Self Help for Panic Attacks – No Excuses!

Self Help for Panic Attacks - No Excuses!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 attacksAnxiety 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,
Jill G.

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3 Responses to Self Help for Panic Attacks – No Excuses!

  1. Dale Lestor says:

    It can be very difficult to admit to yourself that you have a fear of succeeding…. after all that is what we all strive for, right? I really enjoyed reading, makes you stop and think… and that is good:)

  2. Kathleen says:

    I just finished reading a number of posts on this site about people who had panic attacks and took Clonazepam to control them. I will never forget the hell of panic attacks I began having about 22 years ago. They gradually cut my life down to staying in my house. No more church, grocery shopping, driving to friends houses, and then the day came I could not make myself go out the door to work. I called my husband and told him I needed to go to the doctor immediately. Our faithful family physician took one look at me with sweat dripping from my palms, teary eyes, and trembling body. He gave me a Xanax and sent me to an excellent psychiatrist who saw me three hours later. He put me on Clonazepam (Klonopin) And took care of me for the next ten years. How wonderful it was to get my life back. I could take trips, fly on airplanes, eat out, go to church and anything I wanted to do. When he quit practicing, I was referred to a different psychiatrist who insisted on trying a number of SSRI’s – Prozac, Zoloft, etc. I got sick as a dog by the third day on all of them. He desperately wanted to discontinue the Clonazepam because he felt it was a “bad” drug and I would just be “another addict”. Finally, he recognized how well I functioned on Clonazepam and just kept me on it for another ten years. Now, he is retiring and I will be transferring to another physician. I’m sure I will have to go through the whole scenario of SSRI drugs again. I have tried to wean off Clonazepam several times over the last 20 years (trying to please my doctor). Every time, the dreaded panic attacks came back. I’ve bought several programs (several hundred dollars each) and none have been effective for me. I have decided to finish out my time on earth with Clonazepam (I take 1.5 – 2.0mg daily). I am 65 and I really enjoy getting up in the morning knowing I can go and do whatever is needed. The peace I have is wonderful and I am much more productive being freed from the constang fear if panic attacks.

    • JillG says:

      A lot of people choose to take medications and are satisfied with the results. In my experience I also tried a bunch of programs and books and they never made a difference. Then I learned I had to change my attitude. I realized * I had to make myself better*- no program or doctor or therapist or pill could do that for me. If I had an excellent program but refused to do the work required (whether it was because I was too afraid, depressed, fed up, or whatever) I stayed the same. for me I had to find a way out of my panic attacks and for me I no longer wanted to be numbed out on medications, which I was. A pill only takes away the fear until you take the next pill. You become dependent on the pills and at the mercy of a doctor, who may or may not want to prescribe it. Some people choose not to live that way.
      I’m glad that you are at peace. But what is working for you may not be what works for others. It certainly wasn’t for me. And that’s why I choose anxiety self help on my own terms and at my own pace 🙂

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