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Take Back the Power !
It may seem strange to use the words 'power balance' when talking of anxiety disorders, but the majority of people with an anxiety disorder, give away their personal power, not just to the disorder, but to the myths, stigma, shame and community attitudes about the disorders and mental health generally.
Articles - Take Back the Power by Bronwyn Fox

'If no one is going to rescue me........?', is a question from Nathaniel Branden's book ' The Six Pillars of Self Esteem' (1) and is a question we ask in one of our Panic Anxiety Management Follow up Programs. The open ended question is provoking. 'If no one is going to rescue me'..... and take the Disorder away, if there is not going to be a magic answer, a magic pill, a magic cure, and ultimately our recovery is going to be up to us, what then? Answers to the question are always extremely powerful. From outright anger, ' .....(expletive deleted).... that's not fair' to indignation, 'I'll do it myself (that will show them)' to the self empowered, 'I know and I'm doing it'.

Paraphrasing Branden, he is right when he says, 'When the client grasps no one is coming... a 'click' seems to occur in the client's mind and a new forward motion begins.....'(1). And in most instances that 'new forward motion' is power. Personal Power. Resulting in self responsibility, commitment and recovery. Even if the power initially comes from anger or indignation, it can be the first time people actually feel their own strength and determination and it can be the first time they see they actually do have a choice in how they live their lives. In feeling our own power, the power balance between ourselves and our Anxiety Disorder is shifted.

It may seem strange to use the words 'power balance' when talking of anxiety disorders, but the majority of people with an anxiety disorder, give away their personal power, not just to the disorder, but to the myths, stigma, shame and community attitudes about the disorders and mental health generally.

Giving away personal power is not a result of an anxiety disorder, the majority of people with an anxiety disorder have always given away their personal power and in the process have become very passive people. This has enabled them to be the 'strong one' in the family, the person who family, friends and acquaintances turn to (and turn to and turn to! ) whenever there is a problem. The word 'no' is not part of their vocabulary. They are good, kind, caring people who take the responsibility for everyone else. The one person they do not take care of, or are responsible for, is themselves.

The development of the disorders, either gradually or as a powerfully swift and dramatic force, can destroy peoples' lives. As they have never felt their personal power they feel completely powerless to the onslaught of the disorder.

In the past and unfortunately even today, some health practitioners do not have a basic understanding of anxiety disorders, let alone knowledge in the latest treatment methods. The lack of understanding and knowledge by many of the health professions of course adds to the sense of helplessness and confusion people feel. They go to the doctor and/or to their therapist and wait for them to do 'something' to take the disorder away. If the doctor or therapist don't know or has little understanding of anxiety disorders, their assistance is limited and people feel further dis-empowered.

Even though knowledge and understanding of the disorders is now growing and will continue to grow within the health professions, people with an anxiety disorder often unwittingly contribute to the lack of understanding. Not only are they extremely passive, they also need to be perfect. The perfect partner, parent, sibling, employee or employer, friend, acquaintance, and many try to be the perfect patient.

In so many instances people may only tell their doctor one or two symptoms. They may never tell the doctor their full experience, any avoidance behaviour, any alcohol problem or thoughts of suicide, because it doesn't fit in with the image of who people want themselves to be. 'This is not me, I am not like this'.

It is difficult for doctors and therapists to understand and make an appropriate diagnosis if people hold back many of the pertinent facts about what they are experiencing. Not only do they disempower themselves, inadvertently people disempower their doctor who can't fully assist them , because the doctor does not know the whole 'picture'.

 

Continued