and perspiration when you’re nervous or overheated.
these lines, feelings of anxiety and panic are such intense
stressors, they trigger bodily reactions that are impossible
to ignore or brush aside as insignificant or unimportant--in other
words, you can't choose not to feel them!
Anti-anxiety meds interact with your brain to help calm and control
these reactions, but they do not address the cause of your
distress. This article helps you learn why you've
acquired this condition, and how to eliminate it once and for
understand that panic and anxiety are feeling issues.
In truth, if you'd been given the kind of attention as a child that
comforted/soothed you when you experienced pain, rather than forcing
you to put those feelings away or disregard them, you'd have learned
how to self-soothe whenever difficult feelings emerged, and you
wouldn't be wrestling with panic or anxiety attacks now.
you ever heard yourself exclaim, "whatever!"
in reference to a situation or person you're struggling with? When
we're not given comfort or soothing to help us cope with painful
emotions like disappointment, fear or frustration as kids, our only
option is to suppress these feelings--or
make them not matter. This reflex follows us into adulthood, and
is actually the root of panic problems.
to drugs and alcohol often arise in children or young adults out
of their need to manage anxious, uncomfortable or painful emotions.
Humans typically find clever ways to side-step these difficult feelings
with eating, smoking or other compulsive behaviors that may include
gambling, sex, over-work, Internet activity, etc.
you're trapped at home with Agoraphobia, you may
have already explored various methods for mitigating it, and could
be feeling discouraged that you're still suffering.
and 'do-it-yourself' programs are behaviorally based, and
your success depends on self-discipline (I hate that, don't
you?). Unfortunately, they can't target your anxiety issues in a
way that helps you overcome them, because they're not specific to
how your panic triggers were established.
this marketplace seems saturated with books, tapes and CD programs
that claim to end panic attacks, you may be like many others, who
respond best to more personalized attention.
EVERY PROBLEM, THERE'S A SOLUTION.
you're afraid of driving your car (a typical complaint) or performing
another task or function outside of your home, these obstacles can
be overcome! While reading this article, you might experience sudden
sleepiness, or maybe a little sadness. Rest assured, there's nothing
to fear from these sensations, and I encourage you to continue.
These are somatic responses, which means that a
part of you is identifying with elements being discussed
here, that may have contributed to your current struggle. It also
means that full recovery could be just around the corner.
THIS HAPPEN TO ME?!"
and panic don't just happen "out of the blue," even though
it seems this way to virtually everyone, after their first
episode. Anxiety isn't some sort of alien entity that invades your
body, when you've reached a particular age or stress level. The
roots of this problem actually go way back to early childhood, and
if you've become a People
Pleaser, you're at much higher risk for acquiring this
may have lived for many years with fear or self-judgment about feeling
and expressing certain emotions. Metaphorically speaking, after
sweeping all those feelings 'under the rug' for so long, you're
now having to maneuver around on some very lumpy terrain! As this
cannot help but impede your personal and professional strivings
or aims, how could you possibly feel safe or secure about
much of anything?
standing panic symptoms may be only part of an individual's
diagnostic picture, that's associated with Borderline Personality
Disorder. The reason BPD traits may exist, is that childhood struggles
usually prompt dissociation from difficult feelings, to survive
whatever's going on in the home at that time. Dissociation is discussed
in greater depth throughout this literature. It generally takes
the form of suppression, or forcing various emotions underground,
when they seem too dangerous to experience or express. These foundational
control issues can be resolved within effective feeling-based work.
you've been diagnosed with Anxiety or Panic Disorder, at some point
you'll probably be asking yourself at least one of the following
questions: "Do I have to take pills
the rest of my life, so I can move through my days without these
disruptive, debilitating symptoms? Should I buy tapes or CD’s that
teach me to talk myself through panic episodes, so I can eventually
manage them? Do I have enough patience/discipline to actually
use those techniques, and will they heal my anxiety
condition? Is behavioral modification or 'self-talk' a permanent
solution for this issue?" And finally, "What the heck
caused this in the first place!?"
real answer to all these questions, is No~ because they only address
the syptoms of your anxiety/panic, not the cause of it.
IN A NUTSHELL
is really just a surrogate emotion that steps-in to take
the place of important but uncomfortable feelings you'd rather not
experience, and have trained yourself to get rid of.
begins with discovering that panic and anxiety are nothing more
than very powerful feelings, that are able to break through all
emotional controls you've constructed throughout your lifetime.
Again, having discovered how to escape certain feelings, or make
them "not matter" is at the foundation
of all panic and anxiety issues.
reasons you might have had to do this are detailed below,
and keeping an open mind will be very useful in helping you mend.
For now, let's respect that you've acquired some terrific coping
skills that have helped you get through very challenging or difficult
situations. These have served you during childhood--but at this
point they're working against you, and contributing to your panic
attacks! Hang on, this is about to make much more sense . . .
