Strugging with Anxiety and Panic
by An Anxious Individual
I began struggling with this about 2 years ago. I ended up on a low dosage of paxil to help me cope while my husband was deployed overseas in Iraq. When he returned, I worked with my doctor to halve the dosage and after 6 weeks at half dosage worked myself off of the medication completely. I was doing great, but now about 2 months after completely removing myself from the Paxil, I'm finding the anxiety returning and the panic attacks returning as well. I feel like a failure. I'm so frustrated that it has returned and I'm concerned that I'm not going to be able to beat this. Do you have any advice? Did you have failures along the way? How long does it take for positive thinking to really start working?
Reply from Sound-Mind.org
First of all, YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE! What you have experienced here is very common when coming off of medications for anxiety & depression. Many times when people come off their medication, they quickly realize that the bad habits that got them there in the first place, have not changed much, hence the return of those dreaded symptoms.
Although medication can work as a wonderful aid in recovery, it can also inhibit a person from achieving full recovery. This is mainly because they have relied on the meds to take away their symptoms, and because they have found relief, they have not done the internal work necessary to stay well.
It is one thing to have the meds to curb those symptoms but another to stay healthy without them.
My advice to you, would be to work hard at conquering your internal dialogue. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to help many people recover from anxiety, panic and depression and to help keep them in a state of recovery.
This is truly about changing bad habits of thinking - of changing the way you look at things & the way you react to things. This takes alot of hard work and great persistance.
If you really want to overcome this (and I know you do), you must work hard at ditching those old habits and replacing them with new ones. This is a life change that will ultimately change your life for the better.
Everyone wants to know how long before positive thinking starts to work - truth is, it begins to work immediately but you may not feel the effects of it for some time. It takes a long time for your body to feel the effects of your changed mind. So whatever you do, keep up the hard work and stay determined - push through when you feel like giving up and continue, continue, continue. This will ultimately help lead you into positive change which will eventually be felt in your body.
A positive attitude is a must. Remember, this is about you being your own best friend. You'll need to stand up for yourself daily and find the truth in all things. This isn't just about "positive thinking" but thinking in a way that is more optimistic and truthful and you will need to challenge those things that promote anxiety and depression.
What most people do not understand is - that panic is created from within. It is a result of heightened anxiety and fear based on the false idea that something bad will happen and therefore we need to protect ourselves from "it". For me, learning to overcome panic is a matter of facing it, standing up to it, going through the experience and learning that it is nothing but a "false alarm". Once you break the fear of panic, you will no longer panic. The most interesting thing I learned was that if you resist panic, panic comes, while if you welcome panic, it does not come.
Hang in there! Do the work necessary to get better, with or without meds. You will need these skills to achieve and maintain recovery for life.
If you need any help or have anymore questions, please don't hesitate to ask! Be encouraged! As long as you don't give up, anxiety and panic CANNOT win! ;)