I have used meditation and self-hypnosis taught to me by my therapist. I can say that both methods are very helpful for getting into a relaxed state. At first it was difficult to "let go" and go under hyponsis. For some reason I was afraid at first. It has to do with that "losing control thing," that some people feel. At least it was for me.
Along with talk therapy, lifestyle changes, medications for a period of time and hypnosis, I was able to learn how to get myself into enough of a relaxed state, where I could "abort" the panic attack from occuring at all. It took awhile to get the hang of it, but once I learned how to do it, I actually found out how much I enjoyed the feeling. Meditation works the same way.
I have always felt that meditation and self-hypnosis were very much like each other. They both can take you into deep relaxation. It's amazing how long after you perform these steps, that you stay feeling relaxed and refreshed. I found it to be awesome, once I learned how. It was also great to assist in giving birth with less pain. I guess I was lucky, each baby was only 5 and 6 hours of labor.
If you decide to try it for yourself, I wish you as much luck as I seemed to have with it. Even though it has been many years since I suffered from panic and anxiety, I will still use meditation and self-hypnosis after highly stressful situations. It still does wonders to calm me down.
Good luck to you and best wishes,
I take 20 mg of Paxil, my doctor prescribed it for me after a very lengthy conversation I had with him where I was trying to see if I had ADD. He diagnosed me as having an anxiety issue.
I've been on it for about two weeks. My first 3 days were strange, in a good way, like I could let go of things and not stress or obsess about things. I felt a bit 'out of myself' but now I feel like I'm a more calm, better me, more in control.
And I sleep a lot better. But I do find myself doing some unproductive yawning during the day.
As for the college thing, my advice is turn that anxiety into production. Start sending out resumes everywhere, tweak your resume every week or so and find a job waiting tables in the mean time. Not having to worry about your bills will make you more relaxed in an interview and that translates to job offers.
I was trained in TM by Margaret Ashleman, who with her husband George, were owners of "Coolfont" (you can google that) which is now owned by a developer, and, judging from their website, the Ashlemans apparently fell on hard times and had to sell that puppy. Coolfont, when they owned it, was one of the 7 world-wide TM Education Centers -so they said.
Margaret spent weeks with me and a group, teaching us the ways of TM, and suggesting that one day we would be able to levitate -merely by thinking (OK, in TM, you sort of "unthink") about it. To my knowledge, no one in the TM world of the Marharishi has yet been cleared for take-off. In any event, advanced methods came at an extra cost, so I demurred.
That said, the meditation technique can be relaxing and somewhat "centering," I believed, but no more so than standing in the midst of my little 2 acre Eden and contemplating what a beautiful place this truly is, and how fortunate I am to be here, as opposed, for example, to living on the sun side of the planet Mercury.
The specific techniques of TM are a closely guarded secret available only to those with a crisp $20 in their pockets (back in the day) so let me tell you all about it:
You sit there, eyes closed, gradually allowing thoughts and feelings to express themselves and then make their mental exit. If you find youself thinking, then don't force a stop to it or fight it, just let the thoughts play out and then go away.
Gradually, you will enter a state in which not too much seems to be going on in your head, and when you sense that this has happened, sort of stay with it to clear your mind. As thoughts intrude, just let them play out and return to your "clean slate" frame of mind.
At some point, you will wonder how long you've been at this and will find youself checking your watch or that Westclox sitting in the dresser. If 20 minutes have elapsed -you're done until tomorrow.
You may be tempted to do more, but don't give in! This stuff is powerful and cumulative. Twenty minutes -that's all! Just be sure and do it every day. (Sounds lime drug therapy, doesn't it?)
Well, after several months of faithfully meditating, I finally gave it up because I had things to do that interested me more than sitting still and thinking of nothing.
And one of those things was carpeting work for George and Margaret at Coolfont. Here, they had me removing worn out carpet from one place (the lodge) and replacing yet more worn carpet and filthy carpet in the cabins with the stuff from the lodge. Dusty work, it was. But I faithfully concluded my duties, submitted my discounted billing, and waited to be paid.
And waited. And waited.
Phone calls brought promises of immediate payment, but none were received. Odd, I thought, coming from someone who alleged that TM sort of helped people be more straight-forward and honest in their dealings. So eventually, I made my appearance at their home office, pushed open the door, and said, "I need a check, NOW." This I received, promptly cashed at their local bank, and made my way home, never to have dealings with them again.
I have no idea whatever happened, in the fullness of time, to George and Margaret -other than the not surprising news of their divorce.
What survives in me today of my contact experience with meditation may be summed up in ONE word: WAIT. Really. No matter how convinced you may be about a reaction you have -give it some time- and maybe not MUCH time, to see how you feel about it. WAIT. It is amazing to me how the mere passage of time can change one's view.
