Self Help for Panic Attacks or Self-Improvement Fatigue?
Starting and finishing a program of self for panic attacks while figuring out how to fight depression is a lofty and even risky goal that might be compared to driving a truck like a speeding sports car on steep, curvy mountain roads. Does it work? It might. It might not. I probably won’t.
I believe that there are times when we can wear ourselves out trying to be a better person. If you are really into self help or self improvement you may know what I am talking about. If you tend toward being introspective or if you are a perfectionist, then you also know what I mean. If a person is considering self help for panic attacks, then the anticipatory anxiety can be stressful. (In reality, a good program of self help for panic attacks is empowering once a person gets started). But whether it’s learning how to speak to your kids without yelling, quit smoking, starting a new routine of exercise, or tackling a major personal challenge, there is limit to how much effort we can give, after which we are maxed out.
Here’s how the process works in me as a psychologist. I go through a day having several sessions with different clients. Many of them excel at certain areas of their life in ways that inspire me to be more that way myself. But that is not why my clients come to see me. Each one has a particular area of their life that seems to have some kind of blockage. That’s what we work on together. My job is to see what they don’t see: see the obstacles, see the road ahead, see how to better enjoy the journey, see the specific strengths they have but are not seeing clearly.
But this “seeing” aspect of therapy involves facing some aspect of life that is difficult to look at. It could be that they need to face their role in helping a relationship go sour. It could be that they want to have more of this or more of that in day-to-day living. Meanwhile, at the end of the day, I’m examining myself on the way home from the office. “Do I really have enough of quality X or Y to be helping someone work on that? I look at all the ways that I need to grow personally and sometimes I get exhausted just thinking about it. I’ve coined a term for this: self-improvement fatigue. It seems that we only have a certain amount of space in our heads to be improving ourselves at any one time.
Self-improvement fatigue is never more of a problem than when someone is learning how to fight depression and out-of-control anxiety all at the same time. Learning how to fight depression and going through a program of self help for panic attacks is a tall order and a stiff challenge indeed. It’s one of those situations where medication becomes a question because there is so much to try to cope with and change all at the same time. There are the symptoms of anxiety attacks that make life most unpleasant. If you add in the signs and symptoms of depression, then you have a boulder to roll uphill that seems impossible to move. A person suffering from this type of self-improvement fatigue has a valid concern: should I even attempt to make changes when the boulder simply won’t budge?
It so happens that many people suffering from anxiety attacks are also being pummeled by clinical depression. In my opinion it is smarter for people in this situation to expend their efforts for self-improvement for self help for panic attacks and consider using antidepressant medication for how to fight depression. One of the reasons for this is that the medications available for treating depression are not addictive, whereas many of the anti anxiety medications commonly prescribed create a biological dependence that can be very difficult to break. Another reason is that combining medication as a tool for how to fight depression with self help for panic attacks lessons the risk of being overwhelmed by self-improvement fatigue.