I hope that at the time of me writing this blog post, you are all well and moving within your own journey's towards recovery.
I have to apologise once again for my lateness in writing this blog post. There have been a number of new exciting developments happening with "its just a feeling" that I have been busy working on and that seems to have taken my time away from everything else, anyway I am here now and will be doing my very best to blog once a month again!.
A few people have contacted me to ask if I am continuing with the Website as I have not been completing my blog posts, please don't worry, I am still here, just developing new areas of the site whilst trying to keep up with updating of the current pages and the new look. My passion is to help people whom are suffering problems with panic and anxiety and it is something I will always do, I can promise you that.
In this months blog post I would like to talk about "making the right decisions" as you move forwards to recovery. As you work through your symptoms there will be lots of small decisions that you have to make that will either move you towards your end goal or falter your efforts and threaten to sabotage your recovery.
When we are immersed in panic we tend to "sweat the small stuff" as we fight through our symptoms and weird thoughts as they are at this moment, our focus is almost blinded to anything else because its hard enough coping day to day without trying to see out of the hell we find ourselves in.
The trouble is that in doing this we often miss that there is a bigger picture going on. I suppose that is what they mean by the saying "she couldn't see the wood for the trees".
In my experience the bigger picture has to come into play during the recovery period and moving on from the way that you feel now.
As I worked towards my own recovery, I realised that this sweating the small stuff happened because my panic/anxiety wanted me to reduce my life and my world as I had known it and focus on it entirely as well as the small spaghetti type stuff like horrible thoughts and symptoms that come with it while closing my mind to anything else. I was focusing on all my smaller current worries such as individual situations, anticipation of each situation I was going into or the way I was feeling due to immediate symptoms "the spaghetti".
I began to realise that this was all the sweating small stuff and was keeping me locked in the smaller darker world of Anxiety and Depression unable to see outside anymore. It was stopping me standing back and looking at myself and my situation from above and seeing it for what it was and realising that a bigger picture came into play as I removed myself enough to be able to see the small stuff for what it was. I began to understand that if I looked at my panic objectively and stood back from it while remaining focused on my end result and the "bigger picture", I could start shifted my focus onto the end result rather than the spaghetti day to day and began to become a work in progress rather than stuck solid.
With this shift in focus, I began to move towards my recovery.I was on an important mission to become panic free after many years stuck!
So where does making the right decisions along the way come into this?
Well that is simple, to recover properly I had to have an end goal in place to work towards. My end goal was to remove all the unhelpful panic in my life, the panic that came through thoughts or situations that should not have been fearful. I could now never forget that this goal was there and I was going to work towards it. For every panicky thought I had, I also thought of my end goal.
Once I had this end goal it was simple, with each setback, down day or peak of panic that I wanted to react to, I delayed my reaction long enough to ask myself a question.I realised at that moment my panic was bigger than me and made most of my decisions for me, but what right had it got to do that?. I was me and I wanted to take back my ownership of my own decisions. So my question was:
What has to become the right decisions and shifts in behaviour that would take me to my end goal?
And here they are, I never forgot them no matter how hard things were, or how bad they felt:
- Take being in the midst of a panic attack for example, when the feeling of panic peaked at its worst, and I wanted to react and run for the hills, I started to realise that I had a choice.I had a choice wether to react to my panic and make it worse, or refuse to react and ride it the feeling till it died down. By reacting and running out yes I made the immediate fear went down, but the long term fear got much worse and so my end goal became more distant and much harder to reach. Panic never stops anyone doing anything, we stop ourselves by making the choice to stop.
- It started to make sense, The saying "if I always do what I've always done, I'll always get what I've always got" Is very true!. That is why our short term decision making process must NOT be dictated by our panic. We must pause to collect our thoughts and then think away from the narrowness and towards the bigger picture and the end goal.
- I also had a choice whether I paid attention to the spaghetti. All the extreme Negative automatic thoughts and superficial anticipation of situations all linked to my panic. The bigger picture didn't have room for spaghetti. Not paying attention to all the small stuff allows you to step back and begin to see it for what it is. Fear with no danger or thoughts with no real meaning, that is all.
- I had a choice whether I carried my past or memories of my panic with me into the new future I was trying to build
- I remembered that I was not my panic, it was just a very small part of who I was.
- I knew that I had to let these feelings come and allow myself to feel them, this would help my body to process them and then let them go, allowing me to move on.
- I worked hard to accept myself and who I was. It is so important to love yourself and learn that you are ok. I worked on my self esteem.
These choices, decisions and new ways of working came often along my road to removing unhelpful panic from my life and I am not saying for one moment that this is an easy process or that I didn't slip back a bit sometimes. This is a learning process and this learning process is essential to make you stronger along the way and to teach you the knowledge needed to break free of these chains forever. Don't dread your learning, look forward to it and the person it will eventually make you. Its the mission of your life and you can be victorious!.
Incidentally you may well find that your "spaghetti" (weird constant thoughts and feelings in situations that you are struggling with now) will actually diminish naturally as you get better.
You can do this, you just have to work in a way that your body understands and in the opposite way to what your instinct to protect yourself from panic is.
Its an incredible climb but the view from the top can be absolutely amazing!
You can do this and I am going to do my level best to show you how help you to give yourself the life that you deserve, one free of these feelings.
Until my next blog, wishing you all good health and happiness