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How to Be Done with Agoraphobia and Panic Attacks

26 Aug

Question:

Hello, I suffer with Panic disorder and Agoraphobia, I am terrified of having a panic attack and of driving, bridges and being attacked when outside my home, I also am unable to sleep on my own for fear of panicking.

However last year my father was very ill, and we were told to come and say goodbye, as he only had a short time left.  I was unable to get to him or the funeral because of my fears and anxiety.  

I don't want this to happen again with my mum who is now in her eighties, as she lives a distance away and I don't want to live the rest of my life in fear, as, to be honest, it's only a existence, not a life, so I sought the help of a therapist and after many unsuccessful ones, I have found a gem who has helped me go outside for the first time in years.

However the panic does not seem to let go and she feels I have PTS due to the panic and a car crash I had many years ago. Prior to all this I bought you panic attack cd and although I adore your voice, the more I listened, the worse my anxiety became, until I gave up listening as I was scared I was going to have a full blown panic attack.

I would be very grateful if you could help me choose some CDs or products which will help me move forward in a very gentle way so my mind and body feel safe to do this.

Thank you, Belleruth, for taking the time to read my email, and I look forward to hearing your suggestions.

Linda

Dear Linda,

It’s great you didn’t give up and found a capable therapist you can trust and respond to.  That's a big deal.  A loud huzzah for you on that score!!

As for feeling panicky listening to the panic imagery – that’s understandable.  Sometimes our minds get a little perverse with us and start the worrying and nay-saying enough to co-opt even the most targeted technique.  That’s all that’s going on there.
   
We can try to stay ahead of that with other methods, and ones that occupy your mind enough to make it that much more difficult for it to do this to you.
    
I’m thinking that perhaps Mary Sise’s video, which teaches EFT-like techniques, could be just the ticket.  She has you tapping on acupoints, counting, affirming and doing all sorts of odd things.  That should occupy your mind pretty thoroughly while you can sneak in some benefit from her method.
 
Now, it may look pretty daffy to you – it does to me, too – but nobody has to watch you doing it, and it works for most people, so do we really care how peculiar it looks?  It just may be enough to occupy your mind enough to keep it from raining on your parade this time.
 
The affirmation you might want to use with her technique could be something like, “Even though I get frightened and panicky, I love and appreciate myself” or something along those lines. Something better may occur to you as you watch her using the technique on others suffering from anxiety and panic.
 
Good luck and let me know how it goes - and if this doesn't help, there are various combinations of other cognitive behavioral therapies, with or without medication, that could turn the tide for you. But you might as well start with Mary and see how that goes - it's the simplest, fastest and least expensive possibility.

All best,
BR

P.S. Your therapist may want to watch this with you.  It’s a useful and valuable technique for him or her to have as well – could help a lot of other patients, too.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award