Over Come Panic/Anxiety and Agoraphobia Part VI

This could well be the most important part of this article because it's about putting it all together and hopefully my personal experience with anxiety will give you a better understanding of how to do it and how the brain works.

Summary of previous parts of this article:

Whenever you notice (observe) your body activating, your subconscious is telling you that there is something or someone from which you need to run—the fight/flight of the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). Of course if you look 360 degrees (all around you), you will not find anything or anyone that is threatening your life physically. But, remember, that the GAS will activate any time your financial, social, or family status is threatened or if your ego (how you identify yourself) is threatened. For instance, you bought a Chevrolet, drive it, and like it. You're at a party and someone says, “Chevy's are ugly cars.” Now if you own a Ford, you would feel nothing, but because you own a Chevrolet, if would normal for you to sense a bit of defensiveness and even anger. This is your subconscious preparing you to fight or run from the person who offended you. Yet, to punch this person in the nose is inappropriate--even silly--and to run away from the person is likewise silly, but that's exactly what your subconscious is preparing you to do.

So when you observe activation it simply to notice that your intelligence is preparing you to run or fight—in your case (because of your responsible personality) run away. For you there are four basic reasons this happens:

1. You just ate within the last 20 minutes-to-an hour or so a high refined carbohydrate portion of food or drank a drink with caffeine or alcohol.

2. You just experienced a disappointment—something didn't work out as planed or desired—bad news—some plan fell through.

3. Something reminded you of one of your disappointments—it could have been a thought, a reminder, a dream, or something someone said.

4. Conditioning: Because this has happened many times before without your ability to understand the reasoning you've associated the feelings with other stimuli. For instance, Pavlov's famous conditioning of the dog to salivate. Pavlov rang a bell whenever he gave the dog food. After several repetitions he then only rang the bell and the dog salivated without the presence of food. Likewise certain stimuli or for that matter even thoughts can cause activation.

A confession: A year or so ago I had taken some medication that contributed to shortness of breadth and muscle tension—I experienced classical anxiety without any known reason. What I did to deal with it:

1. Acknowledged my disappointment (I get them too) and noticed there were some things from which I'd just like to run.

2. Took a quick look at my diet—it was right on track—no carbohydrates that could be causing the problem.

3. Took a look at the medication I had been taking for about six months. I remembered that over the course of the last several months I noticed muscle tension in various parts of my body and learned it was a side effect of the meds as well as possible anxiety.

4. I had my doctor change my medication.

Now, you'd think that because I changed medication, that the anxiety would disappear, but it didn't just go away. It got to the point I even postponed my dental visit for a cleaning because I didn't want to deal with having the feelings during the middle of my visit. This would be particularly embarrassing for me since I specialize in working with anxiety and panic attack.

What I noticed is that whenever I drove, I'd begin noticing the tension. Even sitting in my recliner at home I noticed tension. It got to the point where whenever I thought of it happening, it happened—no disappointments present other than being disappointed with the tension happening.

It even seemed like when I'd notice I was free of it for a few hours I'd think to myself, “I wonder if it's gone and I'd try to remember what it felt like to have it and sure enough, the feelings would return. I was amazed at my need to test myself to see if I could control it and get rid of the feelings consciously. Of course I couldn't control it.

What I did to get beyond it was:

  1. Practice observing the activation of my muscles and breathing. I would observe my breathing being shallow and in my upper chest. I noticed breathing being difficult.
  2. Acknowledge any disappointments I'd like to get rid of. Yes, I had disappointments. I didn't think that they really contributed to my body activating, but none the less, it didn't hurt to acknowledge them and make sure I was dealing with them as opposed to avoiding them. Of course there were some, i.e. I was hoping there would be a way of getting better search engine results for my website and it just wasn't happening. I didn't really know what to do about it and directed my subconscious to be open to finding a solution.
    How did that work? I happened upon a service—aweber.com to send out emails and then I found a program that enabled me to submit articles to thousands of ezines. It was like learning a new language, nevertheless it was tackling my disappointments rather than running away from them.
  3. Make what I felt OK to be there. This was a challenge. Rather than try to control, resist, or get rid of the tension just notice it and let it be there knowing that “this too will pass.”
  4. Let myself know that, “I'd like to get beyond it and forget what it feels like.” This was very important and even though in the moment I had trouble realizing it could happen, I knew it could happen as I'd keep repeating to myself, “I'd like to forget about it.”
  5. Remember how life was when I was free. Yes, there was a time in my life before I knew what tension on the chest felt like. It was difficult to remember, but none the less, it was there.
  6. Remember that in the past I once had a stuttering problem, got beyond it, remembered I had it, but forgot what it felt like to have had it. Yes, after I had broken up from a relationship I felt a sense of extreme loss. It even affected my self worth to such a degree that I stuttered—a particular problem for me since I earned my living at that time by leading stop smoking and weight management seminars that totaled four hours four times a week.

A month later it all came to pass. Yes, I can remember I had the problem and forget what it felt like to have had it. And, although a rarity now, whenever I remember I had the issue I think, “can I cause it to happen and prove to myself I can get rid of it;” before the thought is even finished, my brain says, “too much trouble to demonstrate—forget it,” and I go on with life.


Focus on the six steps given above. If you have difficulty email me at knic@comcast.net with anxiety problem as the subject or go to http://www.dstressdoc.com/counseling.htm to read more about the counseling I do and how you can get the first 15 minutes free. You can also go to http://www.panicbusters.com/80%25%20Success%20Rate.htm to read the about the study I conducted regarding the clients I worked with that demonstrated 80% success. Many of these clients only had one session.

Regardless of what you've been told, using a revolutionary technique, anxiety panic attack is only a disease of ignorance and can be gotten rid of through understanding of a few basic concepts!