Our lack of understanding about our disorder has, in many cases, meant years of suffering, and to many people it seems that the future will be no different. One of the first things we need to do is to stop drawing on the past and projecting into the future, which incidentally is only a thought away!
It is difficult for many people to believe recovery is possible. After trying many different treatment methods without success, it is difficult to believe anything will succeed. If we think something isn’t going to work, then it won’t. That’s our problem—our thinking.
The past belongs to the past-except for one major point. Despite the enormous difficulties we have encountered through the disorder, nothing physically has happened to us. None of our major fears have been realised, and they aren’t going to be in the future. The next attack is not going to be the ‘one’ in which our fears come true. If anything were going to happen to us it would have happened in the first attack. We are continually drawing on our past experiences of the anxiety and attacks and projecting them into the future. We don’t concentrate on what is happening now.
If we always have an attack at 7.00 a.m. we expect to have one every morning. When we have an attack we think ‘I knew it would happen’. We expect to have one the following morning, and we do. We don’t see what is happening now because we are too busy anticipating the next attack.
As an example, we need to be aware of our first thoughts when we wake. The first thought is usually ‘where is it’, and we usually feel frightened because we know ‘it’ is going to be there. We turn on our internal radar and check to see wbat is happening. We move down our body. ‘I’m going to have a headache, my throat is tight, my heart is racing, I am having trouble breathing, I feel sick, I’m shaking.’ And a full scale attack may develop. After it subsides we worry about the next one. As we go to sleep at night we think to ourselves, ‘What if I have an attack in the morning?’