The thing about Anxiety Panic Disorder is the fear your brain subjects you to. For most people, the fear of dieing is the worst possible fear. It’s the end of all ends. Not knowing what happens afterwards and being alone without your family. I can safely bet that 99.5% of the world population really doesn’t have their own death on their bucket list of accomplishments. In fact, death is something people don’t like to talk about, they don’t like writing a will, they don’t like planning their funeral, etc. I don’t even like saying the word for the most part because it’s FEAR!
I even bought a journal on death because it mocked me, yet said the words I thought were true: I’M GOING TO DIE!
So how do we overcome that fear? Construct a new path through the mind.
When my husband was still in the military, he was a flier for the C-130. He flew cargo and soldiers in and out of areas and even enemy territory. Because of the dangers to fliers, the military puts a flying crew through Military Survival Training. This is an even rigorous training than the regular military basic training that all soldiers go through when they first enlist. Military Survival Training is extensive training to break a soldier down in order to build him back up for “survival”. They RE-train the body and the mind to endure and survive the most horrific moments if captured or stranded in enemy territory. One part consists of stuffing the soldier in a box at night – dark, damp, and cold. They leave them there for hours at a time in order to break their minds of fear. Claustrophobic? Too bad. You’ll either get over it or break down to the point you fail the training and you suffer the consequences (ie loose your flying status or an honorable discharge). As my husband was in that box, he had to clear his mind. He couldn’t even think of me or our kids because the fear of loosing us or leaving us alone was a FEAR in and of itself and FEAR is what he had to let go of in order to survive. He used what they taught him through training to clear his mind and move on.
A Sith Lord Would Be Pleased! Fear Leads to Strength. Strength Leads to Survival.
Overcoming FEAR gives us an adrenaline of a different sort called STRENGTH. Ever wonder where a tiny mother gets the strength to kill a man who harms her children? Ever wonder how a man can survive torture? Ever wonder how an extreme sportsman can survive being stranded in the ocean or a hiking trip gone wrong? They set aside their FEARS and reach for STRENGTH to survive.
That’s the same thing for Anxiety Panic Disorder except our minds prevent us from reaching that strength. We take a totally different route to survival than others. The really loooong route.
Our minds can trap us in those dark places of fear and the mind is a very very deep place. If you can’t understand how the mind can control someone like that, think of someone in a coma or brain dead. If the mind does not work, the body shuts down because eventually NO parts of the body will work unless they are on life support. THAT is how deeply rooted our brains are to the rest of our body. In fact, some people say if you die in your dreams, you physically cannot survive either because the brain is too far gone (think of the Matrix movie on this).
Our bodies go through the stages of fear, but for people with Anxiety, the brain has a harder time moving through that stage of fear (hence the longer path) and it’s like exercising 24 hours a day. When you work your physical body for 24 hours a day, you would literally collapse from exhaustion and the more you exercise, the harder it gets. The mind is the same way, why do you think schools don’t test kids 24 hours a day! For people with Anxiety, when we have an Anxiety episode, we feel exhausted because we have been exercising our minds too much. Anxiety is a never-ending path that we walk hoping to find the door to let us out of our darkness, but we never find that door because that door is not on that path our minds took. We must find ANOTHER path.
In order to find the right path, we have to face it head on. I’m not saying if your fear is getting ate by sharks that you go out into the big blue ocean, dive in, and face a shark in hand to hand combat. That’s PHYSICAL fear. I’m talking about MENTAL fear. What I am saying is that people with anxiety are less likely to take unnecessary risks that provoke death. We already face that risk every time we have an anxiety attack. So in order for us to reach that strength above fear, we must mentally re-pave a new path for our minds to think more positively – FACE OUR FEAR!
This is harder for us because we literally have to start over and when our brains are trained one way, it’s not easy to re-train. Even the military takes years of training and harsh environments to re-train their soldiers EVERYDAY and they have many other people there to help with that training. For simple people like myself, we don’t train our minds everyday with hundreds of people helping us. For most of us we do it all alone. That’s like trying to pave a path across the country by yourself through woods, mountains, fields, and swamps. But it doesn’t have to be that hard. Surrounding yourself with positive thinking people, support groups, a life coach, and even a monthly therapist, can help pave that path a lot quicker.
All in all, Anxiety is not an easy thing to overcome, but you CAN train your mind to control it. Like any other mental disorder, you may never overcome it completely, but once you train your mind to pave a shorter path, you’ll find that door of strength much quicker. You may have to pave new paths each time by trying different things (ie breathing techniques, meditation, music, etc) but eventually you’ll find what works for you.
So chin up, smile, and repeat after me:
I am Happy.
I am Healthy.
Today is a good day.
Yes, I will die, but not today!