Of course you want to feel better, why would you want to have panic attacks? Right?… Well maybe. As horrible as panic attacks are, sometimes it’s just easier to stay anxious. Maybe you don’t really believe you can get better, so why even try?
Isn’t it easier to just take a pill and be numb?
Using self help for panic attacks is really only effective if you commit yourself to doing it. And there are a ton of reasons (excuses) why you might not want to start, or you quit after a little while. I have used them all 🙂 Here are some excuses to not get better:
Excuse #1: The thought of doing what you need to to to get better scares the crap out of you.
I truly understand this. When I was in college and finally had a name for what was happening to me, namely panic attacks, I researched what to do to get better. And what I read about was called exposure therapy. Specifically I learned about a (barbaric) technique called flooding.
Flooding is when the therapist puts the patient in a situation where they experience their fears or phobias at their absolute worst. The longer the patient stays in the situation, the better. It’s traumatic but eventually they realize they won’t die and supposedly this makes them better. For me at the time that would mean I would have to sit front row and center in the 500 seat lecture hall and sit there for the 2 hour class. No freaking way. I would rather have died.
I didn’t realize there were other ways to do exposure therapy. No way was I brave or strong enough to jump feet first into a panic attack situation and stay there fully exposed. Heck I was traumatized enough.
Maybe you never even heard of flooding, but you probably have heard of exposure therapy or systematic desensitization (another name for it). And maybe you think- No way could I ever do that. That is just too hard. Your life is already hard enough! So you decide to just live with panic attacks and do whatever rituals or avoidance to try to manage them.
Excuse #2: Fear you won’t succeed.
This is giving up before you even try. Maybe you see yourself as a victim of the cruel hands of fate for having panic attacks, and decide that, short of a miracle from God, nothing will help you. Maybe you give a half-hearted attempt to some panic attack self help program, only to discover you really won’t get better overnight. What you need is a miracle and nothing less will do. Programs, tapes, books, self-hypnosis, therapy- they take too much time and effort. And you probably won’t get better anyways because you’re basically cursed anyways, so why even try? So you give up. And you continue to have panic attacks.
Excuse #3: Fear you WILL succeed.
I can imagine what you’re thinking: “Wait a minute Jill, that’s impossible, of COURSE I want to get better. I hate panic attacks!”
I’m talking more on a subconscious level here. Though you may not realize it, anxiety gives you a great excuse not to do the things you would really love to do in life. Maybe what you would love to do is very challenging. And as long as you stay anxious, you have the perfect excuse not to:
-quit the job that is holding you back
-reclaim your life and get out of that bad relationship
-go after the career you’ve always wanted
-fill in the blank: ________
Because as bad as it is being anxious, at least it is familiar. And the thought of change to someone with panic attacks is very, very scary. Familiarity gives comfort to us, so we resist change.
I had to come clean about my past and admit I used anxiety as an excuse not to go away to college. I used it as an excuse not to go to medical school, which was my dream at the time. Having anxiety and panic attacks gave me the perfect excuse to live with my parents longer than I should have and not venture out into the world when everyone else my age was.
And I used my panic disorder as an excuse to stay numbed out on pills for years and years and years.
It was painful to admit these things to myself, because it meant that I had a big part in doing all the avoidance behaviors and negative thinking and other things that kept my anxiety alive and well. But truth be told, I used every excuse in the book to avoid confronting my fears. I hated the way my life was and yet I was too scared to do anything about it.
Successfully doing self help for panic attack means no more excuses. No more denial.
Because you stay in denial about the truth: that your life could be free from panic attacks. Anxiety self help methods really do work, and they are available to you today. The truth is that many others have learned to overcome their panic attacks and you can too.
But you and you alone have to take that risk and make that decision to challenge yourself.
The reward is sweet, beautiful freedom…Freedom from fear. 🙂
Are you making any conscious or unconscious excuses about overcoming anxiety and panic attacks? If so, that’s ok. You can make a better choice today. 🙂
I wish you peace,