Root causes of anxiety can be traumatic events that cause us to change our behaviour in response to triggers. A root cause may also be something very minor but calcified over time to seem much worse than the first “event” that set things off.
However, the idea that anxiety always has a narrative such as this is overused, and doesn’t help people who just want to untangle and understand their anxiety disorder. Sometimes anxiety does have a root cause, but when it doesn’t – which Josh says is the vast majority of the time – the “root cause” narrative doesn’t actually help a clients’ progress.
Using the analogy of a house fire as a panic episode, josh says “When a fire brigade is called, their aim is to put out a fire, and then maybe investigate how the fire started, but definitely not the other way around.”
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Episode 37: Driving Anxiety
30:52Driving is a responsibility that should be taken seriously, but what happens when the heightened sense of alertness for driving becomes a tense white-knuckle ride while battling one's own fear? In this episode, Josh and Ella discuss driving anxiety in the context of both post-traumatic incident driving and generalised anxiety disorder (i.e the fear of having a panic attack while driving). When was the last time you heard of someone losing control driving while having a panic attack? Although the fear of this is common, in reality the chances of it happening are extremely low compared to those who get into accidents related to factors like increased speed, impairment from drugs/alcohol, or from fatigue. Getting back behind the wheel after a long time away can be unnerving, but using graded exposure and a good helping of self-compassion, it is possible to overcome the irrational anxious feelings around driving. Do you enjoy listening to The Panic Pod? Let us know by emailing [email protected], or by interacting with us on Facebook and Instagram as @thepanicpod.
Episode 36: Anxiety With/Without a Root Cause
34:32Root causes of anxiety can be traumatic events that cause us to change our behaviour in response to triggers. A root cause may also be something very minor but calcified over time to seem much worse than the first “event” that set things off. However, the idea that anxiety always has a narrative such as this is overused, and doesn’t help people who just want to untangle and understand their anxiety disorder. Sometimes anxiety does have a root cause, but when it doesn’t – which Josh says is the vast majority of the time – the “root cause” narrative doesn’t actually help a clients’ progress. Using the analogy of a house fire as a panic episode, josh says “When a fire brigade is called, their aim is to put out a fire, and then maybe investigate how the fire started, but definitely not the other way around.” Do you enjoy listening to The Panic Pod? Let us know by emailing [email protected], or by interacting with us on Facebook and Instagram as @thepanicpod.
Episode 35: Emetophobia feat. Kimberley Quinlan
39:38This episode is funny and empowering. Some of the subject matter can be shocking for people with emetophobia, but ultimately the goal is graduation from exposure, as Kimberley will explain. Emetophobia is a clinical term which describes an extreme fear around vomit or nausea. As Kimberley says, “nobody likes to vomit,” but this phobic behaviour can cause anxiety in people's lives which can present different behaviours. It can even stop someone from doing things they love for fear it might make them vomit or be around people who vomit. Even if this isn’t something you think you are affected by, have a listen to this episode and you might learn something new about anxiety through this interview with Kimberley Quinn. And check out her podcast! Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast You can find her on instagram as @kimberleyquinlan Don’t forget to subscribe, and if you’re a regular listener, we thank you for considering leaving us a review! Or just tell us what you think on social media. We’re @thepanicpod on Instagram and Facebook.
Episode 34: Existential Anxiety
35:30Wondering about why we’re here, how planet Earth exists and how much of a miracle life is are normal thoughts for us to have from time to time. However, if you have existential anxiety, these thoughts can trigger an anxious response; sweaty palms, shallow breathing, tunnel vision, tinnitus, and other anxious behaviours. For people with conventional anxiety, leaning into hard feelings is easier. When you’re in the midst of an anxiety disorder, you have to have a different approach. Being confident in the ability to mindfully detach from anxiety isn’t always available for people with GAD (generalised anxiety disorder). You have to be confident ruminating on those thoughts and know it won’t lead to a panic attack. For some, the answer may be dismissing these intrusive thoughts with, “This is not the time to think about this. This is not the time to go down that hole.” Picking the time and place to have existential conversations can help to dive into heavy topics as an anxious person. Welcoming those thoughts in versus feeling them as intrusive thoughts are very different experiences. We hope this episode helps you understand existential anxiety more! Reach out to us at [email protected] Check out Josh's new book Untangle Your Anxiety. Follow us on instagram @thepanicpod
Episode 33: Mental Health Anxiety
33:20In this episode, Joshua and Ella discuss when panic disorder is centred around the fear of developing a serious mental health problem. This is referred to as Mental Health Anxiety. The pattern of mental health anxiety is the disorder of mental health anxiety. Seeing thoughts for what they are (mere, passing thoughts) and remembering that “What If”s can’t lead you towards further anxiety or depression are important things to note when one feels they are in a pattern of mental health anxiety (the fear of developing mental health problems). Ella has a realisation when she says that the pattern that we fall into with mental health anxiety is doing something to compensate for the feeling of control that we desire. Sometimes we fabricate control which eventually drives us towards disorder. Things we talked about: Josh’s New Book! Untangling Your Anxiety by Joshua Fletcher and Dean Stott Brene Brown - Daring Greatly (book) Krista Tippett - On Being Podcast Episode “What’s Happening in Our Nervous Systems?” We appreciate you leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to this podcast. Thanks for listening to the Panic Pod! Reach out to us: [email protected] or @thepanicpod on facebook and instagram.
Episode 32: Attention feat. The Anxious Truth
34:42In this episode Josh asks the question "where is your attention at?" and talks about the importance of attention with special guest, Drew Linsalata of The Anxious Truth. They draw upon some great analogies to help you understand why attention is important and what you can do with it when you're anxious and also when you're not!
