ANXIETY, PANIC ATTACK & DEPRESSION | MY STORY PART 2 – WHAT IFS

 If you missed it you can see my first post here 
… After being diagnosed, it was a weight of my shoulders. I knew what was wrong with me. but if you’ve ever suffered with panic/anxiety you’d know that it’s really hard to believe that the sensations your feeling are thought provoked and that there is nothing actually wrong with you. during my doctor’s appointment my sister pushed to get me fast tracked onto a CBT program as we had a holiday coming up, and there was NO way I was going to fly in my state. My closest friends and family helped me to get it into my head that I could overcome this. Without them I don’t know where I’d be now. I found after just a few days on Citalopram that my mood was even lower, so I stopped taking them and soldiered through until I had my first CBT session. My therapist discussed with me what I had been feeling and explained how completely typical these symptoms were for a sufferer of panic attacks. I went on my holiday and despite crippling anxiety at the airport I had a great time. I went back to work the week after and continued with my CBT on a weekly basis.
Fast forward a few months…
Things got a lot easier to deal with, don’t get me wrong I had my days where I literally didn’t want to get out of bed and thought my life wasn’t worth living. But luckily I had a good support network to help me through those days. I sometimes debated suicide, but the thought of what that would do to my family was enough to stop me, and ultimately I knew that I had to fight this. As the weeks went on, my therapist seemed to be repeating the same things over and over again. In my experience the first stage of CBT is more behavioural. In my case, I had quite a lot of behaviours I wasn’t aware of. Like carrying water with me (just in case), not drinking caffeine (just in case) or not over eating (just in case). You might have noticed a pattern here. I was using certain things to help my anxiety but in actual fact they were prolonging it. At this point I was stepped up and this was where my new therapist came in. on my first session she said. What causes your anxiety? My answer was that I really didn’t know. We went through where I would get anxious; in a queue, in meetings, sat with friends, basically anywhere and everywhere. What she explained to me next was the start of me seeing the light. She said “have you ever thought that your anxiety might be caused by anxiety” this was something I had never contemplated. But it really was a turning point…
 
Do you ever get what if thoughts? this was something I did all the time, my mind would go round and round constantly accessing situations and there safety. below I’ve draw a little picture which my therapist drew for me. 
ANXIETY, PANIC ATTACKS, GETTING OVER ANXIETY
You can see that the thought process of somebody not suffering from anxiety would be I’m going from A to B. For me I knew my end goal was B but before that I would think about every possible scenario. the branches represent every what if thought. I’m not sure if this is the same for every anxiety suffer, but for me I could really relate to this. This explains why for many anxiety sufferers, its impossible to concentrate on anything other than the what ifs. This can make you forget to do the most mundane things or make it very difficult to concentrate on the simplest of things.
 
So for any of you suffering with anxiety, I want to set you little task, something that really helped me to start overcoming my anxiety 🙂
 
From now start evaluating your thoughts, every time you have a what if thought (what if I’m late, what if they don’t like me, what if I get hurt) I want you to ask your self, is there any evidence to support this thought? (do I KNOW I’m going to be late? do I KNOW they don’t like me? do I KNOW I’m going to get hurt?) ask yourself what IS? 
 
Every time you acknowledge a what if thought, say to your self its a what if and try to move on from that thought, I know this is a lot easier said than done, but I’ve done it, and trust me it will get easier. I PROMISE. Just keep with it. If you have any questions or just want to talk privately, please feel free to email me at eskaybeauty@gmail.com 
 
Worry time 
another great way to start unloading those horrible thought is to allow your self worry time. Set aside a time of the day that you can stick to everyday. Carry with you a little notebook or use your phone. Every time you have a worrying thought, write it down in you book. I used to have 6 o’clock as my worry time. it should be a 10-30 minute break, where you can avoid distractions. Don’t have it too close to bed time, and try to stick to your allotted time. Go through your list of worry’s. For each, ask yourself, was this worth worrying over? does it have any relevance now? can i solve the worry. here’s and example:
 
What if i die
I might get sick
My heart feels funny
What if i lost my job
My car tax is up soon
 
Once gone through:
 
What if i die – I cannot change this, not worth worrying about
I might get sick – Not worth worrying about
My heart feels funny – I’m still here now
What if i lost my job – I would deal with it if I had to, I could speak to my boss to get some peace of mind
My car tax is up soon – find out when its up, get things ready to go and get new disc
 
These are some of the things that really helped me start to take control of my anxiety, let me know if you try these out and let me know how you get on. 
 
To be continued…
 
like I said I’m here to help, feel free to email me!
 
If your reading this and your a sufferer of anxiety  panic or depression but don’t feel like you can, then please just do. I know exactly what it feels like, you feel like nobody can possibly know what it feels like or nobody understands what your going through. But believe me I do. there is no shame in asking for help. 1 in 3 people suffer with a mental health disorder, and together we can help each other.
 
Until next time..
lots of love
Sophie
xxx
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