27

May

Panic attacks

Thursday May 27, 2021


From 1978-2016 I have been a fully-functioning, perfectly content motorcyclist enjoying my daily commute to London and various other venues. Suddenly in late 2016 everything changed and the mere thought of a bike trip would turn me into a gibbering wreck such that I couldn’t remember how to drive or how to navigate around the area. Everything was scrambled and jumbled and I was quite scared I’d be dangerous on the road so stopped driving and went everywhere by train or walked. I had no idea why I was having these completely unexpected panic attacks so consulted a psychologist friend. She said it sounded like a mild form of PTSD with my “fight and flight” response stuck firmly at fully “on” and therefore constantly transmitting warnings and alerts and overwhelming other more rational responses. She recommended EMDR therapy to unstick whatever experience or event was triggering these alarms and recommended two therapists, one of whom was a motorcyclist herself. She also told me about rhythmic breathing and tapping to reduce my anxiety levels.

My first session took two hours as it was an opportunity to get to know each other, and the second explored negative and positive responses and their effects. Whenever I remembered a positive experience I was to rhythmically tap it in to reinforce its calming influence, but it’s the unpacking of the negative experiences that has been a revelation. I have been able to look at them all calmly with the eventual goal of getting rid of them completely. For example if you cut yourself in the kitchen you clean out the wound and bandage it, but you might discover some toxins have remained which then poison the rest of you. In other words my negative experiences had toxic repercussions and it was the first time I’d realised it. Once I’d cleaned out all these negative experiences I felt much lighter and cleaner and better able to concentrate on all the positive events.

It’s also related to REM eye movements so following a pencil or a finger’s track to calm responses.

We are still working towards the origin of my anxiety but my anxiety score for motorcycle trips is now down to a three from a ten so I’m very optimistic about the eventual outcome. I’ve only had two sessions so far but feel much better already and am anticipating being on the road and “out to play” again soon. Obviously I’ll need more sessions but am thoroughly enjoying them so things can only improve.

It’s not a cheap therapy as mine costs £70 an hour and I’ve only given a very brief outline of what’s involved as I’m obviously not an expert but most EMDR therapists will do a free introductory session to see if it might be beneficial so look it up online for more information.

Best regards

Cathy
A Moodscope member.

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