This week I am including a part of a chapter of the book Panic Attacks Calming the Storm. I want to share with you the author’s common sense way of explaining things so that it is easy to understand. Anyone with mental torment is aware of how difficult it is for family and friends to identify with what is going on in your life. This book is being used to help not only the “victim” of panic ,anxiety, depression… but those around them. Doctors are sharing it with their patients. People are contacting the author having read it several times saying now they get it, and explaining how it has changed their life. Some on their own as well as those under the care of counselors and physicians.
LINK TO SOME OF THE POSTED REVIEWS: PANIC ATTACKS CALMING THE STORM A Journey of Hope In A world of Anxiety
(from Chapter 12 – ESTABLISHING THOUGHT BOUNDARIES)
UNDERSTANDING THE WAY WE THINK
I want to teach you something that is very vital concerning the relationship of panic attacks with the mindset that becomes established.
Panic disorder, and to some degree, anxiety disorder is just so amazingly tormenting and painful. Because of that, a vicious cycle is established.
For anyone who has ever experienced a panic attack, the biggest thing that you know is that you do not want to have another. Because of that, the normal tendency is to become very watchful and overanalytical in the attempt to ward off another terrifying event.
What I’m saying is that the nature of a panic attack creates a behavior that will cause a harmful mindset to be established that encourages the onset of future panic attacks.
This revelation was what put me on my path to freedom.
Now, follow me closely. Before I ever experienced a panic attack, I opened the door to become a victim due to the mindset that was established within me over time, years before the first panic attack.
I had a tendency to overanalyze and overthink situations. In the business world, this was a tremendous asset because of the way that I would process things—my thoughts—would enable me to manage restaurants and develop employees very effectively.
One of my strengths was in being extremely perceptive. When I found an employee doing something that they should not be doing, they would often tell me that I had a way of always showing up at the wrong time. However, that wasn’t the case—other managers were also in the vicinity. It was just that I was extremely perceptive; I seem to be able to pick up on things that other people are oblivious to.
Although it sounds great and effective, I did not realize that the mindset that I had allowed to develop was one that caused me to be overly watchful. I would perceive much more than normal, and then would always analyze and overthink. As you read this, I’m sure a lot of you can identify with the tendencies that I had.
When I got hit with my first panic attack, my tendencies went wild. I couldn’t wrap my mind around what was happening, but whatever happened, I desperately did not want it to happen again. Thus, the onset of a vicious cycle! This took me from a vulnerable mindset to a harmful, enabling mindset. I felt so deceived. I’d assumed that the way I was thinking— being overly watchful—was going to help me stop having panic attacks,whereas, in reality, all I did was create a mindset with pom-poms that became a constantly effective cheerleader for future attacks.
I was one of those pain-in-the-butt people who would rarely forget things, like running out of gas or losing the keys or the phone. I’ve even gone my entire life never getting a speeding ticket. I would like to say that I was just being very responsible, but I found out that my justification for being overly responsible was simply to mask the fact that I worried too much.
The definition of worry is to give way to anxiety or unease by allowing one’s mind to dwell on difficulties or potential troubles. Wow, that was me. I would try to mask it by calling myself responsible, but I just plain worried too much.
Normally, these traits are not a huge problem unless they take you to the point where you are susceptible to a panic or anxiety attack. However, for me, the even bigger problem was that these tendencies encouraged the future events of panic attacks instead of helping me war against them.
Panic attacks are very illogical. Because of that, they can be very tormenting. When you overanalyze and overthink, you are always looking for conclusions. Sometimes there is no need for a conclusion, and sometimes there’s no conclusion that can be found. My problem is that I would not know when to let things go. Sound familiar to anyone? If you don’t let things go, you will train your mind to employ the harmful use of speculation. As we know, speculation is formulating, or attempting to formulate, a conclusion without firm evidence.
Panic disorder is illogical. Panic disorder is not something that you can just wrap your mind around and obtain logical conclusions. Because of my nature, because of my established mindset, something vague and illogical was unacceptable. I was a person who had to have all the answers and who couldn’t just let things go. Because of that, I became my own worst enemy. The way I was “wired” encouraged the onset of panic attacks and actually prolonged the duration of the attack.
When this happens to people like me, we become obsessed with overthinking something that is not going to offer a quick conclusion. Unfortunately, this is where a stronghold begins to emerge. A stronghold is a harmful, unwanted pattern of thinking that is the result of overthinking thoughts that now follow the same path. When your mindset encourages continuous thoughts that follow the exact same path, a rut begins to form. Remember the example that I gave you about being in the mountains and following logging trails. This is exactly what happens—you overthink, overanalyze, obsess about your health and how you feel and everything else that can be attributed to a panic attack. This develops one deep rut after another.
The point I am making is that what I was allowing caused the bad to go to worse. My freedom was going to be found in stopping the destructive behavior that I had plunged in to.
If we could agree upon a time the author would do a zoom meeting for the BLOG followers as a Q&A. Some followers are those that suffer with mental torment and others are those that counsel them. We also have followers and viewers that just want to help someone they love. Email the blog and address it to Brian and we will see if this can happen