And to this day, the "wait" reaction is something I deploy to allow my brain enough time to consider other possibilities or points of view. I'm not suire I would have this were it not for Margaret and George and TM.
And so, I think (that is, I think that I think) that meditation is a sort of formalized way of waiting for your in-born wisdom to process what's going on and return to you a course of action, a moral position or even a request for more data -which will help you deal more effectively with the world around you.
That's MY experience - I took what worked for me -and left the rest behind. I think that ANYthing which helps someone relax is a worthy therapy for dealing with panic and anxiety -which are very UN-relaxing. If listening to new age music and birdies chirping does it for you, then bring on the Moog synthesizers and the birds, far as I'm concerned.
Bottom line: if it works for you -it works for you!
Thanks for your contribution.
this is worth reading!
back in 1985 an author named jack handley (i believe) sort of came up with congnitive behavioral therapy. he put a bunch of things together with help of a doc. here is a VERY interesting method that does work every time. this is the method that people like kobe bryant, tiger woods, bill gates etc... use. maybe not those exact people but you know the highly succesful, with stressful under pressure job types....here's what to do.
first you need to learn to relax....for me it's a lucinda basset tape from her attacking anxiety and depression program. i think only 3 sessions of that series are VERY helpful, (changing neg thoughts to pos., 6 steps to put an end to panic attacks and the relaxation tape) the rest is kind of common sense that you would learn better in therapy. but anyway...
(you can get this relaxation tape on limewire for free, hope i can say that on this site)
anyway again....i listen to that tape. do the deep breathing....do the muscle relaxation then her guided imagery. it leads you to a peaceful waterfall.....that is the END of her relaxation therapy...BUT mr. handley came up with something he refered to as "emotional transfusion"......
as soon as the basset tapes goes off (15 min.) i do some more deep breathing. then count backwards from 10....9...8 all the way to 1...then boom you are transformed back to that peaceful watefall scene ( or any peaceful place you have ever experienced) then you sort of stay there peaceful. you look around, at the leaves, you hear the water. you hear the birds. you smell the flowers. you dip your foot in the water. you lay back and just relax and BE in that place...(no big deal right? so far it's just guided imagary relaxtion) but now....as you are at this peaceful place fully relaxed,. (this takes practice) you then transform yourself to one of the best moments of your life. when you were happy, at peace, full of joy, totally conent. and you imagine that whole scenerio also. peoples faces, your face, the joy. the same emotionals will come back from that day! it will happen....the key here is to get into the ALPHA brain wave level. which is where you are when you daydream and right before you fall asleep and wake up. you are high suggestible at this point in you SUBCONSCIOUS! NOT YOUR WAKING MIND!. now follow me here.........this is the most important point....
now take that feeling, from your most precious happy moment and transform it to a problem area (for me it's driving) see yourself at total peace. feeling the same way you did at your most wonderful moment in your life.....you are reprogramming your subconscious and when you go to do that specific event....in your mind and subconscious you have already been there and been peaceful. so the subconscious does all the work....this has been tested over and over and does work. i used it to get back to driving initially. i just imagined the drive to and from work. i did it like 3 times for that specific event and have NOT had trouble on the drive to and from work since. it's amazing....just think about the facts here:
you can tell yourself in the middle of the mall. i feel find. i'm calm and relaxed and then bug out and panic! because your subconscious is saying HELL NO your not fine! so if your subconcious can be used for negative it can certainly be used for positive also.
it doesn't stop there either. you can use it to improve relationships, self esteen, (by going into alpa and using affirmations, i love myself, i accept myself, i am over calm when i drive, i speak peacefully with my wife) public speaking, your golf game etc... as long as your subconcious is programmed to the postive and has felt it has been there and succeded in the past it works for you. THIS DOES WORK AND IS SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN TO WORK! you must work at it. after awhile going into alpha state becomes easier too. it's a lil harder for me to settle down and do it cuz i have A.D.D. haha....
combine this, with chaning your negative thoughts to postive ones in the waking mind like in traditional CBT and also some relaxation exercises when you feel panic coming on and it's good by panic disorder! but the key here is YOU HAVE TO KEEP UP WITH IT! IT HAS TO BE A PART OF YOUR LIFE FROM NOW ON! keep thinking positive, keep doing relaxaing and make lifestyle changes, like diet, exercise etc... (here is where i think a support group would come in handy. like an 'A.A. meeting almost. once a week go it and refresh what you have learned and keep it fresh. repetition makes habits, habits if good, change lives forever!
there are alot of people out there that live more fulfilling lives now then they did before they have panic disorder......if i could only practice what i preach more often.....maybe i should get on that ;)
everything i just posted is the truth and facts and will help you tremendously if you keep with it, do this for 2 months and use the emotional transfusion on those specific places that you have trouble with and see what happens! it's magic!
ever notice how good you feel after a good day dream?
if there is a conflict between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. the subconscious ALWAYS WINS! it's the boss. so why not have both of them working for you???
this can be used with meds etc...and is a perfect adjunct to any therapy. anyone that tells you otherwise, is not to highly informed about the human mind...
on a deeper level this is how yogi's walk on hot coals and lay on beds of nails. if they can do that, we can shop in the mall or drive on the highway!
