I've made it no secret that I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. Since I posted living with anxiety and panic attacks, I've been meaning to do a follow up post because the response was amazing. It was awesome to hear all of your stories when anxiety can make you feel so isolated and know that I'm not alone in the way I feel.
I wanted to talk about something I learned in CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) which was feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
It's something I now live my life by. I now feel at this stage in my life I am mostly, in control of my panic attacks and anxiety. I know my triggers. I know the underground when it's busy will set me off and I know that open heights also get me going. What I've started to do is say 'fuck it'.
You learn in CBT that your body 'learns' when you feel a certain way to give you anxiety or a panic attack and the only way to really get around it is to retrain yourself. You have to do what makes you feel uncomfortable and sit out the feelings to teach your body that you can cope.
It's not a walk in the park, by any means and it does take some serious self control but it is doable and I'm living proof.
For instance 6 years ago I was housebound. I couldn't even walk to the shop by myself or I'd have a total melt down, I was depressed, lonely and always feeling embarrassed. Wednesday afternoon I left work early, took a bus & train into London to go to Somerset House for a Christmas event. Did I have anxiety? Yes. Did I have moments where I found myself getting the tell tell signs of a panic attack? Yes. Did I say fuck it and do it anyway? Hell yes.
I've decided that my anxiety and panic attacks won't define who I am or what I do. Despite how horrible they are, I will continue to live my life like someone who doesn't suffer from them. It is all about being determined to get through it and feel the fear. I know panic attacks won't kill me, so at the end of the day who cares if I have one? It might make me temporarily uneasy but I haven't met one person who'd not try to help.
I do still suffer with things such as glass sided escalators or ones just in the middle of the air and I do on bad days avoid them by using the stairs or getting in the lift but I do 9 out of 10 times just get on and deal with it. It's the only way forward!
So why not try it? Just do something that you want to regardless if it makes you feel uneasy!
I'd love to hear your stories of anxiety and panic attacks so please do leave me a comment!
Until next time,