Apr 04, 2008
Ok, don't know how many people read this on a routine basis, but I just wanted to let everyone know that things are really starting to look up. My biggest fear now is regression, which is part of the 'recovery' process when dealing with anxiety. I was talking with my therapist yesterday and she thinks that I should only come once a month now and probably once every two months when I feel comfortable. We were talking alot about this forum, and as I have been a member for awhile now, I have noticed that the VAST majority of people are a 'text book' case of EXACTLY what I went through three years ago and what I have had to deal with this time around.
As I said previously, regression is now my biggest fear, because I 'relapsed' in January, but although the fears were just as big this time around for these past few months, it did not affect me like it did three years ago and that is because I gained the knowledge last time around and instead of fighting the medical community with my health concerns, I put my faith in them (which was VERY hard), and confronted the problem head on. So why do I feel that I was able to better handle it?
First and foremost; KNOWLEDGE of the condition: I have always preached in responding to posts to lean about this panic/anxiety/obsessive cycle with a therapist. By understanding the cycle, I was able to 'embrace' it, and while though it is nerveracking, knowledge is power.
Second; CONFRONTING the problem head on this time. When I noticed that it had returned and started seeing these patterns emerge, I immediatley went to my doctor and she was not concerned medically and I worked with her to get back on Zoloft and have Ativan on an as needed basis. But that was only one part of confronting it. Again, I firmly believe there is no magic pill to 'cure' this. I immediately made an appointment with a therapist and expressed my concerns, which helped keep it at bay. I was still terrified, but I had to realize that this was probably in the mind because why trust your mind on this when it has been so wrong so many times before concerning my health?
Third; FOCUS your attention on helping others: I truly believe that this forum was a HUGE part of dealing with this. Often, anxiety and panic tends to focus our attention inward. By focusing our attention 'outward' it keeps us focused on other tasks. It also enables you to realize that EVERYONE has challanges that need to be addressed. This forum in particular is filled with caring people that are in all stages of the anxiety/panic cycle and can relate and care about progress.
Fourth; REALIZE that this is normal process and that you are not alone going through this. I have talked with many people that are going through this for the first time and feel like they are alone and have no hope whatsoever about becomeing their 'normal' selves again. The first time I went through this, it absolutely floored me and I felt I had lost my sense of identity. I did not understand what was going on, I was depressed and had no hope of getting better, but this is a 'normal' part of this process and that you will get better. As far down as I had fallen, I got better and everyone else will as well.
Fifth; it takes hard WORK throughout your life. When I first 'recovered' years ago, I stopped talking about it, and just kind of forgot about the whole thing and was not worried that it could happen again. Well, it did, and this time around I have decided to stick with this now forever. I will go see a therapist on a regular basis (once every month or two months), because they can help you realize that this pattern of thinking is creeping up on you once again (Even though, I tend to think that this comes out of the blue, I was able to see a pattern develop before the panic and anxiety returned). I will continue to write a journal on a routine basis because that also helps me to focus on patterns and how I am feeling over the long term. Most importantly, I am going to stay in this forum; I truly care and can relate to what so many people are going through that I have learned we need to stick together and help each other.
So, this is not over by a long shot, I still have concerns and fears, but must remember that it is a part of life. We have bad days and good days. I was talking with my therapist yesterday, and I still feel the same symptoms as before, but I just interpret them differently now; that is why talking it through is the MOST important thing you can do in my opinion and for me, I have decided to embrace and learn more about it and keep myself busy. I laid out some goals with her and have decided to pursue a PhD in Psychology after my grad school loans are paid off (From where she went). Why not learn even more about it and actually make a profession while helping others along the way? When I take a step back and learn about this cycle it really peaks my interest in why I think the way I do.
So, no matter how hard it is, it is so important to NEVER give up hope because you will get better; it is part of the cycle and as long as you work through it, it is inevitable that you will get there. Again, I sound like a broken record, but a heartfelt 'thank you' to everyone and I look foward to talking and helping each other for years to come here in this forum!