ROOTS OF A PANIC TREE
As children, we all needed the kind of attention that would help
us develop healthy self-esteem. If/when we didn't get enough of
it, we began to doubt our value and lovability. As we grew, our
parents might have punished or ignored us, just for expressing feelings
that were inconvenient or unpleasant for them to accept or accommodate.
in order to obtain vital supplies of acceptance and approval, or
at least avoid alienation, we learned to appear and act a certain
way around Mom and Dad--and some of us still do! Repetition
of these experiences made us learn to suppress the feelings
that our parents treated as negative or "bad,"
such as sadness, frustration, anger, etc., ~and what was our reward
for learning to control those emotions? Occasionally we
got a bit of the attention we really needed, so we could
feel better about ourselves, and manage to get by.
adult who suppresses feelings, was generally a child who felt it
was safer to become invisible in his home, so as not to put more
burden on his parent and feel guilty for that, or be ridiculed or
physically punished for having any needs.
many of us, suppression of difficult feelings developed into a habitual
pattern of accommodation, or people
pleasing. Without highly specialized help, this tendency remains
alive forever, and impacts every aspect of our existence. In worse
case scenarios, it prompts/perpetuates Agoraphobia.
an agoraphobic, you're terrified of leaving your home, for fear
you'll experience total loss of control and humiliation, in the
midst of a panic attack. Truth is, since virtually all
unfavorable feelings have been suppressed during your lifetime,
you're now imprisoned by a limiting disorder that keeps you homebound.
The tragic outcome is, if you've never had opportunity to learn
how to deal with your feelings, your feelings will
deal with you!
attacks can keep us trapped in loveless, passionless relationships.
We cling to them, because we think we need the other person--even
if we're no longer wanting him/her, or this partner is abusive.
Quite often, it's various elements within the relationship or marriage
itself, which are triggering our anxiety! Often, if we've gained
some strength to help us deal with the source of our pain,
panic magically evaporates.
OL' HUMAN NATURE RIDES AGAIN
all equipped with an instinctual impulse to survive.
This is with us from from the time we're born~ or maybe beforehand,
and is sometimes referred to as our 'fight or flight' mechanism.
As kids, it probably felt too dangerous to take a stand and fight
with our parents, so we fled. We might
have done this by spending a lot of time in our room--or hanging
out with our friends and their families.
from these childhood 'mini-escapes,' it didn't seem practical
or possible to leave home physically, so we found ways
to sidestep our emotional pain. We did this by gradually shutting
down/denying certain feelings and needs, because when these weren't
adequately responded to, we were left with anger/rage, frustration
these emotions felt bad, we came to judge
them as bad or wrong, and methodically trained ourselves to avoid
them! Each time these emotions surface today, you might still judge
yourself as wrong/bad for having them--which reinforces
your impulse to push them further away.
are often referred to as "feelings," because we feel
them in our body. They are all extremely valuable and necessary,
because they help us respond in appropriate, emotionally congruent
ways to different situations.
feelings including physical ones, are impacted by repression and
denial; you cannot decide to 'kill off' feelings you think of
as "negative," and expect the positive ones to
remain alive and vibrant! In short, when we squelch our pain or
anger, we also squelch our joy~ and this
of course, fuels anxiety, depression and sensations of emptiness.
you’ve been programmed since childhood to believe that certain kinds
of feelings are bad or "unacceptable," you'll have a tendency
to reprimand or diminish yourself whenever they start to surface.
This can sure motivate you to want to throw away those feelings,
but what do you suppose happens to them when they're discarded~
that is, where the heck do they go??
you've been a fan of HBO's The Sopranos,
you might have learned this answer, when Dr. Melfi explained to
Tony Soprano during his therapy session, "depression is rage
turned inward." By the way, James Gandolfini's character started
his psychiatric treatment, for help with panic
attacks! Unexpressed resentment or anger and hurt also
behaviors, which severely compromise you and your relationships,
but let's come back to this later.
EMBRYOS GROW INTO PANIC MONSTERS.
