It has been a month since I decided enough was enough and something had to be done about this terrible, perpetual anxiety. In that time I have started reading and using an anxiety and phobia workbook, seen a therapist 3 times, been in an elevator twice (a huge acheivement for me) and joined a clinical trial investigating anxiety and panic attacks
My list of worries though doesn\'t appear to be getting any shorter. On the contrary I seem to have added to it the following:
1. What if I let people down (meaning my therapist/family/friends) by not getting better?
2. What if I\'m not really eligible for the clinical trial and end up skewing their results?
3. What if I never get back in a lift again – my anxiety about them will surely grow to unmanageable proportions?
4. What if my fear overcomes me and I drop out of therapy?
My life is plagued by \'what ifs\'.
One of my recent therapy homeworks was to list all my particular panic symptoms and what I thought was the worst thing that could happen. Even that made me anxious as it made me think I was giving the wrong answer. My anxiety is not about the symptoms themselves – my heart can pound away for as long as it likes – it doesn\'t scare me in itself, I don\'t think I\'m going to have a heart attack or anything. What scares me (and sets off the pounding heart in the first place) is the terrible, stomach-churning terror that the train I\'m on will crash, or the lift will plummet to the ground, or the plane will spiral down, down into the sea. I have catastrophised each aspect of my life to the extent that even stepping out to the supermarket is a dangerous expedition.
Sure, a therapist can reassure me that my heart won\'t beat itself into exhaustion, shaking limbs won\'t cause muscular damage, light-headedness is not due to an imminent stroke but more likely blood pressure and blood sugar levels. I believe all that and know it to be true. But how -HOW is a therapist to convince me that the train WON\'T crash?
Because it just might…