Diane's Story of Overcoming Anxiety & Panic Attacks
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Diane found herself awakened from her sleep one night to the feeling of complete terror – She was frozen with panic. Although she attempted to cry for help, she couldn’t seem to breathe, and she couldn’t make a sound. She ran out through the back-door and gasped for air, but she still couldn’t seem to catch her breath, so for the next 30-minutes her heart continued pounding as she spiraled in fear. Was she having a heart-attack? Would this next half-breath be her last?
A Panic Attack?
Once she finally managed to calm down she called for her husband who assured her that they would go to the doctor first thing in the morning. On the next day, she went to her Family Doctor and explained the situation – He took her blood pressure, listened to her heart-beat, and followed-up by asking if she had anything on her mind that was bothering her. Diane was confused about the subjective nature of the question, which didn’t seem to have anything to do with her physical condition – Shortness of breath, extreme fear, and racing heart. She was interested in a physical cause, not a mental one. The doctor persisted – Did she have anything that was bothering her? Of course, the answer was yes.
Her marriage soon ended in a mutual separation, and she was faced with the challenge of raising her children alone. She eventually managed to find herself in a new relationship just as she became pregnant with a second child, but she soon found herself ending that relationship as well. Panicked about how she would manage to support her two children, her panic attacks returned several times each month. The intensity of the panic was such that she was actually frightened of going to sleep – But she soon began having panic attacks during broad daylight and in the shopping mall as well. Battling the panic attacks in secret, she avoided exposing her condition to others in order to maintain her social identity as a balanced and calm person.
Still without a solution to her problem after several long months, she decided to Google the term. To her surprise there were thousands of other people who had a similar experience, and she was able to read their personal stories, apply their techniques, and change her reactions to stress. Specifically, the “A.W.A.R.E.” technique was her preferred approach:
A: Acknowledge and Accept - Acknowledge the existence of the panic and stress and the many feelings that accompany this experience.
W: Wait & Watch - Observe the state. Don’t take action just yet, but simply observe.
A: Action – Take actions to create a sense of comfort and relaxation.
R: Repeat – Continue Acknowledging & Accepting, Watching and Observing, and Taking Action to create a sense of comfort and relaxation.
E: Expect the best – Shift internal anticipation from the anticipation of pain to an anticipation of all of the wonderful things that can and will happen in the future.
The A.W.A.R.E. technique was powerful and effective for Diane, where she had dramatically reduced her experience of pain and suffering since reading about the experience of others online and applying the A.W.A.R.E. process. Since applying this technique Diane has begun to truly walk the talk, and she has continued raising her children with significantly less anxiety.
- Anonymous Contributor