I was no stranger to the emergency room…
From the ages of 25 to 31, I had logged over 50 visits. The ER visits were due to either a bad panic attack caused by a situation from the past that triggered panic, or a scary physical sensation, but I should have picked up on the chain of thoughts and why the cycle kept going day after day.
The way I interpreted the world around me and the judgements I made of things was ultimately being stored in my subconscious mind. I played the same recording over and over, day after day without a break, and ultimately paid the price through these panic attacks and generalized anxiety.
My emotions, as they were happening, were just signals that I needed to react to the current situation. What I’ve learned is that I needed to read the emotion and react accordingly, which I wasn’t. If I was feeling scared, for example, I should have looked at the root cause of that emotion, not the situation I was in at that moment.
All main emotions have secondary emotions that are usually causing them.
I should have tried to understand what secondary emotions might be coming into play at any time that was causing me to feel upset or anxious. You are never feeling an emotion “for no reason.” There is usually a trigger that you experienced that set off a secondary emotion, which then builds up with all of the other feelings you have been supressing, and this causes an emotional reaction that seems out of sync with what you are experiencing. The key here is to be aware of those deep-seeded underlying secondary emotions that are causing whatever negative feelings you are having, and deal with those feelings first.
“Once you pay attention to those feelings, you can turn them around and begin to improve your overall outlook.”
Knowing what causes your negative feelings can work a great deal towards ending the cycle of generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks. What drove me to the ER were one of the two different kinds of anxiety symptoms I experienced throughout a day―there was the lingering kind such as a lump in the throat feeling, more commonly known as Globus Hystericus, or the dizzy feeling of literally feeling like you’re walking in a dream and no one can really see or hear you. Or there was the sudden anxiety symptoms in the form of a heart palpitation that seemed to rise from nowhere and scared the life out of me, or the numbness/tingling in my arms that led me to always think a stroke was right around the corner, but as always I was wrong again and again… thankfully.
Boy was I stubborn!
In my experience working with people with anxiety disorders, a hypochondriac never seems to believe the negative result that is handed to him after physical tests are done, and I was no exception to this.
I fiercely held my ground, letting each and every one of them there know that they needed to see I was physically sick, and the tests were wrong. It was a tug of war battle, and I should have paid closer attention and began building on those facts that would begin growing my belief that there was in fact nothing to fear, and it was as many had told me ‘all in my head.’ I began not mentioning anything about my anxiety problems just so that the doctors wouldn’t do the same tests again and again.
If they gave me a different test for the complaint I had, then maybe I would find out what was making me feel the way I was and I could find a cure and it would all be done and I could go back to living free and happy how I once was.
But it was all for nothing. I just couldn’t accept that this was all being caused by me and my fear and worry, it was too easy a solution and I couldn’t get my head wrapped around this idea for a very long time, and people that were close to me in my life were growing more and more concerned and confused every day. If I would have just taken a few steps back and evaluated what was going on mentally, I would be able to start working on finding tools that would eventually lead me to freedom from anxiety and panic attacks, and end those awful experiences.
For an overly anxious person, the decision to go to a regular doctor rather than the emergency room was an easy one in the moments of crisis. In my experiences with regular doctors, it was almost like they were waiting for me to show them a sign of an anxiety disorder so that they could write out the prescription and send me off. It didn’t seem like any of them really cared about the root causes of my issues and wanted to lead me in the right direction.
They just treated the symptoms on the surface, and that is plain and simply wrong…
When your mind is so wired to worry as mine was for 6 years, nothing else in the world matters more than tending to the emergency that your mind and body are crying out for. So after a deep crying session (you won’t believe how much tension crying releases), I took a good look around me and realized I needed to draw strength from the two people who needed me the most and also continue on my path to be the best tennis player I could be. I needed to be there for my son, who was going to grow up and ask daddy questions and want to play and be taught new amazing things. That was the beginning of the end to my panic attacks, and my endless visits to doctors and emergency rooms.
Knowing why you want change to happen and getting emotionally ‘charged up’ over the possibilities of how your life will be different, can truly steer you in the right direction past debilitating anxiety and panic attacks.