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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5805
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi there, I had a panic attack about 10 years ago in a cinema,

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Hi there,
I had a panic attack about 10 years ago in a cinema, it escalated from there, where i played on it and played on it, i guess i misinterpreted it a some physical illness, where i felt i was in a haze all the time and could not focus. Anyway i eventually realised i was feeling anxious, however what ever i tried (CBT, Mindfulness, medication etc) just made no difference. My most recent psychologist finds it hard to believe that i just picked out a belief out of thin air, he felt there was some childhood memory that is responsible for this belief. Anyway two days over a particually anxious period ago my girlfriend said to me "its just a thought". This seemed to have a significant effect on me and my anxiety levels dropped significantly. I therefore do feel that i did actually pick a belief out of thin air in the cinema that day. I guess my question would be how do i reverse this belief, as i never previous had it? or is it even a belief? is it possibly more simple than that?
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

Anxiety is often manifested through physical symptoms. And many people who have anxiety initially feel they are suffering from a physical illness. Many seek out the ER because they feel they are having a heart attack or they have a brain tumor. So connecting anxiety to a physical illness is extremely common.

Feeling as if you are in a haze and not being able to focus is also a symptom of anxiety that is experienced by a good portion of those with anxiety disorder. You don't suddenly pick a belief of being physically ill so much as something triggers anxiety suddenly in your mind. The build up to it however could have taken a while. A childhood trauma that was unresolved or a long period of intense stress. PTSD can also cause panic attacks. Whatever the cause, anxiety and panic can seem like it suddenly strikes and the first thought is that something is wrong with you physically.

While you might not be able to go back to a time when you were unaware of panic and anxiety, you can learn to deal with it so it does not dominate your life anymore. The fact that your girlfriend's comment having such an effect on you is proof that with some thought changing and understanding of anxiety and how it works, you can feel normal again.

You mentioned that you already see a therapist, which is good. Therapy is the best treatment. Also, learning more on your own can help you find ways to work on reducing or eliminating the anxiety and the belief connected to it. Here are some resources that can help you:

On line links:


The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne

When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life by David D. Burns

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-by-Step Program by William J. Knaus EdD and Jon Carlson PsyD EdD

Coping with Anxiety: 10 Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety, Fear & Worry by Edmund J. Bourne and Lorna Garano

Support groups:

Take your time to find the resources that work for you. Some will and some won't. But as long as you keep moving forward with seeking answers, you will recover.

I hope this has helped you,
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