It is only when we struggle with‚ or run away from our anxieties‚ that they gain momentum. We can only be victims of fear if we allow ourselves to be.
"Do the thing you are afraid to do and the death of fear is certain."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
We have spoken on this web site about panic attacks in detail now I want to tackle the side–effects of panic attacks. Most people who experience frequent panic attacks describe a lingering background generalized anxiety that stays with them long after the panic attack is over. Panic attacks are not spontaneous‚ random experiences. They are rooted in an underlying general anxiety that acts as the feeding ground for them to occur. Some people claim the attacks come totally out of the blue‚ but in fact on closer examination the person is usually already feeling an above average level of generalized anxiety before the panic attack begins. It is this generalized anxiety that we are going to tackle in this chapter.
People describe the generalized anxiety like a knot in the stomach accompanied by recurring fearful thoughts. This condition is referred to as Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD. This generalized anxiety disorder is the breeding ground for future panic attacks‚ and it is important that it be addressed and eliminated so the individual can go about daily business unimpeded by the uncomfortable stress sensations.
If we create a scale of anxiety from 1 to 10‚ a full blown panic attack would register at 10 and total‚ blissful relaxation at 0.
In a typical day‚ the average person in a metropolitan area might have a stress/anxiety rating of somewhere between 4 and 5. In comparison‚ people who experience panic attacks would say they reach the top of the scale (9/10) during the panic attack and do not fully return to feeling normal for quite some time. What is of particular concern is the fact that a large percentage of people never fully return to normal levels.
Many individuals who experience frequent panic attacks often report that they feel themselves to be in a constant state of generalized anxiety‚ floating between 6 and 7 almost everyday. They wake in the morning with the anxiety and go to bed with the same feeling of unease. It is almost as if their body is stuck on a permanent setting of high anxiety. This constant generalized anxiety makes them feel jumpy‚ irritable‚ and physically unwell. The body becomes tense and uncomfortable and the mind obsessed with the anxious sensations. This permanent tension in the mind and body leads to troublesome sensations such as:
Feelings of unreality and depression
This condition (Generalized Anxiety Disorder GAD) is frequently connected to the experience of panic attacks.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
If you have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder‚ do not convince yourself that you have a clinical illness. You do not. This disorder does not mean that you have a physical or mental illness. Your brain is fine; your body is fine. If I had editorial authority over what was printed in text book psychology‚ I would eliminate the use of the term “disorder”. The term is over prescribed and misleading. It conjures up ideas of chaos and a total breakdown of mental function. That is not the case. GAD is a behavioral condition that is habitual‚ and it can be reversed easily by following a series of steps. You can return to a more relaxed level of living if you follow the steps and psychological techniques I am going to outline for you below.
Once people practice the One Move technique for the elimination of the panic attacks as explained in my course‚ the intense fear surrounding the anxiety collapses in on itself. As the panic attacks become less frequent‚ the generalized anxiety begins to evaporate as a state of solid calm returns.