Combating panic and anxiety

September 5th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Panic & Anxiety

In which I have a morbid new approach that really seems to be working.

I have developed a new litany.

Whenever there’s A Sensation my mind desires to become frightened of, I tell it this:

You have a fatal, untreatable, inoperable disease. You are dying, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. You’re bound to have sensations. As long as you’re not in pain, there’s nothing that can be done. Let it go.

Weirdly enough, it’s working. Apparently the hook my mind has been using lately to tumble me into hell has been “DO I NEED TO DO SOMETHING? Is this A Real Sensation? Do I need to See A Doctor? Is this just a panic attack or do I really have [heart disease/organ failure/diabetes/stroke]? What shall I DO?”

With this little story, though, the answer to that is “nothing.” It makes the sensations non-actionable (and have the added benefit of increasing dispassion and decreasing attachment). I can just go, oh, yeah, a sensation — flutters in my chest, dizziness, laziness (er, fatigue), shortness of breath, tingling hands and feet, all the shit I have when I panic — and not be caught up in a whirlwind of mental bullshit.

Yes, I tell myself, you are actually dying, we all are, nothing to be done about it. It comes when it comes. It’s working great; I haven’t had a full-blown attack in a couple of weeks!

Being crazy is hard work, but sometimes you manage to hack your own brain just enough to get by.

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