Panic Attacks - Exceeding Expectations
Around three years ago I had my first panic attack as I took my final year exams at the end of grade 10. These got progressively worse and I was diagnosed with panic disorder two years later. At the very beginning of grade 12 I was depressed, helpless and anxious for my situation to change. At that point I had around 5-6 panic attacks per week and I was desperate to make them go away. Tanya Woolf, the CBT therapist I came to see about this explained to me what panic disorder was and the physiological mechanisms in play during a panic attack. This information was crucial to me as the more I learnt about my problem the more easily I could face it. The two of us then worked out the goals I wished to achieve by the end of my sessions with her.
My goals were to have only one panic attack a week, if possible only have panic attacks during exams, and reduce my overall anxiety in different aspects of my life. To achieve these goals Tanya used the structured Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which focuses on changing the rules, that limit us and put us in corners, into guidelines that can be used more flexibly in our lives.
Before I knew it my entire life had changed. Not realising it was even working I sat with a friend when I realised I had not had a single panic attack in 3 months and other factors contributing to my anxiety have vanished. During my final and most important exams I only had two panic attacks in the fifteen exams I took. An accomplishment I never thought I would achieve. Since the exams I had no panic attacks and when I am stressed I find different outlets. I am so grateful for all the help I got from Tanya and I would recommend her to anyone who suffers from panic disorder or high anxiety levels. This therapy works.