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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5430
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hello, I have a phobia of looking at the sky when I am outside.

Resolved Question:

Hello, I have a phobia of looking at the sky when I am outside. Somewhat similar to Agoraphobia but not necessarily the same. If I know I have to drive somewhere I get incredibly anxious prior to making that drive. then after I make the drive, I immediately become anxious about the next drive I need to make. It is driving me crazy. I am on several anti anxiety pills and I have been in counseling for 2 1/2 years. I am currently on sick leave and live like a hermit. I have heard of CBT but don't think this will work as gradual exposure to the phobia doesn't seem to help me. I have been on many medications and I am wondering could a Beta Blocker help me? Also, I have a benign mass on my adrenal gland for which I am getting follow up. Could that be the cause of this fear. Its almost like my brain is putting up obstacles to my wanting to live a normal life and every time I knock down the wall I have to face an even higher wall. Is there a medication that could help me or am I doomed?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

 

It is a good rule that you should explore any and all possibilities that a physical issue can cause your anxiety. But given that you are exploring the medical side already, addressing the mental health side is important.

 

It is good that you are taking medications and are seeing a therapist. A mass on your adrenal gland can cause anxiety and feelings of nervousness. But your fear is specific, which makes me wonder if you may have a phobia but the mass is causing it to be worse and also making it difficult to treat as a normal phobia would be.

 

That does not mean you cannot eliminate the phobia. The mass may just be adding to it and making it harder. Once you have the mass treated, it will help eliminate how much it is affecting your phobia.

 

You do have many options for helping yourself deal with your fear. A phobia is an overwhelming fear of a non threatening situation or object. To become fearful, the person associates a panic attack or severe anxiety with that situation or object. It is not the object causing the fear, but the response the person has that causes it. In order to eliminate that response, the person has to learn to face the feelings themselves and see that they will not hurt them. That involves changing your thinking patterns to see that the feelings will not hurt you.

 

Phobias are a learned response. So once you become fearful of your feelings when you see the sky, you associate the sky as causing your feelings. It does not. It is your fear of your feelings that causes you to avoid the sky.

 

You need to learn to float through your feelings and to do that, you need to change how you think of your panic. Your panic occurs because your thoughts tell you that you are in danger. So when you see the sky, you think that something will happen to you. Your body then responds by sending out adrenaline which causes your heart to beat fast, your body to sweat, and for you to feel the overwhelming sense to get out of there fast. If you learn to allow the adrenaline to dissipate without responding to it, you will end the panic faster and it will not get to the point that you feel overwhelmed.

 

You can learn how to change your thinking by trying CBT. CBT is not about exposure as much as learning how to change how you think and therefore changing your ability to control your panic. CBT is one of the best therapies to help resolve anxiety. Another thing you can try is self help. The more you know, the more information you have to help you. Here are some resources to get you started:

 

http://helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_types_symptoms_treatment.htm

 

http://helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm

 

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook (Anxiety & Phobia Workbook) by Edmund J. Bourne

 

Anxiety, Phobias, & Panic: A Step-by-Step Program for Regaining Control of Your Life by Reneau Z. Peurifoy

 

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-by-Step Program by Bill Knaus Ed.D. and Jon Carlson Psy.D. Ed.D.

 

You can find these books on Amazon.com or your local library may have them for you.

 

You can also talk with your doctor about increasing your medications temporarily. Medications can help you function until you can start to resolve your phobia but they should only be temporary. If you take them without resolving your phobia, then you will come to rely on them and your phobia will not be resolved.

 

Remember, there is a high cure rate for phobias, so do not lose heart. You can resolve your problem and live a fear free life.

 

I hope this helps,

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5430
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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