Episode 31: Body Scanning vs. Body Awareness
36:36It helps to remove yourself and re-centre for a moment before you start mentally justifying why you are anxious. There’s a lot of wellness narrative around “listening to your body” but when we’re experiencing disordered anxiety then somatic experiencing isn’t easy. Say you’re at therapy and your therapist is trying to get you to notice what some subtle sensations in the body are telling you about how you feel talking about something. A chronically anxious person may have to respond with, “As much as I’m trying to do what you say, I’d like to experience my body when my anxious response isn’t firing at all cylinders with cortisol and adrenaline.” Not trying to deter anyone from slowing down and listening to their body, this conversation between Ella and Josh attempts to unpick where “body scanning” and “mindfully assessing the body” are two very different activities for people with chronic anxiety - when the body is in a hyper-aroused state, body scanning (where one assesses their own physical comfort for harm) tends to replace a mindful examination of the internal sensations we all experience. Josh’s advice is to catch and notice your nervous compulsions before you try to notice other sensations in the body. Things we talked about: Dr. Clare Weeks Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8Id8tkvdzc Untangle Your Anxiety - by Joshua Fletcher and Dean Stott: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08YQM9SPY/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_5T7W0A04NN4NGGDTX8QB We appreciate you leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to this podcast. Thanks for listening to the Panic Pod! Reach out to us: [email protected] or @thepanicpod on facebook and instagram.
Episode 30: Comfortable with being Uncomfortable ft. Ben Aldridge
34:45In this episode Josh is joined by special guest, Ben Aldridge, who is the author of the popular book, How to be Comfortable with being Uncomfortable: 43 Weird and Wonderful ways to build a strong and resilient mindset. Josh and Ben discuss how being uncomfortable can push us through to feelings of empowerment and freedom, particular from the clutches of anxiety disorders. Ben shares some absolutely fascinating achievements he has done, too (which are really quite inspiring). Josh on Instagram is @anxietyjosh Ben on Instagram is @dothingsthatchallengeyou www.benaldridge.com
Episode 29: The Three Ds: Derealisation, Depersonalisation and Dissociation
33:10Unlike other types of anxiety responses, derealisation and depersonalisation are stress responses which can make you feel like you are having an out-of-body or not-fully-lucid experience. Since anxious responses affect both the mind and body, experiences vary from person-to-person or relate to the situation you’re in. They are a result of stress, hyperventilating, or over-breathing over a long period of time. When something triggers an anxious response, it makes blood flow attend to the large muscles of our body (think fight, flight, freeze response behaviour in animals). There is increased blood pressure in the brain and blood oxygen levels. Derealisation means things may feel and look weird, and you can recognise your environment but it doesn’t feel like you’re there. You might even feel off-balance or have temporary tinnitus. Depersonalisation is when you feel like you are in a dream. You may “hear” your own voice louder, and have existential thoughts. Both derealisation and depersonalisation are harmless though the feelings that arise from the body’s response can feel scary. Dissociation is a response to trauma. People with PTSD may dissociate when they feel like they are back in their traumatic situation. This reaction is our minds’ way of experiencing less trauma by blocking out the experience we find ourselves in, even if the situation is only triggering a memory. Dissociation may be when we have a flashback whether we want to or not. As discussed in this episode, vasovagal syncope is a similar but different body response. Similar to a panic episode like derealisation, depersonalisation, or dissociation, vasovagal syncope can happen simply by being triggered by a conversation or image. In some circumstances it can also be triggered by dehydration or constipation, and it may cause people to faint. Unlike derealisation, depersonalisation, or dissociation, vasovagal syncope decreases blood pressure in the brain, opens blood vessels in the calves and lower body, and is unique in that it is triggered specifically by the sight or graphic description of blood or injury. If you feel like it is coming on, your only injury may come from fainting, so it is advised to sit down or stabilise yourself against a wall. We hope you found this episode informative and encourage you to share it with a friend you know who has experienced a dramatic body response, especially if they are unsure what it was. Thanks for reaching out to us at [email protected] or following us on instagram @thepanicpod or facebook @thepanicpod. All our episodes are available at thepanicroom.com
Episode 28: Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
37:00Could procrastination be a symptom of your anxiety? Is it really procrastination or a nagging feeling that's guilting you for not enjoying yourself when necessary? Did you ever consider that the disordered thinking that occurs when we’re anxious is because of the low level threat response occurring in our bodies? Generalised Anxiety Disorder (or GAD) is the diagnosis of chronic anxiety. Every human on the planet has felt anxious, but anxiety disorder is when our threat response runs out of control like a faulty fire alarm. Having “I should…” thoughts or self-criticism can be healthy in small doses, but when that thinking gets out of control, it can just lead to more confusion. It’s not good to be self-sabotaging your decision making like a well-intentioned but overly critical family member. There are even times when the feeling of being in control of your life can become addictive, and the evidence is seen by our friends and family when darker behaviours like depression, addiction, over/under-spending, over/under-eating, or angry outbursts emerge. It doesn’t cease so long as we continue to validate an anxious response by responding to the feeling of being threatened. It can take some experimenting along your own personal journey to find what works for you among the long list of solutions: exercise, meditation, diet, medication, removing yourself from external situations like an abusive partner, friend, or family member, or changing your own habits with the help of a therapist. In this episode, Josh and Ella chat about Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). We mentioned: Having an addiction to cortisol: Living in SURVIVAL vs. Living in CREATION - Dr. Joe Dispenza - YouTube Reach out to us for questions or comments at [email protected] You can also follow us on @thepanicpod instagram and facebook. Thanks for bringing us to Season TWO!