Reply To: Agoraphobia, Anxiety and Panic Attacks
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To answer your first question…
A phobia is a fear of a fear; such as the fear of the clamminess, the heart palpitations, etc. But mostly just a fear of a memory; something that happened in the past. Usually people may remember the event that caused the phobia but they just don’t relate it to the cause or it as having significant effect.
As you alluded, phobics work to control the phobia, quite often, with coping techniques like desensitization techniques.
So, is agoraphobia a phobia or a fear? Well, a phobia is a fear, so it's difficult to answer that question per se. The key here is to realize that there are fears involved, yes, and they are usually immersed in the sub with emotions, so the CT is the best solution as you approach this type of issue.
Now, you also mentioned, “I related all those panic attacks to leaving the safety of my home where I tried hard to manage my anxiety withdrawals…”; there is a trigger in there somewhere and it behooves you to fine the cause… find the source of the conclusion by the sub that leaving the home is dangerous. These are based upon memories… most likely experiences and so that's why we are usually looking for the memories that contribute to the issue.
Usually, a panic attack is a mutation of the phobia… not consciously connected to anything. This is what makes dealing with PA's so difficult as you could say they are “more” hidden from our consciousness.
You mentioned suffering Agoraphobia after the introduction of the meds in 1985, but you did not talk about why you were prescribed meds in the first place.
You're second question…
I would begin with the PA's and work with the CT's as Tim prescribes and that means asking the questions:
- “When was the last PA I remember?”
- “When was the one before that… the one before that… etc.?”
- “When was the first time I remember having a PA?”
Make a list and then begin using the CT on each and every one. If you can associate a feeling with the memory of each one, be sure to focus during the CT on both the feelings and the memory. Be sure to follow the instructions in the Panic Attack Special as a part of the free Basic Package.
The instructions state, “Work with memories, not JUST feelings. Tim does NOT recommend that you work with only memories and no feelings. There may not be feelings and that's ok, work on the memories, But, if you can work with both, all the better.
Be sure to search around some of these periods or events in your memories: being prescribed med and event leading up to that diagnosis prior to 1985 and the withdrawal episodes when going off the meds (dying with hyperventilating and very frightening anxiety attacks).
Back to the agoraphobia… that would be a separate strategy as you work with that fear in the standard ways of using PSTEC. In the case of a fear, there may be emotional as well as belief and behavior issues, in which case the use of PSTEC Positive would be the tool of the day.
This issue can be quite complex, so if you desire to work with someone, check the PSTEC Registry for someone that can help you. Do not let geography get in the way as this work can be done, quite often, over the phone.