Reply To: Fear of cramp and panic attacks whilst driving


    Hi Peter,

    Thank you for taking the time to reply to me. Nice to speak to a fellow runner.
    I have answered as best I can your questions laid out below:

    How have you used PSTEC so far?

    I used a mind map to separate my cramp fears into different areas such as driving, water, sleep and future fears. Within each area I concentrated first on recent smaller, less intense fear episodes working back to older intense ‘root’ memories. I alternated between the two click tracks. I concentrated on both the memory and the feelings each thing evoked.

    Can you bring on cramps just by thinking of the fear and mentally building it up?

    I think if I really wanted to and tried hard, I probably could, however I wouldn’t want to.

    Are the cramps always in the same place or do they move? Where do they occur?
    They are generally in the same place (the middle of the calf muscle) and normally the right leg although historically I have had them in both legs at the same time many years ago. The cramps 98% of the time happen when I am a sleep. When driving/bathing I just have an unsettling fear they are going to happen although whist driving my right leg has tightened up like a peg leg before having panic attacks, but hasn’t actually cramped. I have had cramps in the hamstrings and leg adductor muscles before after marathons but this does not evoke the same level of fear response.

    Do you also have “restless leg”syndrome (RLS) stopping you sleeping?

    I do not belief I have restless leg syndrome. I don’t have an overwhelming urge to move my legs which seems to be the main characteristic of RLS. When I think about myself it seems to be I am afraid to straighten or move my legs whilst sleeping in case I bend my toes back the wrong way or catch the blankets and initiate a cramp. When I move my legs whist sleeping it’s as if an alarm goes off in my head telling me not to move to sudden or be careful which wakes me up and then I find it difficult to get comfortable and then get back to sleep as it has activated the cramp fear again.

    One thing: Do not stretch! By that I mean static yoga type extended stretching to improve range of movement. What you need is elasticity not flexibility. [/b]

    Peter, I am not sure what you mean by a static yoga stretch. I do not do any ballistic or dynamic. I generally stretch after exercise, not before. Do you mean classic yoga moves such as salute to the sun, that sort of thing?

    There seems to be a mix of fear and “fear of fear” which form a positive feedback situation which escalates past a threshold and triggering an incident.
    Does any of this sound about right?

    Peter, yes this does sound right, it appears to be a vicious circle, one I am finding it difficult to break.
    I know cramp won’t kill me  ::), but the pain and after effects are so unsettling it interferes with many aspects of my life. I believe fear is fear whether its fear of a shark or cramp.
    I will be asking Father Christmas to get me the PSTEC level 1 course as I think this will be a worthwhile personal investment. :)
    Thank you