When various feelings get disposed of in order to have a better
experience with Mom and Dad, it's pretty common for children to
mentally 'fast-forward' and envision a brighter future--to
escape emotional pain/discomfort in the present.
adaptive reflex that most kids acquire is; "when
I grow up, it'll be different!" This reflex is attended
by fantasies of what adulthood will be like, and what we'll have
or own in terms of a child's notion of happiness.
of these reflexes that helped us regulate internal pain or tension
as kids, was drawing comparisons to others who had it "much
worse" than we did. Our parents may have had a hand
in creating this one, by shoving platitudes down our throat; "I
cried when I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no legs,"
or you may have heard, "keep this up, and I'll give
you something to cry about!"
remarks were supposedly intended to obliterate any difficult
emotions we had to endure back then and help us cope~ but instead,
they forced our feelings underground.
there are serious, inherent problems with these coping mechanisms,
as they can easily sit for years~ like buried land mines,
waiting to blow up! On one hand, they keep us from experiencing
uncomfortable, but authentic feelings. On the other,
they set us up for disappointment and shame when we're
grown, because our adult life may not feel much happier, than when
we were kids!
is when long-held hopes and fantasies are challenged in a way that
makes us think that having failed to manfest our childhood
vision, is our fault. This terribly erroneous assumption
has derailed your ability to thrive, rather than just survive.
Surrendering your self-judgment and building authentic esteem, allows
your present reality to become far more pleasurable and gratifying.
self-deprecating thoughts can be paralyzing! At the very least,
they compromise our energy and impetus, and inhibit/derail all future
these childhood fast-forwarding and comparison impulses have become
part of a default survival strategy, that remains embedded forever--or
until we're strongly motivated perhaps by panic attacks,
to alter it.
even more tragic,
this default strategy has combined with disappointing childhood
experiences, that left us with very limited resources in our emotional
toolbox for building healthy adult attachments.
you've never had a chance to recognize and honor your own
feelings or needs, how can you effectively respond to anyone else's?!
THAT @#$+%^&* CRYSTAL BALL!
fast-forwarding and scanning the horizon for disaster, are learned
control reflexes. As previously mentioned, we may have cultivated
these very early, when our home environments felt unstable
or held unpleasant surprises, and we had to manage our feelings
tendency is magnified if there are attention
deficit issues, because this neurological condition makes
mood and motivation cycles dauntingly unpredictable! We've learned
that 'scanning' might ease our anxiety, as it helps us envision
as many different outcomes as possible, which reduces the potential
for unpleasant surprise or shock. In essence, when we prepare
for the worst and determine how we'll handle that,
we believe we can handle anything else that comes up, which
gives us a sense of safety. By the way, fast-forwarding impulses
insidiously creep into our relationships--which gets us into a whole
lot of trouble!
that the future is uncharted territory, so it naturally contains
elements that are unknown and unfamiliar to us. Whether we've struggled
with panic attacks or not, when we project our focus beyond today,
anxiety will always be invoked, because
we can't predict precisely how 'tomorrow' is going to look or feel
to us! Of course we can speculate, but Life doesn't allow us to
completely envision much beyond this present moment in time--and
would you really want to know everything that's up ahead, even if
upshot is, while we're trying to mentally choreograph our way through
this unknown terrain to help ourselves feel more "in-control,"
this is ironically what triggers our anxiety! Seems pretty self-defeating,
doesn't it? Alas, there's a big difference between planning ahead
to try and bring about the best outcome, and living in the future
to try and control it. Learning new tools that empower you and replace
these impulses, will banish the "what-if's?"
from your psychic vocabulary.
to stay in the moment and tolerate difficult feelings,
means letting go of platitudes you may have learned in childhood,
or gotten from self-help books that used to help you cope.
Anxiety-provoking tendencies will vanish forever, when you begin
to experience your feelings, and start to trust that you can hang
out with 'em and survive! This is when intense, uncontrollable
feelings (panic sensations) will quickly dissipate.
no denying that this is an extremely multi-layered issue, but we
tend to learn about our emotions (or the lack of 'em) from
our parents. Still, gaining access to a full repertoire of different
feelings (both light and dark, positive and negative) and experiencing
them without self-judgment, keeps us out of the panic zone,
Judeo-Christian principles strongly oppose this view. They want
us to "turn the other cheek" when we've been wronged or
violated, and instill in us the belief that darker thoughts
and feelings are evil. Some religions (like Catholicism)
take this even further, and neutralize the distinction
between thoughts and actions. According to them, it's as vile a
sin to think something mean or hateful, as to carry out
a heinous act against another. From where I sit, this is a form
of mind control that undermines our emotional and physical health--and
that's just plain wrong.
folks apparently feel the need to ask about my religious or spiritual
orientation~ presumably, because I have an irreverent streak. To
them, I reply that God and I have an intimate, long-term relationship.
I'm not religious, but I'm never working alone.
I'm merely the conduit for human healing.
extremely important to note, that whatever material is not 'permitted'
by your conscious mind during waking hours, will be processed by
your subconscious mind during sleep.
dreams and/or disturbing nightmares can easily result from repressed
thoughts and feelings, which lay the groundwork for sleep disorders.
