My therapist is trying hypnotherapy - would love to hear you all weigh in!
I am a 38 year old wife, mother of three, and the program coordinator for my church. I also have a panic disorder with agoraphobia - I had my first panic attack when I was about 21 years old.
Over the years, I have been on dozens of medication combinations, been to years of therapy, and have gone from being completely home-bound (WITH a safe person HERE) to being able to ride 400 miles with my husband and kids for vacation. I am currently somewhere in the middle. I do NOT drive, with the exception of my kids' elementary school (which is 3 blocks away) and my job (which is also about 3 blocks away). I can ride with my husband to my parents' house in a town which connects with our city - that is a new accomplishment that I achieved about a month ago after 6 YEARS of needing my MOTHER to come and get me.
SO - that is a bit about my history and my current condition in a nutshell. I am now working with a new therapist. He is AMAZING...I can be 100% honest and open with him, he works with my husband on his own issues (it sure ain't always easy living with me lol!) as well as us as a couple, and he is offering a new approach than anything I have tried before.
At our last session he did hypnotherapy with me for the first time. It was NOT what I expected, but I think it has been helpful. I was fully aware the whole time - he had me focus on things in my OWN arsenal to help me begin to overcome my avoidance behaviors and anticipatory anxiety. I felt myself intensely relaxed and saw a little black dot that I kind of followed deeper. It was scary for a few moments as I felt a bit of that dissociation that comes with the worst of the worst panic attacks. But I feel safe with John (the therapist) so I went with it.
That was a couple of weeks ago - but I am not sure if the session really helped me change my thinking. I have had my panic disorder for so flippin' long and done so much talk therapy and explored so many medications with my psychiatrist that I know better than to expect any kind of "quick fix". However, I am just wondering what I CAN expect from hypnotherapy if I continue with it. I would really appreciate hearing experiences from others who have tried it - I am open to hearing the good, the bad, and the ugly!!
I am sorry you have suffered with this, it is such a nasty disorder. I have also lived with panic and anxiety for approx 14 years, started when I was around 19 years old or so. Such a very scary and hard time.
I do think hypnotherapy can help. I often refer back to it when I am in a situation that makes me nervous. I will flip my mind back to that time and place and allow it to take me where I feel safe. I also like therapy that includes guided imagery. That is so amazingly peaceful.
Do you know what made you regress from being able to go on a long vacation to not being able to do that now?
I take Zoloft and have for years. I do also have Xanax on hand for severe panic moments. It has also helped very much as well as having a support network to help me get through :)
Thank you for your kind words and your input on the hypnotherapy!!
My panic disorder has fluctuated over the years after significant life changes...moving, having a baby (especially after my first - I did fine with my second and third), etc..., as well as with the seasons (I don't do well in the winter when there is not as much daylight).
Right now I am on the move FORWARD again, but I am worried about the days getting shorter again...I am trying not to focus on that right now :).
Thank you again...I didn't have any frame of reference for the hypnotherapy and really wanted to hear about the experiences of others!!
BTW - does your panic disorder/agoraphobia lead to any limitations right now? If so, do you tell people? My avoidance behaviors are so obvious that I HAVE to be open about it - not being able to drive or ride far affects how I interact with others. But I have had to deal with some very negative assumptions about my "mental health" because of my openness. It's not always the best trade-off.
Hmmm, one thing about hypnotherapy is that it is effective, but it requires successive sessions. Since hypnosis is a natural thing, you do it yourself as well and reserve some everyday to practice it. It works for me, and I thought I had the worst of anxiety, but I've come pretty far in a couple of months just by doing relaxation exercises, and getting aerobic exercise as well. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy works wonders from what I have read.
Best wishes, keep on moving foward and it will pass!
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