“Mark, I do agree everyone needs to get to the emotional factors causing their anxiety…”
…but after years of cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback, EMDR, traditional therapy, etc…
I still have panic attacks from what seems to be from my “chemical imbalance.” I’ve tried being on and off medication for years but right now I could not function and had to get back on Zoloft. I don’t want to be on it but I have not found any natural remedies that work.
I’ve tried 5-HTP, valerian root, St. Johns Wort, etc…
Do you believe some people have chemical imbalances so bad they have to be on meds the rest of their life?
sorry to hear about the panic attacks.
I used to have them myself, but as soon as I ‘went into them’ and embraced them, they ended. Abruptly. But that’s just me.
The short answer to your question: Sadly, yes. Or rather, they WILL be on meds for the rest of their lives. Whether they HAVE to or not is a different story.
I believe many people have chemical imbalances in their brain. I believe sometimes the best situation is to take antidepressants. But I believe 90% of the time, antidepressants are not the right choice.
They seem to be way over-prescribed. Sometimes antidepressants create much worse problems than the original problem for which they were given.
First of all, look at society in general. It would be hard to even imagine a more dysfunctional world than the one we currently live in. There is almost no balance anywhere. If a world is out of balance, is it any wonder that individuals would also be out of balance?
But the real question becomes – does a chemical imbalance really make you a victim, unable to respond without the drugs so ubiquitously advertised to you?
Are you a victim of your chemical imbalance?
I would say, in most cases, no.
The whole theory of chemical imbalance was created to explain how drugs work. If there were no antidepressants, there would be no chemical imbalance theory.
The theory was created in an attempt to explain why certain drugs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants) reduced the symptoms of depression in some patients who took them.
But it’s a bit like saying the red lights are responsible for stopping the cars. It’s sort of a half-truth.
To me, it’s not really a matter of whether or not you have a chemical imbalance. Instead, it’s a matter of what can you do about it.
The endless advertising says you are indeed a helpless victim and your only hope is to take some drug.
Now, I do believe some people have indeed reached the point where they cannot just ‘snap out of it’ – whether it’s depression or anxiety or something else. Sometimes antidepressants can help them to get back on their feet. But the goal should be to get off the drugs as soon as possible.
The goal is to regain your personal power.
For some people, I can say without a doubt they will never regain their personal power. So they will be on drugs for the rest of their lives.
I believe shutting down your emotions creates the chemical imbalance in the first place. Not the other way around.
I also believe some people are PREDISPOSED to a chemical imbalance, so that it takes less ‘effort’ to end up with the chemical imbalance.
I further believe at least 99% of the cases of depression, anxiety, etc. could have been prevented if we were all taught to maintain a healthy relationship with our emotions. Because the more you shut down your feelings, the harder it becomes to ‘right the ship’.
And some people truly reach a point of no return.
Maybe not because they’ve lost the ability to change, as much as the willingness and the desire. Because, again, the more you stop feeling your feelings, the less willingness and desire you’ll experience.
Along with your feelings, you also lose the motivation to change. (If you don’t feel anything – then what’s the use?)
Basically, emotions flow through us like a river flows through the countryside. But we learn at a very early age to manipulate our emotions, which compares to damming up a river.
The water can become stagnant behind the dam. Enormous pressure builds up. The potential for problems increases significantly. It’s unnatural.
In the case of emotions, it can create anxiety, depression, pain, excessive anger, and various other problems. To me, the fact that brain chemicals can get so out of whack shows just how powerful emotions really are.
The answer? Well, the specifics vary with each person, but in general it involves accepting responsibility for more and more of your feelings. ‘Letting them in’. Accepting them. Embracing them. Feeling them without condition or explanation or manipulation.
As a way to bleed off some of the pressure.
Concerning your particular situation of panic attacks – maybe you were genetically predisposed to a greater tendency to feel fear. But rather than letting it flow through you, maybe you bottled it up and now it occasionally spills out as a panic attack.
Or at least, that’s what happened in my case. Panic used to exert a significant role in my life. I lived my life around my panic. It dictated my behavior. It controlled me. I was always so scared it would attack.
It wasn’t until I learned about ‘imaginary fear’ that I was able to end it completely.
Nowadays, I seek out my fear. I generally feel a drop or two every few days. I know if I don’t feel it when it’s tiny, it will grow larger and larger and hit me all at once: PANIC!!!!
And I don’t want that…
It seems my whole life I’ve had a tendency to feel more fear than most people do. By learning to keep the channel of fear wide open, now it never bothers me.
Feeling it a drop at a time doesn’t hurt a bit.
I’m sorry all those other things you’ve tried haven’t helped any, but I’m not surprised. If you ever get tired of taking drugs to keep your panic away, here’s how I healed myself -