Why is life full of fear

Agoraphobia & Panic Disorder


Claudia Schiller
I am Claudia Schiller, born in 1977 and have suffered from anxiety and panic disorders for 20 years, but I've just learned to live with them. The situation at the time was very stressful. I had just built a house, then I lost a child, so a miscarriage and very, very much stress at work. So it really all came together and I think my body just said "no".
From one day to the next I gave up everything: I stopped going shopping, no longer going for a walk, I didn't go to work, I didn't drive - I was really at the house for a year. I admitted myself to psychiatry for eight weeks plus day therapy afterwards and that was the best decision of my life.

Everyone finds their own way of dealing with the disease. This film is a personal experience report and does not constitute a recommendation.

That was a really great moment, easy to hear from the doctor: You now have this diagnosis, an anxiety and a panic disorder and there is hope for you. On the advice of the doctors, I was also given medication. Even today, after 20 years, I continue to take my antidepressants, namely in low doses. But I tried to stop three times. Unfortunately, that makes my situation worse, so I will continue to take it. I always have emergency medication with me and everywhere in every handbag, in every jacket pocket, in my wallet. This is a little invisible help for me.

The entire period, when I think back, really amounts to over ten years. Behavioral therapies were very important to me, and really go out and do it! It was such a small step: going to a supermarket, grabbing a shopping cart, putting it back down and going out again. That's how I learned it. I didn't go in, went shopping - for God's sake! No no. Small, small steps.

At the moment I hardly think about it anymore. Still, it catches up with me every now and then. So I cannot say that I am symptom-free. But then I have my strategy to prevent this and I think that's half the battle. If you know: Okay, I know how to deal with it.

First emergency thing: I pinch my back without anyone noticing. Breathing is a very important point. Controlling your breathing, always inhaling briefly and exhaling at least twice as long, if possible also exhaling three times as long, that regulates it again. Or I'll distract myself. It is possible to be distracted when a panic attack is still in the very early stages. I can make a phone call there or I turn on the music loudly or I dance and look at photos.
My family is totally helping me cope with my anxiety disorder because it is just normal. My kids give me a lot of distraction. I can play with them, I can romp around with them, I also really use them sometimes to make me feel good. Yes when I notice: Oh God something
Is wrong with me today, then I go to my daughter, then she will
cuddled or with my son, then I'll play soccer with him. That’s just nice. What I find very astonishing, a therapist recommended to me, you should laugh at yourself in the mirror and also like to talk to yourself again and again so that the ear itself can hear the sentence:
"I'm doing great today!" "Nothing can happen to me this one
stupid dizziness, he can do me! "" It's not bad at all and I'm healthy. "

In the past, fear and panic disorder was my greatest enemy. For me he was the devil in my life. Now I say this is my shadow
my sister, my friend, is positive. I live with it. She belongs to Me. Yes, she comes knocking every now and then, then I say "Hey, how are you? But now you can go away again!" And I think that's a very healthy attitude because you accept the disease. If you just fight against it, it backfires.

We thank you for this very personal insight!

Further information can be found at www.stiftung-gesundheitswissen.de
Knowledge is healthy.

Leni Schröder

My name is Leni Schröder, I was born in 1991 and had my first panic attack in 2011. Then a little later a generalized anxiety disorder was diagnosed. I'm doing very well with it today because
I've learned to deal with it. The fear of fear is for me
honestly the worst fear. At some point I just wanted to stay in the apartment and you limit yourself. The space of fear is getting bigger and your own is just getting smaller and smaller.

I then did a year of behavior therapy, where I learned an incredible amount about myself. And I was boldly explained and shown what goes on in my head when I have a panic attack. What I learned at the very beginning of my therapy is that fear is a constant false alarm in my head. And that there is no point in running away from fear or avoiding anything. It was always very difficult for me at the beginning because I had the feeling that I had to endure this situation.
But at some point I realized that it was completely okay to interrupt a situation. Just go outside for a moment in the fresh air or stop for a moment in the car. And then just go on, get back in the car or go back to the apartment, get back on the train.
And that brought me a lot because I just noticed that I wasn't trapped. I can go out at any time and I can interrupt the situation at any time.

A lot has changed in my life since then. I actually moved back then. From the big city back to the small town. I changed jobs and I just started to live more consciously. My partner gives me a lot of security by simply being by my side. Personally, I have to give my child security and I can only do that when I'm fine, when I'm not afraid. And to me, to be safe means not to be afraid.

