I’d like to share two concepts I believe will be of great assistance as we approach panic attacks, agoraphobia, derealization, and depersonalization - any of our anxiety and mood-driven misery, for that matter. They play so very big and need to be put into practice over and over again. And that’s exactly why I came up with names that are easily remembered.

The first is “interpreaction,” which reminds us of the fact that interpretation always drives reaction. And the second is “interpreversal,” emphasizing if interpretation can create a negative reaction, it only stands to reason it must also hold the power to reverse this reaction to a positive. Do these make sense to you?

Well, how ‘bout more detail. Interpreaction is actually a double-edged sword because it ensures us of defensive, panicky, and self-destructive reactions if we interpret stimuli as being threatening. Conversely, interpreaction ensures us of managed, calm, and insightful reactions if we interpret stimuli as non-threatening. Interpreversal takes us to the next level of power and hope, as it gives us confidence in knowing that just as we’ve traditionally created our distress, it only stands to reason we can reverse these warped patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior.

And the best part about interpreaction and interpreversal is – and never forget it – they bang home the point that we have the authority and ability to manage reactions to anything our minds and bodies may throw our way. Now that’s power, because it means we can totally side-step panic attacks, agoraphobia, derealization, depersonalization, social anxiety, you name it. How could that not be true?

But, to make interpreaction and interpreversal work for us we have to train and discipline ourselves to accurately interpret stimuli within seconds of their occurrence, maintaining our edge until the impulse to react in desperation subsides. And we also have to believe in the good-common-sense principle that if our interpretations can create negative reactions, they must have the ability to create positive reactions. Now, the time it takes to fend off overreacting to a negative interpretation varies for each of us. However, with practice and success it can only decrease.

See, we just need to force ourselves to pause for a short bit of time after a panic trigger. Yes, we need to stop everything because our fear circuitry headquarters, the amygdala, is trying to figure out how best to respond to the potential threat. So, now is the time to take a few abdominal breaths and chill, as the amygdala sends a rather pokey message, asking for clarification, to the prefrontal cortex, the cognitive center of our brains. It’s here where we can ultimately determine what’s truly going on, putting an end to our self-defeating thought processing and reaction patterns. Well, after the prefrontal cortex determines the facts, we still need to employ our chill skills, buying time while the truth makes its way back to the amygdala. And, convinced there’s no true threat, the amygdala turns off the alarm.

You know, since we’ve suffered for so long, we’re so used to blindly receiving and accepting all of the negative and destructive little gems our minds and bodies throw our way. Well, I believe it’s time we stood up for ourselves and fought back. Don’t you agree?

Surely, if faulty interpretation can so easily generate disasters, why can’t reasoned and accurate interpretation flip things around? Well it can. And we have the authority and ability to make it all happen.

Author's Bio: 

After a winning bout with panic disorder, a career in the business world, and a part-time job working with socially challenged adolescents, Bill found his life's passion and work. So he earned his master's degree and counseling credentials, and is doing all he can to lend a hand to those having a tough time.

Bill has some powerful mentoring and service packages available on his website, which include his panic attack education and recovery eWorkbook, "Panic! ...and Poetic Justice." The eWorkbook is ready for immediate download. You'll also find a link on the website to Bill's "Panic Attack Freedom!" blog. Lots of good stuff going on and much more to come.

In addition to doing psychiatric emergency work, Bill continues to do a lot of writing and speaking. He's conducted numerous mental health workshops for non-profit organizations and remains available to present more. Bill is a national and local member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (N.A.M.I.).

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