A lack of deep, restful sleep referred to as REM (rapid eye movement)
or dream-sleep, reduces the availability of brain chemicals
that are supposed to calm and soothe you! Any shortage of these
neurochemicals can prompt depression and anxiety. Exploring the
meaning behind these dreams helps us make conscious connections
to discarded/buried material that could actually be feeding
your Panic Monster.
from religious convictions and childhood events that paved the way
for panic issues, our parents may have insisted we yield to their
notion of Who we should become.
Parental control can make us discard various personality facets,
and abandon desires or goals that have special meaning to us. When
aspirations must be surrendered, it wounds our spirit and gives
birth to inner emptiness.
our emptiness or anxiety, may take the form of compulsive
over-eating, or addictions to other substances and/or
behaviors. Rediscovering our passions and reviving
them, helps us mend, and create a life well worth living.
I HAVE INHERITED THIS?"
but you might have acquired anxiety as a fetus, in-utero. It's common
for many of us to suffer with generalized anxiety our entire
lives. This type of anxiety is not attached to specific fears or
phobias, or attended by panic attacks. It feels more like an underlying
sense of danger or lack of safety that pervades every realm of our
existence, as far back as we can remember.
suggests that a pregnant woman transmits all of her emotions to
her fetus. Thus, if an expectant mother experiences generalized
or specific anxiety, such as fear of miscarrying or threat/danger
from something or someone in her environment, these sensations are
co-experienced and readily absorbed by her unborn baby.
acquired condition (I've coined it, 'womb anxiety') is often reinforced
throughout his childhood. When a child's mother is a Nervous Nelly
or worry wort, or she's over-protective/enmeshed
with her kid, she routinely transmits to him/her that the world
is an unsafe and dangerous place.
type of maternal control can inhibit her child's autonomous development
or launching phase and disrupts his independent growth,
so he can never gain a healthy sense of selfhood. This developmental
detour derails his capacity to confidently navigate personal
and professional adult challenges, which cements his feelings of
disempowerment and anxiety.
this disturbance is quasi-inherited in his mother's womb, it has
typically been exacerbated by environmental influences that programmed
the panic sufferer to make his/her natural feelings "not matter."
Once this difficulty has been resolved, one's panic symptoms are
worked with clients who've learned how to trigger anxiety,
because it helps them get out of bed in the morning, show up on
time at work, attend to their kids needs, etc. Their fear of failing
to perform these tasks, forces the adrenal glands to flood their
body with adrenaline, which literally functions like high-octane
fuel that helps them push past feelings of tiredness, deadness,
depression, emptiness, etc.
the mere notion of letting go of their anxiety 'motivator' can inspire
a sense of terror in these folks, because they're sure they'll experience
a full system shut-down, and cease being able to function "normally"
without it. Of course, this is scary!
one's dependence on anxiety to enliven and activate them
has unwittingly become a coping mechanism they've held onto for
dear life. This reflex can be dismantled and eliminated.
all want "quick fixes." Mastering behavioral techniques
and/or taking medication can help quiet our symptoms down, but neither
eradicates panic tendencies that can re-emerge during various life
events or developmental transitions. More importantly, these traditional
methods fail to touch on very critical underlying issues, like fear
of confrontation, diminished self-worth and abandonment concerns,
that drove your feelings underground and spawned your anxiety
issues in the first place.
an adult, you're finally at the helm of your own ship--so whatever
choices you make concerning this issue, must serve your
peace of mind and personal orientation. You might decide to take
anti-anxiety meds, or drugs such as Celexa or Lexapro that manage
anxiety, depression and OCD traits.
Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors ("SSRI's")
can alleviate these issues, but may inhibit your
libido and ability to achieve orgasm.
Disorder or OCD, is just part of a reflexive control
issue you may have adopted while shutting-down your emotional awareness.
This horribly distressing outcome results from bypassing
emotions and instincts to the extent that you've dissociated from
vital feelings and senses in your body. This means, you're literally
functioning on 'automatic pilot.' To put this metaphorically, when
you're asleep at the wheel, your need
for a system that can assist you in feeling safer
or more secure, is enormously heightened.
an effective, life-enhancing alternative to options already discussed
here, you can end panic, rather than just managing the
symptoms of your 'dis-ease.' The right approach mitigates your need
for various medications, eliminates panic triggers and enriches
every aspect of your existence.
should learn how to identify and respond to your feelings,
rather than analyzing or burying them. As you gain enhanced
verbal skills and begin letting go of self-defeating patterns, your
lifestyle and relationships can become healthier and far more productive.
With the right help, even Agoraphobia can be healed within
eight weeks. Regardless of the means you choose to overcome this
issue, I sincerely hope you're symptom-free very soon. In the interim,
try and remember; if you’re not living fully with all
your feelings, anxiety and panic will stop you
from fully living.
you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod this app will let you hear
this material; http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/web-reader-text-to-speech/id320808874?mt=8
HAPPINESS~ THE PATH TO FULL RECOVERY AND JOY
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