Many things seem to trigger people into panic attacks: a sound, sight, smell, or sensation that reminds someone of a past trauma, anticipation of a perceived fear (such as, knowing you have to sleep alone when your partner is out of town next week), a physical sensation (nausea) or a certain emotion (feeling overwhelmed, guilty, embarrassed). However, when I talk to people about the details in the moment before the panic attack, what invariably happens between this trigger stimuli and the panic is a fleeting thought — one that people hardly realize as it crosses their mind. This is the anxiety trigger.
One of the biggest myths (tricks) of the Anxiety is that it makes you think you are out of control. Anxiety loves to make people feel that they are out of control. Believing this is one of the biggest problems for anxious people. If they knew they had control, they would not be anxious. For family members, friends, and mental health professionals, it is important that we deconstruct the belief that the anxious person is “out of control” and help him or her see what control they have, thus helping the anxiety decrease.
Fear is a biological response. The fearful stimuli tells our amygdala to release adrenaline (our “fight or flight” hormone). The sole purpose of this is to give us energy to fight or flee. In other words, its purpose is to get us to act, once we act, the fear is pointless. And, usually goes away, since acting has us feeling empowered, not so out of control. Our focus becomes on our tasks at hand, and the worry get relegated to the background.
In this video on animal therapy, you’ll see me and Appa! Appa is a good therapy dog. He is calm and loves to be cuddled.
Many people use animals to ease their anxiety. Fear and worries are washed away by connecting, loving, petting, breathing with animals. Countless people I know go to their loving pets when they feel anxious and receive the instant relief this unconditional love can provide. Anxiety can have us feeling so disconnected and lonely. Animals make us feel warm and belonging. Since they are always in the present moment. They provide a good model for us to be mindful!
Yes, but it is much more complicated than that. Anxiety has us feel like we are “out of control.” This is one of its biggest tricks it has to stay in power over us. It is important for us to see how it makes us feel “out of control,” because once it is visible we can do something about it. The following are some nasty things that anxiety says to us:
“Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once.”
William Shakespeare, Julius Caeser
It was February 1977. We tumbled out of our wooden paneled station wagon, returning home from Indian Princesses, a YMCA craft and activity program to enhance relationships between fathers and daughters.
Jodi is licensed clinical social worker and former anxiety sufferer. She is a counselor, mother, healer, lover, teacher, author and friend. She has been counseling children and adults since 1994, working with folks online and in her office.
An author and international teacher on topics including non-dual spirituality, narrative psychology, shamanism and living with respect to the earth, Aman is a full-time counselor at the Heal Here Counseling in Rochester, New York. Combining many modalities into her healing practice, Aman is also a certified yoga teacher, mindfulness practitioner, and hands-on energy healer. She has a master’s degree from Columbia University and a post-graduate diploma in Narrative Therapy from Dulwich Centre in Adelaide, Australia, where she also served as a faculty member. She has blogged since 2008 and her professional articles have been published in The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work.
Aman has received six years of one-on-one training in intuition and energy healing with Master Healer, Reverend Marcie Seidel, and completed a year apprenticeship with John Perkins and Llyn Roberts, obtaining a professional certification as a Master Healer and Shapeshifter.
Most joyfully, Aman and her husband designed and built an environmentally friendly home where they live with their three children and ten chickens.
“I help people of all ages struggling with the effects of anxiety, including: panic, flashbacks, worries, and phobias. I experienced and overcame my anxiety during my own personal crisis, and stepped away from it with a smile on my face and peace in my heart.”
A note from Jodi:
I love this story…
There is a man stuck in a hole.
Another man, walking by, comes to the opening of the hole, and the man inside says, “Help me!”
So the second man jumps in.
The first man, exasperated, says, “What are you doing? Now we are both stuck in this hole!”
The second man says, “Yes, but I’ve been here before and I know how to get out.”
That’s me. I jump right in, and show you the way out. Every Wednesday, through my blog posts, you will learn the tricks and tactics of anxiety to understand how a biologically-based survival reflex can snowball into a problem that can make us feel like we are drowning in quicksand. You will develop your own skills and knowledge to climb out of anxiety’s desperate suffocation.
If you or someone you love feels desperate to break free from the prison of worry and panic, read my suggestions, get on steady ground, and take a big breath of freedom! I hope you’ll also share your experiences with anxiety. We can all learn from each other.
Jodi Lobozzo Aman’s Anxiety-Schmanxiety Blog – Welcome Video