Today I can live with the disease very well. There are definitely situations where the fear tingles up so slowly - but then I know exactly what to do to make it go away. Then most of the time the very first thing I do is try to get my attention from within, from my body really to the outside. I've always done that best by doing mental arithmetic. I looked, how many red things are there in this room now? Or I did Sudoku, so I tried to consciously distract my mind. These methods are just then from
It is an advantage if you are in the public eye, because then nobody will notice. When driving a car, for example, it is difficult because you have to be focused. And then I often pulled out the "inner stop sign" or "pressed the buzzer". That was a metaphor for me that I could use to stop the fear. Or I even spoke to her and said: "I don't need you right now, I just want to drive the car in peace - without you!" "Bye!"

When I got my panic attacks at home, I tried a lot to move the panic away. Either I sat down really upright and tried different kinds of techniques or I danced - very wildly and completely uninhibited. Or on the contrary: I just move very slowly, try to move in slow motion. And that always helped me a lot.

Of course, when I'm on the train I have to think back to the time when I would have liked to just get off the moving train. And today I think to myself: How bad was that what you were afraid of? Sometimes I just wait for the symptoms, but they just don't come. Because my conscious - or my subconscious - now knows that it is no longer working.

Panic attacks or even fear simply cause a lot to people. You do a lot with a self-confidence. You have little self-esteem, little self-confidence. For me it was really the point where things started going up again when I realized that I am not the fear. The fear is with me, but I can send it away! And me, Leni, I'm not scared!

More information is available at www.stiftung-gesundheitswissen.de
Knowledge is healthy.

Dietmar Peters

My name is Dietmar Peters, I was born in 1960, and for 20 years now I have suffered from a recurrent generalized anxiety disorder that is associated with periods of depression. There were phases when it really was like this every day. I couldn't go outside. That meant that I was sometimes completely incapable of making decisions, incapable of acting. Because of my situation, I was on the verge of killing myself.
The moment my daughter was born and took my little finger and held it, I made up my mind: I'll keep going.
I was with the police for almost 35 years, mainly the criminal investigation department, until I retired early because of my diagnosis, i.e. illness.

Everyone finds their own way of dealing with the disease. This film is a personal experience report and does not constitute a recommendation.

So I've been in psychotherapeutic treatment for almost 20 years, sometimes with medication. Strictly speaking, in 2011 the really definitive diagnosis was made for my symptoms and then things went uphill.

I reduced myself to that
What is essential, what is really essential. I sold my house, I reduced myself to a small apartment.

My very own strategy of prevention means for me that I leave nothing - as far as possible - to chance. I make sure that my tank, my petrol tank, is always at least half full. For example, I book a parking space, there is an app for that. So I need this feeling of having an overview and that gives me the security.
I go to bed relatively early in the evening, actually always at almost the same time. I get up very early in the morning. I have certain times when I go to exercise. I do my fitness program every day, I regularly attend self-defense courses. I am fit, I am healthy, I eat sensibly, I can deal with all situations. That gives me an immense feeling of security.

My illness currently affects me in the form that I am in control during the day, everything is going perfectly, I address everything, I do not avoid anyone or anything. At night, however, I have very, very big and strong nightmares, where I actually have this feeling of fear again with a strength that I even wake up. But then I don't stay in bed and wait until it's gone, instead I get up, make something to eat, or I've even ironed because
got me down

When I notice that something is coming again, I just realize my reality in which I currently live. Well, I find out that I'm actually doing pretty well, I'm healthy, everything is fine. And this combination of breathing technique and just realizing the real one
Life, so I can get it under control.

My 20 years of experience with my illness has convinced me that you can still live very well, be very satisfied, be very happy. One should, however, or I for my part simply stick to the rules of the game that I have imposed on myself. My common thread, my discipline, also my precautionary measures and reducing myself to what I really need and everything that burdens me, what makes me feel uncomfortable, overburdened, I reject that, reject it and protect me from that too.

We thank you for this very personal insight.
You can find more information at www.stiftung-gesundheitswissen.de
Knowledge is healthy.

Michael Randolf

My name is Michael Randolf. And in 2010 I was diagnosed with a combined or mixed anxiety and depressive disorder. I was 37 years old then. The complaints where the whole thing started with the illness were really anxiety states, real panic attacks, where you had the feeling that you were losing control. And that saddened me in the sense that my normal life as I knew it was no longer there. So that I started to simply adapt my life to any fears or panic situations.

It all started at work, where I had these fears, which meant that even my employers couldn't cope with what suddenly happened to me. One was no longer considered resilient. You just didn't get certain projects and tasks anymore. And in retrospect, they simply put a cancellation agreement on me under papers that I always had to sign! My social environment, my "being needed" was suddenly gone. I was really at zero. No work. Not much to do.

I came to a day clinic at the time. There I was admitted as part of the hospital. The whole thing lasted 4 months for the first time. There I was also put on a medication, an antidepressant, that I have been taking since then, even today.
I learned a lot about myself and my problems through the day clinic and through group work. And finally there were "tools" too.

