In my own personal journey with Panic and Anxiety one of the biggest obstacles to overcome was allowing my thoughts to control me and the way I reacted to them. In the throws of a Panic attack, your thoughts will drive your reaction and control your thinking. . The biggest battle you face is the one against-wait for it-yourself. Your thought patterns can trap you in a revolving door of fear and self doubt that will keep recycling over and over, appearing with any little trigger or negative situation. And like a snowball rolling downhill, every negative thought or fear will just keep adding to it as you continue your slide. As your snowball gets bigger and bigger, it heaps on guilt that you can’t deal with it-you are sure everyone else can but not you. You have failed. Add past mistakes and fears, however irrational, from the past and it makes for an even faster, larger snowball. You just cannot stop it’s momentum……. You try to rationalize these thoughts, or try to figure out what they mean-what causes them. The trouble with that is attacks can and do come out of nowhere. How can you make sense of something that may not have been triggered by something tangible? What if it just happens? Anytime and anywhere?
I spent many months, even years struggling to put my issues in to perspective-come up with the reason that certain things happened at certain times. Some anxiety can and is triggered by events, but it seemed my Panic was not. My way of trying to conquer it became analyzing every thought, every fear, into neat little columns that would explain my behaviors, which in turn would then allow me to understand them. Then I could break their hold on me. These sessions however would end up being the same-always coming back to the point that I was worthless and would never find relief. The result was an endless amount of time crying or being deeply depressed. While most people might be able to stop paying attention to that constant self loathing, I could not. And my life was a constant struggle to get out of bed in the morning, and return that night. Something had to change.
One of the ways I used to get the runaway thoughts under control was to stay busy. By forcing myself to stop overanalyzing everything, I was able to stop the cycle of my runaway thoughts, my snowball and think a little more clearly. It didn’t matter what I did to stay busy-cleaning house, painting ceramic Christmas villages, doing crossword or other types of puzzles. The goal was to keep myself so tired that I could not spend a lot of time sitting around thinking. Rather than lay in bed for hours contemplating the things that were wrong in my life, I would just fall asleep. It became very therapeutic for me-my mind would be a little clearer, and my thoughts less jumbled. And they were no longer triggered by worry or doubt, thinking eventually started working its way to “normal”. AND I had one of the cleanest houses around!