No question about it, the methods described by mystruggle and incorporated by various motivational practitioners, can be very effective. Matter of fact, it is what happens sometimes in formal therapy and we certainly see evidence of it here on the forum where we are all about, "you can do it!" Strong evidence that if the brain has the power to shake us up, it indeed can use the same power to make us feel better.
None of these things, however, is, or should be regarded as working outside the realm of our intrinsic abilities or having psychic or supernatural sources or power and certainly none are the exclusive intellectual property of a special expert. They work because WE put them to work.
Let us be especially careful not to be taken in by the notion of some deep psychic power that enables our feet not be burned by walking through hot coals or our skin to be pierced when lying on a bed of nails. That's all physics and would work whether you thought it would or not. The scientific data for this is all over the net -just google for "firewalking" or "bed of nails" and you'll find sources too numerous to list here. I can also give you the ways too make darn good and sure your feet DO get burned or your skin DOES get pierced by a nail -and they are also guaranteed to work no matter what you believe and no matter what anyone tells you, or whether you are hypnotized, etc.
Would that shoot down the power of the mind? Of course not! The brain will never be able to make you do what is not in your capacity to do. It won't make you fly, or enable you to mow the lawn by thinking about it or calculate the value of pi in your head.
Which is all to say that nothing can make anyone do what is not within our design to do -simple. But, using our brains to take care of problems originating within our brains is very much within our capacity, which is why there can be and there is recovery from panic and anxiety.
This sounds so simple that it hardly bears mentioning. But hold on! The problem for many sufferers is that they doubt or do not know or have not been convinced that this IS something within their "design capacity" to handle: "How long will this last?" "Will this go on all my life?" What works for you?" You've seen what people has to say. The evidence of experience, for these folks, says panic and anxiety have a sort of mind of their own. Unless and until they break through that barrier -to realize that indeed it IS within their ability to unhand themselves of this disorder- they're stuck.
So, the question becomes, how do we get a breakthrough? The answers are as many and varied as the people who discover their own individual break through experience. And those answer DO include the books, tapes, programs, falling in love, finding Jesus, facing a bully, formal therapy, medication support ..and the list goes on. The problem is in the way all these things are understood. They are not "nostrums," or cures in and of themselves. They no more put you in possession of your senses than a key puts you in possession of a new apartment. What they do is what the key does -it gives you access, let's you in. The rest is up to you. The benefit of all the programs, methods, books, tapes, beliefs, fire walks, religious inquiry, therapy -ALL of that stuff- is that it enable self-discovery and a measure of self-esteem. They help you explore and learn. At least, they SHOULD do that. If they don't -if there is one disappointment after the other (and this has happened all too often)- then we might see yet MORE evidence that "nothing works."
Because what works for one person may mean nothing -or even be dangerous- to someone else, we must be careful to remember that our experience is truly personal, and while it may be shared and validated by others, it is not going to be the "right key" for everyone. Indeed, Tiger Woods may repeat some mantra or imagine a place of solace when he plays a round -and it may show in his winnings. But then again, big John Madden is still traveling by his own motor coach because he's afraid to fly.
haha, yea i in no way meant for anyone to try to walk on hot coals, or laydown on some sharp nails. that is just stupidity! my point is, if your subconscious believes it and has experienced it, it will benefit you. the brain does not know the difference between real or imagined. that is why when we catastrophize an event like all of us with panic disorder do, we feel the physical symptoms of stress, fear anxiety etc. and they manifest in physical symptoms and sometimes escalate to a full blown panic attack. so if we can do that on the negative end of the spectrum, we surely can do it on the postive side of the spectrum also. it's all what you make yourself believe. like JS said, a breakthrough, but you have to practice these things. if you do practice any "good" therapy it will work. CBT, talking problems out, relaxation, postive thinking, shooting foul shots, putting, karate, you will get better at it. but our subconscious plays a big role in our lives and it anxiety, that can't be disputed. the more you work at being positive the better a person you will be. this just doesn't inlclude anxiety disorders, but affects everything from self esteem, to religious or moral values, whatever yours may be. i would suggest, not knocking anything till you try it. contempt before prior investigation is the definition of ignorace. we all just need to find our "niche" or breakthrough and continue to work until we do so. i just offer personal experience and knowledge from docs and people that have overcome this disorder. anything i say on here is either a fact or based on something that has worked in the past for me or someone else in a postive way. as always, even with meds, talk things over with a doctor before you try them.....2 heads are better than one....haha even if they are both yours!!! ie: your subconcsioius and conscious mind!
