Curing Panic with Engagement
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If I told anybody outside of my family circle that I have some kind of anxiety problem no one would believe me. The reason for this is because I haven’t experienced panic attacks in my office or at any large social events. I am perfectly calm, cool, and collected with my colleagues and friends. In fact, I wasn’t even aware of my anxiety problem until it became uncontrollable and started affecting my c losest family members. Throughout my childhood I had always been worried about the safety and well-being of my family members, and I would often absess over the terrible things that could happen to them in our wild and unpredictable world. As a result I was constantly worried until I knew that they were safe, and for example, if my dad was flying somewhere, I would repeatedly imagine his flight crashing followed by all of the awful things that would ensue - I would be physically tense and drenched in sweat until he reached his destination, called, and let us know that he arrived safely. My parents weren't aware of my feelings, because I kept my anxiety hidden from them for several years. I remember that I would yell at my sister if she forgot to call me after reaching any particular destination, even if she was simply going to meet her friend I would demand that she call me when she arrives. My parents thought that I was just over protective, but this was actually a serious problem for me.
During my college days I met my boyfriend, and he was an awesome guy, but he hates to be controlled by anyone, which was an obvious conflict with my need for certainty. He rode a bicycle back then, and I would constantly nag him about calling me once he reached his destination, but he almost never would – As a result, I would calculate the time that it took for him to reach his destination and would then call to confirm that he was safe, which irritated him to no end. I remember that I was frequently stressed-out and experienced have panic attacks, where I would cry until he consoled me and I would feel safe and relaxed. Although he was annoyed by my obsessive thinking and breakdowns, he cared about me deeply, and we felt genuinely connected with each-other – In fact, our friends said that we were “made for each other”. After three years of being together we married each-other, and my pattern of searching for certainty continued. When he reached his office, I would call him. If he was travelling by train I would call him. As my love from him increased, my fear for his safety and obsessively negative thoughts also increased - If he didn’t pick-up the phone when I called, I would think he must have been in an accident, or perhaps he was in the hospital . . . and all kinds of negative things. When he finally called I would fight with him for not calling. I could sense that he was becoming increasingly irritated by my behavior, so I stopped calling him so often and my suffering went underground. As I stopped checking-in on him I became more depressed; I stayed at home and had panic attacks more and more often. I also suffered from sleep paralysis, which had a huge impact on my quality of sleep, and after a few months I developed insomnia. During this time I couldn’t sleep very well at all, and I used to stay up all night thinking about all of the terrible things that had happened to me, and why I was like this.
My husband was worried about me, so he took me to a psychiatrist, and she gave me antidepressants for the anxiety and sedatives for sleep. She asked me to meet with a therapist, and I met with her 1-on-1, which turned out to be a remarkable thing. She was a great woman, and I felt that she completely understood me. During our multiple therapy sessions she asked me to concentrate on developing my social life by enrolling myself in a variety of engaging activities and clubs, and she asked me to keep focus upon keeping myself busy for most of my waking hours. She was able to notice that I was normal when I shifted my focus from something negative to something engaging and that I became sad and depressed without any particular reason primarily when I had little or nothing to do. My quality of life was much better after our therapy sessions, and I could feel that my husband was finally happy about having his personal space. We were both happy with the changes in my lifestyle and behavior. I eventually enrolled in yoga and meditation classes and began a diploma course in web design, while I also painted and cooked during my free time.
After six months of therapy sessions, I learned that I was pregnant and was overjoyed. Having previously read on the internet how stress and depression would affect the health of the foetus, I focused upon being happy and cheerful all the time. I didn’t have morning sickness and hormonal problems (Thank God!), and my yoga and meditation practice assisted me in cultivating a peaceful state of mind. Finally after 9 months of waiting, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. From this time on I have since become even more inspired to continue increasing my own well-being in order to support my family and their happiness, and so I have shared this article as a way of describing how my experience of challenge moved to one of strength and happiness so that others may benefit.
Author: Anonymous Contributor