In my specific case, the group gave us flacons, small perfume samples. If you now get scared or panic that you just smell this bottle and the brain first wants to know as an impulse, what kind of smell is that? Is he comfortable? Is he uncomfortable? What do I associate the smell with? That means you can't even get in this vortex because you're distracted by your sense of smell.

That helped me to find my self-confidence again. Because I knew: I have a problem, but there is a solution! And suddenly, as if by magic, these episodes no longer came or only came in very weakly.

I visited friends. I went to concerts, went swimming again. That means I got my normal life back bit by bit.

And on the subject of work: I've slowly worked my way back.
I no longer have to be the head of department or the supervisor. I started with a € 450 job. Simply having a task again, two days a week just slowly loading yourself again, with the understanding that if you lose your € 450 job, it doesn't hurt so much now. The € 450 job suddenly turned into a permanent position because people liked you, because they believed in you. The permanent position suddenly became a branch manager Posten again. You can tell you can do it again! But always with the understanding not to repeat past mistakes. Just make the whole thing a little more conscious.

There was a phase when I was like a "flodder". I just ran around here in sweatpants because I was home anyway. And then I started going through the clinic again in front of the mirror, pulling my hair, putting on a nice sweater or shirt again.

My life is really better today than it was before. Healthier, more conscious and more intense. That means, I just listen to myself more often - what I want. And I try to fulfill that more and more. And when I need some rest, a good meal or a break - then I just treat myself to it today. What I didn't do before.

If I can give advice to other affected persons: accept help! This is where I also managed to get the bridge from my old life to the new life. That was just the clinic!

More information is available at www.stiftung-gesundheitswissen.de
Knowledge is healthy.

Frank Schulz

I am Frank Schulz. I live with my wife and with my two children. My wife was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks in 2016. And since then we have mastered life together.

Before the diagnosis, we were often at odds. We argued very often. Also because I never understood where the problem was. For me it was like a foreign body in a relationship, but I couldn't do anything about it. She then got professional help from a psychologist, where she has now completed two years of therapy.

At first, the diagnosis was frightening for me. At second glance it was a relief. Because now you have something you can work against and something you can fight against. A lot has changed for us after the diagnosis and especially after the therapy. We're just more harmonious. We are now mastering this together.

Today I have a lot more understanding for my wife and rather approach her. For example, if I notice that she is not doing so well when she has mild panic attacks, then I am always there for her - always available. Even at work. She can call or write to me at any time. I just have to take a minute, take my time, just listen ... And then that's a big help for her.

If, for example, we have planned an evening at the cinema and 15 minutes before departure she doesn't feel like it, then we just stay at home.Then I see to it that I organize a movie night for her at home.

Today I try a lot more to avoid stress for her. She always needs a plan. On Monday she needs something from the drugstore, on Tuesday something from the supermarket and so on ... On Friday the situation is completely different. Then if she didn't manage something, such as bulk purchases, then I'll take care of it.

Nowadays we do a lot more trips. Day trips, weekend trips,
City trips ... It's like therapy for them. You can tell that she provides more things than before! It is not now that I am wrapping them in cotton. I'll let her do it, even if she doesn't like it sometimes. She has to go through there! And if it doesn't work out, you can always discuss it. We do that too. But if it works, she is all the more happy!

It is not only a process for the person concerned, but also for himself! In the beginning I saw that as a burden. Today I see it as a task. You have to stay cool.

More information is available at www.stiftung-gesundheitswissen.de
Knowledge is healthy.

Dr. Jens Plag

Avoidance is an important and central component in maintaining anxiety disorders. Avoidance prevents the patient from having a corrective experience and realizes that the fears associated with the fear response will not materialize. Accordingly, we often see behavior in relatives that is well-intentioned - but ultimately contributes to the maintenance and persistence of the anxiety disorder.

Many say: "My husband, my wife, my child can no longer do a lot because of the fear!", "And that's why I take it away from him." In our experience, however, and based on the study results in this field, this is exactly the wrong way to go!

Relatives should behave in such a way that they encourage the patient to seek out fear-inducing situations - even if it is difficult - and ideally to get through them according to the techniques that have been learned in psychotherapy.
By taking away from tasks that are fear-inducing, the patient only learns that in fact fear can only be kept under control if he avoids corresponding situations. But that is exactly what should not be the learning effect! Rather, it has to be learned that - even if I feel fear - it falls off exactly when I face the situation.

What about physical contact during a fear response? Should I hold the victim's hand? Should I put my hand comfortably on his shoulder or something? Caution is advised here. Because even
this can be a calming strategy that signals to the patient: only when someone is close to me, is physically close to me, can I control the fear and get through the situation.

Further information can be found at www.stiftung-gesundheitswissen.de
Knowledge is healthy.