Facing Fear When Challenging Your Agoraphobia
Facing fear takes courage no matter what those fears may be.
When you have a panic sensation, it is commonly followed by an intense urge to leave the situation. More than anything you long to escape and find a safe place. For many people this means going back home. Facing fear is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself.
It is not uncommon for people who suffer panic with agoraphobia to leave full carts of groceries near the checkout line because their intense urge to run overwhelmed them.
They have trouble facing fear due to the intense symptoms they feel. They mistake their symptoms are something more serious.
Perhaps you don't have a problem with the grocery store or standing in line, but what I am about to tell you applies to all fears in general.
It is those annoying racing thoughts that cause for alarm. They make facing fear difficult. They contribute in a large way to the urge to run to your safe place.
Your fearful thoughts might sound something like this:
I'm going to go crazy.
I'm going to faint.
People will know I am anxious.
Something terrible is about to happen.
What if I embarrass myself?
As common as these thoughts are for someone suffering with panic, many listen to it's false message of the need to run. It's important to note that not everyone with panic leaves their uncomfortable situations. There are a great many that stay and finish what they are doing. Although facing fear is difficult for them, they persevere through it.
However, the ones that do leave their situation out of fear are only setting themselves up for more anxiety upon their next return. Every time you leave a situation out of fear, you train your mind to see your situation as dangerous. Your mind notices everything and makes a detailed record of things to avoid in the future.
It is extremely important to resist running home or finding a safe place during panic. I know you might think that this is what you should be doing to feel better, but I assure you that the opposite is true. Staying and facing your fear is more important and beneficial to your mental health.
Each time you resist the urge to leave a situation, you are training your brain to see things differently. Staying and waiting it out teaches your subconscious that there is nothing to fear.
It is important to note that you will still feel all the unpleasant symptoms of panic as you did before. Panic will rise and fall as it does every other time. But the more you practice, the less and less anxiety you will feel over time.
Next time you get the urge to run home to find your safe place, remember to accept your panic and ride it out. By facing your fear, and resisting the urge to run, you are making big progress in overcoming your agoraphobia.
Remember, this too shall pass!