A client came to see me for anxiety issues. She was having panic attacks at work that were messing up her job attendance and performance. We made good progress right away, slashing some of the anxiety from the weeks before. It ended up being tied to her husband, who doesn’t seem like the best guy from my eyes. At least he was not a fit for her. And he seems to act like a child. Her panic attacks were reduced to the day before he came home, like clockwork (he worked out of town). She finally ditched him, and no more clockwork panic attacks. She felt like a new person after that.
She really wanted to nip this anxiety stuff in the bud, so she saw an “anxiety specialist.” Maybe she had set it up before she split from the dude, I’m not sure. And I put that in quotes because the doctor turned out to be and anxiety medication specialist. Big difference. She came to see me the next time with three new prescriptions. Two were to be taken daily, and the third was as needed. I immediately thought this was ridiculous. I can see the as needed one, but this woman does not need to be on two other meds daily. No way, not even close.
So I asked about the panic attacks since the last time we met. Since she split from the guy, she’d had only two. That’s pretty awesome. Now, I teach that we’re feeling our thinking. And anxiety is a feeling. That means the cause of the anxiety is our thinking. The two panic attacks she had fit this to a tee. And medication is not necessary; just breathe and observe your thinking. Seriously.
The first one was when she was looking for a new house to rent. She has a dog that most landlords will not allow, so this became very frustrating. She started to freak out in her head, and this freak out lead to her convincing herself that she was going to be homeless. Yes, that’s what her thinking was. And what was the feeling behind that? A panic attack. Makes sense, doesn’t it? As she was telling me this, I had her breathe and relax. Let’s stick to the facts. She had a couple of months, for one thing. There was no rush. And another fact was that getting rid of this dog was not an option. The dog actually helped her greatly with her anxiety. As we breathed and relaxed and stuck to the facts, space was cleared out. That lets our innate Wisdom comes to the surface. And do you know what happened next? She had the idea of getting the dog registered as an emotional support dog. That’s what the dog was anyway, so why not? Then she could not be turned down. We did this and she was good to go, problem solved. No more homeless thinking, no more panic attack.
The second panic attack is the hilarious one. It occurred when she saw the “anxiety specialist.” In his office, I think! That’s what my notes say, anyway. First of all, the people in his waiting room looked like “a bunch of junkies in their pajamas.” That’s no disrespect to junkies or people who wear pajamas in public, but you get the idea of what’s going on here. Med-seeking is a MAJOR issue in this country and definitely here in Florida. Then when she saw the doctor, she told him that she definitely did not want to treat this with meds. So he gave her three different ones. Might as well be thorough! He’s an older doctor, for what it’s worth, so he was trained differently than the younger ones. Which still isn’t great, I don’t think. But it seems to be improving at least. Let’s treat the cause and not the symptoms, people!
The doctor also said she had to quit drinking caffeine (ditching coffee ain’t happening anytime soon her her – and he did not say to cut back but to quit). He also said she had to quit smoking and that she should get her thyroid checked. So her thinking instantly became this: I have to quit drinking coffee now, which seems impossible. I have to quit smoking now, which seems impossible. My thyroid might be screwed up, and who knows what that means? And I have to take these meds (which was not true – she didn’t have to take anything and she actually hasn’t taken them to this day except the “as needed” one sparingly). And since we’re feeling our thinking, so you know what feeling that thinking had? A panic attack. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
We handled everything pretty well and she felt much better about things. And regarding the coffee and cigarettes, I said why not just try to dial it back a bit. Don’t make a big deal about it, though. She’s doing very well now, and she’s seeing more and more that the cause of how she feels is actually her thinking. And I’ve really encouraged her to read Somebody Should Have Told Us by Jack Pransky to get this down. It’s so important. She’s done great, though, and I’m proud of her. Work is going well for her, and she’s feeling her innate peace more and more. It sure is a good thing she saw that “anxiety specialist” or she never would’ve gotten better…