I Achieved My Cure of Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia:
An Open Letter to Those on the Healing Path
CBT and Medication
There is much discussion among helping professionals about the relative effectiveness of CBT and medication. I know that many people have been greatly helped by medication, and I believe that each person has his/her own unique healing path. On my own healing path, my medication played the role of a bridge. It helped me to manage my symptoms during my long period of suffering and searching.
Once I had made sufficient progress in my healing, I began to see my medication as a 'crutch' that was actually hampering my progress. Continually adjusting my medication had itself become a kind of 'practice'. And as long as I continued to use medication to manage my panic disorder, what I got good at was using medication to manage panic disorder.
In order to achieve my success, it was essential when I was ready and with proper medical supervision to taper off and then discontinue my medication. For me, CBT was, within a short time, much more effective than my medication had ever been. Through the regular practice of my CBT program, I learned to gradually master and resolve each element of my panic response.
Recovery, Healing and Cure
More than 'recovery', the words 'healing' and 'cure' resonate deeply for me. In overcoming this condition, I didn't just 'recover' to the place I inhabited before panic disorder. My healing and cure led me to a new place: a place which is profoundly happier in many, many ways.
Many people have used the opportunity presented by a challenging condition for personal transformation and growth. Helen Keller is one example who immediately comes to mind. Another is Christopher Reeve. There are many, many others.
I am so grateful to have been given a condition which led me to growth and transformation, yet didn't harm my body in any way and was completely curable. For how many conditions could that statement be made?
Panic disorder was an incredible teacher for me. It was a teacher who certainly got my attention, and then taught me profound lessons which I might not have learned in any other way.
What does "cure" mean for me? It does not mean that I will never experience anxiety or panic these experiences are part of being human.
"Cure" means that I know I can deal well with any experience of panic or anxiety. In fact, it means that I can deal with panic or anxiety more effectively than the average person who has never gone through panic disorder!
"Cure" means for me that the level of anxiety I now experience is dramatically lower than it was before I went through panic disorder. And when I do experience anxiety, I don't feel victimized by the experience.
Since childhood, I suffered from anxiety that was both persistent and pervasive. Now, only an echo of that old anxiety remains. Growing in its place is a new feeling of inner security and peace.
Many activities which since childhood made me very uncomfortable such as traveling alone to strange or distant places I now do with indescribable feelings of joy and peace.
The gratitude and exhilaration I feel are far beyond what words can express. I am grateful beyond words to all those who helped me and encouraged me on my healing path.
The resources for healing, recovery and cure are now abundantly available to anyone who is willing to be open and receptive. For those of you embarked on this journey, you are so lucky to be in the right place at the right time!
All my best,
Copyright © 2010, Triumph Over Panic, Inc. All rights reserved.
Triumph Over Panic, Inc. is affiliated with the Agoraphobia and Panic Disorder Foundation.