- It was a hot day
- It was a busy road
- She was trapped in her car! (Because she couldn't just leave it and walk away)
How Amanda Re-discovered A Life Without Fear (And How You Can Too)
To the outside world, Amanda’s life would look pretty normal.
She was 36, married with two children (aged 9 and 4) and she worked part time as the administrator for a building company.
But her reality was very different. In fact, Amanda was like a swan - serene on the surface but paddling like mad underneath.
Amanda’s anxiety started many years ago, just before she got married.
I think it’s fair to say that she was under a bit of stress. Especially as her mother-in-law-to-be was constantly offering “helpful” advice and opinions on what she should and shouldn't be doing.
Amanda had her first panic attack whilst driving to her future mother-in-law’s house to finalise the guest list (which had been contentious, to say the least).
Amanda had never had a panic attack before, and when it hit her, out of the blue, she had to pull over. She thought she was having a heart attack.
There she was, on her own, stuck in a car on the side of the highway, without any help, feeling like she was about to die.
The panic subsided after about fifteen minutes, but her fear was so intense, she felt shaky for days.
From that point onwards, she started to worry about any situation where she felt enclosed or hot or crowded.
You see when something frightens us, our emotional mind kicks in to protect us from future harm.
(Everybody on the planet works the same way, and Amanda was no different.)
The problem is that this emotional analysis is often flawed, and so the result isn't helpful.
And so it was with Amanda...
When Amanda’s emotional mind went through this process, it looked at the “facts”.
So in her mind, this was what caused her panic attack.
Of course, it was far more likely that she was stressed about her mother-in-law and the wedding.
She was probably playing over the upcoming meeting with the mother-in-law in her mind.
(And the bottle of red wine she drank last night probably didn't help either.)
But in that moment, rational thought had gone and survival thinking had kicked in.
As time went on, it just got worse.
She started to avoid travelling anywhere it was likely to be busy or where she might feel trapped.
Cars, trains, planes, subways. Eventually, her world closed down.
It also affected her family - vacations, play dates and even the school run became full of fear.
Fear of when the next panic attack would strike.
Fear of being anywhere that would start the rollercoaster of fear and worry. A rollercoaster that, once started, only stopped when she was so emotionally exhausted she was ready to give up and die.
And then, something happened that changed her life.
Rob Woodgate & Paul Howard
Creators of Beat Anxiety For Life