I took an eight week course (1 class a week) in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). You can easily find it on the net. Just plug in MBSR. There are trained instructors who teach it in alot of places. It was developed by Jon Kabat Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Stress Reduction Clinic. The type of meditation sounds alot like TS Geare described to you in that you don't try to force your thoughts away. You focus on your breathing to keep you in the present moment. When thoughts intrude, you acknowledge them and then go back to your breathing. By doing this, you become aware of your thoughts and how they efffect you. When you become aware, you can then find the quiet place inside you and realize that your thoughts are just thoughts. Your emotions are just emotions. You learn how not to take them "personally" The whole course helped me alot. It takes alot of practice and you have to keep up your own practice after the course is over. There is a book about the whole program titled Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat Zinn. If you don't want or can't take a course, the book takes you step by step in developng your own mindfulness based meditation practice. Also, if you think you might be interested, I will ask my meditation teacher if it would be okay for me to give you her e-mail. She will not pressure you in any way one way or another-she could just offer you more information.(My MBSR group started a 'support group" and she continues to meet with us to offer support free of charge) I hope this helps. Hang in there. There is alot of support on this site.
Now I know why I hang out here: I keep seeing brilliant insights from the folks who post here. Take mystruggle Jay for example. Jay says, and I quote:
"...if you do practice any "good" therapy it will work. CBT, talking problems out, relaxation, postive thinking, shooting foul shots, putting, karate, you will get better at it..."
"...more you work at being positive the better a person you will be. this just doesn't inlclude anxiety disorders, but affects everything from self esteem, to religious or moral values, whatever yours may be..."
These little pearls of wisdom are HUGE. In the effort to overcome and recover from panic, ANYTHING with a positive impact on your self-image and esteem (and that doesn't hurt others) is a step closer to the exit. What do you do WELL? (Or, what do you want to do better?) I don't care what it is, but find something fulfilling or enjoyable to you and get better at it. Doesn't matter what: cross words, poetry, gardening, karate, modeling, building web sites -I don't care what it is. To the extent you improve and take greater pleasure in it, you will develop a beter (and more accurate, I might add) impression of yourself. You will have that "I can do this" thing going on, you will have evidence that the attention you give to a challenge results in meeting that challange. And that, ultimately, transfers to working on your own inner self where the panic and anxiety operate. Of course, you may need the help of meds and therapy -but you get help from someone, somewhere, with EVERYTHING. So what?
One thing a great MANY panic people do well is talk to others about it and in point of fact it has been such conversations, right here on this forum, that have very swiftly moved others along to a much better situation. My PM's are chock FULL of stories from folks who reported how something someone said here was a turning point, a light bulb going on -changed their life!
Thanks, Jay. Brilliant. Just brilliant.
you welcome JS,
i think alot of this anxiety/panic boils down to getting out of ourselves. do something to occupy the mind. there is an old parable about a guy stranded on an island, he is going crazy with nothing to do, so he decides he doesn't want to live anymore. so he has to gather up all these different vines to contruct a rope. this took him a very long time to do. when he finally finished, he felt a devine inspirattion and the answer to his problem, that answer is. a man is the most happiest when he has something to do, and work to look foreward to, (bascially a pupose for that day) there is a lot to say about a hard days work and helping others. when we do that we don't have time to sit and dwell on our own problems and then all of a sudden a light bulb goes of and our problems are solved for us or they really don't even matter anymore. time, patience, hardwork, faith, practice and persistence. you can never go wrong with these things and they will always bring about results. this parable might not be the best type of story for this board, but it's the point that matters the most. hurting ones self is a perminent solution to a temporary problem. all must know this in their hearts, that anxiety and panic and depression can be either cured or managed to the point where we live very normal happy lives. i'm living proof of this. it gets better, i reach goals, and then maybe have a setbacks (but doesn't everyone? whether they have anxiety or not?), but you're always progressing foreward.
there is no such thing as failure, the only failure is not trying and we all move at our own pace. we all have a main purpose in life, if you don't know what it is, i will end the mystery. that purpose is to love eachother and help eachother. if you do that first in your life, everything else will fall into place. but please everyone including my hard headed self. STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE NOT PERFECTION! cut your self some slack! if a friend of yours was having this problem would you treat them like you treat yourself? or would be be more kind and understanding? something to think about! huh? we all deserve happiness and it will come. all we have to do is put one foot in front of the other and try!