I shared with you last week about my personal plight with public speaking and how I developed a phobia to speaking at really good Al-Anon meeting. The panic attacks got so bad I got severely discouraged and angry and quit the meeting.
Facing panic attacks and getting to the other side of that scary place is what we will discuss today.
By the way I should share that I need Al-Anon very much in my life. It is a 12 step program for families and friends of Alcoholics. Even though my husband has not had a drink in over 10 years, he still has many of the isms (behaviors) that come with addiction: severe mood swings of depression and mania, overspending, road rage, covert and overt anger taken out on me and the kids, etc, etc. I’ve been going to Al-Anon for over 10 years and it has enriched my life immeasurably. (to learn more about Al-Anon, visit: http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/).
So my plan last week was to go back to this wonderful Al-Anon meeting because it has helped ME learn to deal better in my life.
All weekend the prospect of attending this meeting was weighing heavily in the back of my mind. I honestly doubted if I would be able to go.
I didn’t sleep well last night, and I woke up with a tension headache. Hmm, I wonder why, lol? I went over my last post to remind myself of my plan of action. (Because when I’m super anxious, I can’t think straight).
I listened to my Stop Panic Attacks hypnosis mp3 two times. It did make me feel better the second time I listened to it. The first time I was so nervous, I couldn’t even pay attention to it.
I went over my my Panic Away program, and the 21-7 Technique. And I re-read Peace from Nervous Suffering, pp. 157- 166. This part of the book where Dr. Weekes takes me by the hand and walks me through the panic attack inducting situation and tells me what to do. I even found an acupressure exercise that I could do if I got anxious during the meeting (it helped, try it 🙂 ):
(By the way I did all this stuff while I was working. Can anxious people multi task or what?)
I admit, even after I did all this preparation, I still had a strong urge not to go to the meeting. The memories of facing panic attacks and being tongue tied, and my last 2 attempts at going to the meeting, where I was utterly overwhelmed with panic and left in the middle of the meeting, still had me freaked out.
One half hour before I left, my friend who also goes to that meeting happened to call me about something unrelated. I was able to tell her how I was feeling. She does not suffer from panic attacks, but she was super kind and said, “You’ll be fine. Just sit there and pass if you don’t want to talk, it’s no big deal.”
The thing that made me go was the knowledge that if I didn’t at least try, I would be so down on myself. Not to mention the fact that trying to go next week would be even harder. I know my anxiety habit builds on itself, so when I get into a pattern of avoiding something, it gets easier and easier to stay away. And this is how anxiety wins and I lose every single time.
As I said recently, I pretty much gave up my youth to being ruled by anxiety and panic attacks, and I refuse to live this way any longer.
So I forced myself to go.
Friends, I have to tell you, it was a joy. Not only was I able to just sit there, I was able to share a small bit, help a newcomer, and get this- before the close of the meeting I said this:
“I need to let you all know why I am so grateful for being here this morning. I’ve been dealing with anxiety for years, and have had multiple severe anxiety attacks at this meeting. I stopped coming for awhile. But I have to recognize that Al-Anon and all you people in it are such a tremendous blessing in my life. Thank you for being here today and thank you God. I am so grateful to be back.”
I got so many heartfelt hugs from my wonderful Al-Anon friends. I felt like I won the Kentucky Derby or something 🙂
The worry and anticipation and dread were so much worse than the actual event. (Really, isn’t this always the case with anxiety??)
I had to share this triumph with you today, because friends, if I can face my fears, YOU CAN TOO. I used to think I was the biggest coward for having panic disorder and anxiety.
Nothing could be further from the truth. It takes a great deal of courage to face life and live life with an anxiety disorder. And I’m here to tell you that if this *coward* can face her fears, you can too!
Remember Thomas Edison’s remark: “If we did all the things we are capable of doing we would literally astonish ourselves.” Astonish yourself!
Source: Positive Thinking Every Day, by Norman Vincent Peale
Have you had an experience of facing panic attacks and making it to the other side unscathed? (except for maybe being a little shaky from all the adrenalin?) I’d love to hear about it. The more you share, the more we all benefit. 🙂
I wish you peace,
Recovery from panic attacks is no cake walk. But it is the key to freedom from fear and getting your life back. Want to know how I’m doing so well after suffering for so long? I recommend and use Panic Away. Click on the link to get started today and reclaim your life from fear. YOU ARE WORTH IT!