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Arundhati, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed psychotherapist, Published Wellness Author
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Over the past 4 months I have been going through quite a bit

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Over the past 4 months I have been going through quite a bit and it all started with my first panic attack. I went to a doctor shortly after the attack due to the fact that I was still very uneasy about the matter. The doctor then prescribed a low dosage of xanyx to help me over the next few days, told me that all my problems were only temporary and that everything should be back to normal by the end of the prescription. A month after the problems continued I sought help through justanswer and spoke with a wonderful woman named karen who told me that I had most likely been suffering from sleep deprivation psychosis and that I needed to get allot of well deserved sleep, gave me some great tips to counterbalance my insomnia like staying away from sugars and caffeine, and that I might even want to seek help from a sleep therapist. Two months have now passed and while I was unable to see a sleep therapist I am proud to announce that my sleeping habits are slowly starting to come back around and that I get on average about 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Yet still the problems persist!!! As odd as this may sound I feel that my main problem actually comes from a dream. The constant living in fear of having another panic attack day after day has exhausted me both mentally and physically and due to this I feel it has impaired my judgement which leads me to my next problem. Not too long ago I had one of those dreams where you wake up only you are not truly awake and thus wake up from that one as well. It goes without saying that it scared me half to death, but when I simply should have been able to shrug the nightmare off and go on about my day the thought has seemingly stuck with me. I now have this huge fear that as I go about my day that I will suddenly wake up and none of this will be real. I honestly contemplate this thought throughout the entire day and feel as though I am simply walking around in a daydream like state (almost like I'm not completely conscious). At times the fear overwhelms me and now I have just one more thing to send me into a panic attack. I mean I know this sounds crazy and yet I can't bring myself to accept that I am in fact awake. I have absolutely no idea of what to do or who to turn to! Can someone please help to just be normal again, I can't live like this everyday!!!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Arundhati replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for writing in to Just Answer.

I'm very sorry to hear what you are going through.

From what you describe, it sounds like the first panic attack caused a very high amount of anxiety and since then you have been constantly experiencing what is called "anticipatory anxiety" - always worrying about the next panic attack. Your dream has become one of the "triggers" in this case and it raises your anxiety levels even more again in anticipatory anxiety of what might happen. Your case is not atypical. Often after a very stressful incident (e.g. your panic attack) the brain goes into an elevated anxiety state turning everything into a cause for worry. This is sort of a protective reaction almost, meant to keep you alert from possible anxiety sources but when your brain overdoes it, everything around you feels anxiety-provoking so instead of helping you your mind is now working against you.

The best way to address this problem is through cognitive behavioral therapy. In CBT there are several methods to get your mind back to feeling lesser anxiety. I recommend that you get in touch with a CBT specialist who will work with you to help you de-sensitize your mind to the anxiety stimuli and also provide you with ways you can best respond to those feelings when they come up. CBT sessions usually are action/goal oriented and you should be able to see results pretty soon.

Till you can get to a CBT specialist you can also go through this CBT workbook to learn some techniques for coping with your anxiety.

I hope this was helpful. Please click on the "Accept" button if it was, as experts are not credited for their time or service otherwise.

Also, please feel free to continue the discussion after you click on "Accept" by sending me your thoughts/additional clarifying questions/reactions if any to what I wrote above.

Warm regards,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I wanted to first thank you for taking the time to help me out with my current problem, it truly means the world to me. The anticipatory anxiety certainly does seem to fit what's happening, it seems as though consciously I am running my mind ramp-id to stay away from anything that would provoke another panic attack while simultaneously my subconscious is doing the exact opposite. I have already gone out and purchased the book you recommended to me, but am having a little difficulty. In all honesty it is the fear of the fear that seems to bother me the most and I have (with little success) in the past done everything possible to stay away from anything that may analyze, breakdown and thus make me think of my problems even more. I have always been a very straight forward individual who takes his problems head on, but seem to be having allot of difficulty with this particular situation. I was wondering if you could give me some sort of technique or exercise to work with just to get me started with actually facing my problems. Also, while I have been looking into mental health I have absolutely no idea as to how to go about finding a particular specialist such as the CBT you recommended and was wondering if you could give me some pointers or possibly even recommend me to some in the Atlanta Ga. area. Hope to hear from you soon.
Expert:  Arundhati replied 5 years ago.
Hello there,

Thank you for the additional information.

I understand what you're saying - it sounds like the first panic attack impacted you so much that it is implanted a veritable fear in you and that fear is now persistently present leading to a very high level of anxiety, nervousness, stress and of course fear.

Like I briefly mentioned in my last post, the last panic attack has left such a big impact that it has caused a "shift" in your perspective so to speak and implanted certain negative self-beliefs in you (e.g. in order to protect myself from the next panic attack I should keep the memory of the last attack close to me etc.) and spiked up your anticipatory anxiety levels to such a high level that it is now counter-productive to you and is working against you.

I'm very happy to hear that you purchased the book I mentioned above. It will provide you with many cognitive behavioral therapy based tools to address shift back your perspective to what it was before the panic attack.

I still think a CBT therapist will also be able to help with this "shift" in perspective, and be able to help you replace your dis-serving beliefs that are making you work yourself into a tizzy into positive, productive ones.

To your last question, I did some research and narrowed down the CBT specialist therapists in the Atlanta GA area. Here is the link.

I hope this helps. Please consider clicking on the green "Accept" button if this is helpful as experts are not credited for their time or service otherwise.

Please do let me know if you have additional questions/thoughts/reactions to what I wrote above. You are welcome to continue the conversation even after you click "accept".

Warm regards,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have been looking over your recommendations for a cbt in the atlanta area, but seem to be having some difficulty in choice. There are many who specialize in relationships, eating disorders, ADHD, etc... How do I know which one to go with?
Expert:  Arundhati replied 5 years ago.
Hi there,

Thanks for the question. If you look on the left hand side bar you'll see that you can choose the area of your concern - I would go with the Anxiety, Fears category as that is the general category under which your issue falls.

Hope this helps.

Kind Regards,

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