Wednesday, January 17, 2007

From Panic to Power

That's the plan, (and the name of the book that I started reading tonight). I don't dogmatically subscribe to any philosophy, but I like a good motivational read, and think there are good concepts in most theories.

I intend to post my thoughts and reactions on what's presented in the book. I've only finished the first chapter, but it's an easy read and I can already relate to the author.
Lucinda Bassett closes it up with this list of "Five Techniques Toward Recovery:"
  • Begin by being compassionate, patient and gentle with yourself. Stop thinking, saying and doing things that make you feel bad, anxious, or upset with yourself.
  • Give yourself credit for any success. The simple act of buying this book shows that you are ready for change. Praise yourself for even the smallest accomplishments.
  • Keep an open mind. No matter who you are or what you've been through, I believe you can be helped. But you must want help. You must want to get better. You must want to take responsibility for yourself, something I'll talk about later in the book.
  • Don't overreact to you anxious feelings. Instead of fighting them, listen to them. Are you tired? Are you scaring yourself with your thoughts? Relax and let them pass...and they will.
  • Keep a journal. Note when you feel anxious, note when you feel good. Write down what you were doing, who you were with, what you just ate, and what time of day it was. This will help you see if there is a pattern to your anxious episodes. I think you will find that there is.
Not a bad list. I should definitely give myself more credit and stop overracting to anxious feelings. Stay tuned...


Kristen P. said...

Glad to hear you like the book. Seems like my life has started out of control now.....

Please keep me in your thoughts.


Lacy said...

So, I really hate to push the prescription angle, but to be honest, I feel like it's worth a try. My doctor explained it to me in a way that really helped me accept it as a solution. He said it was just a crutch. Something to lean on to help me get to a place where I could actually put into practice all these things you are learning and blogging about. Honestly Leila, when I was freaking out...there was no way I could even get rational to try those solutions. It's like my mind wasn't capable of giving credit, and not overreacting, and keeping a journal and such.

Where are you on that option? Have you decided it's not for you, or are you still entertaining the idea? Paxil-as one course-takes about three weeks to truly "kick in" but once it does, you'll notice a difference immediatetly. It's like you can just be quiet and still, and your mind won't run away without you.

Anonymous said...

A response to your previous post of worrying about a heart attack:

I have the same problem as you. Mine is a little more specific in terms of fear of heart failure, heart attack, etc. Every bodily symptom for me is a sign of heart failure. This is really quite strange for an early 20’s male who is not overweight, not a smoker, and eats well.

I guess the problem with hypochondria is uncertainty. And the truth is we will never be certain about anything. Even if the certainty was that I was dying, that would honestly even be a slight relief to know that I'm not just an insane freak.

I don't know where your hypochondria started, but mine is rooted in early adolescence. It’s when I started getting premature ventricular contractions (kind of like heart hic-ups, they feel like 'extra' or missed beats) which can be serious, and a lot of the times are not. I’ve been to a cardiologist before and my fair share of doctors. I have had an ECG, Holter monitor, an echo cardiogram done about a year ago. I also had a stress test done several years ago, and they all showed that I was fine other than the benign premature ventricular contractions, and an incomplete right bundle branch block.

That wasn't enough for me, and even though my panic episodes have reduced, and I try to resume life normally, I still have quite a bit of baseline anxiety of always thinking my heart is going to stop.

I also do get occasional symptoms of a beating heart, kind of loss of balance, thinking I am not breathing, hard palpitations, and these have been going on for years.

Yet I have never once fainted in my entire life, and nothing truly bad has ever happened. You think that would be enough proof that I am alright, and that is enough proof when I am calm. But when that anxious state kicks in, so does the doubt.

I guess I've accepted that I will never really know 100% if my heart is truly ok, but god damn it I would love a bit of certainty.

Leila V. said...

Some certainty would definitely be nice. I think that’s part of the problem with us hypochondriacs, we want to be in control. And since we can’t be certain about our health, we try to control it by having “fake” heart attacks or heart failure, etc.

Although, your concerns seem a little more justified, considering you have premature ventricular contractions. Even though they’re benign, I think I’d be in the emergency room every other day if I was you! But it’s true, you just never know…


I'm a lot more open to medication than I used to be. I just don't feel that I'm at the point where it's absolutely necessary. My anxiety can be intense at times but it doesn't cause me to miss work, etc. I can still function at a pretty normal level and would like to exhaust my other remedies before I take that route.