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Panic Disorder & Agoraphobia Q&A Episode With Annie!

Alright, we're diving into one of my favorite things to do – a Q&A episode! In this episode, Annie and I focused on some frequently asked questions on panic disorder and agoraphobia, and we shared some really great insights! I love answering your questions, and these are all thoughts and feelings I experienced in my recovery journey - I hope they help bring you some peace and wisdom. Let's get to it!

Panic Disorder & Agoraphobia Q&A Episode With Annie!

01. Why do I feel like I need to escape places that are “hard” to escape?

Feeling stuck, trapped and out of control is a big part of dealing with anxiety. It's like you're afraid to even feel anything – to feel anxious or panic, or to feel certain sensations or symptoms.

Maybe you've had moments before where you felt super anxious or panicked in a situation that was hard to get out of. Like driving on a highway or being in a crowded place – I hear this a lot from my students, and trust me I've been there! These memories can scare us, and really stick with us - so it makes perfect sense that we feel this way.

You feel like you want to escape, but the reality is you don't need to. Those pesky 'what-if' thoughts pop up...What if I panic? What if I embarrass myself? What if I pass out? And the thoughts are hard enough, but what makes them even more challenging is the feelings they bring. A lot of these feelings come from the stories we tell ourselves, and how we respond.

When we start to change our response to our thoughts, slow down, and stop trying to prevent ourselves from feeling, we start to feel less stuck and less trapped, and this will help you a ton. This is where lots of recovery and healing starts to happen - so stick with it.

If you really battle with What-If thinking, check out my Freedom From What-If Thoughts Masterclass. In this class I teach you how to respond to your thoughts and the feelings in a healthy way so that they stop showing up and causing so much chaos. You can absolutely quiet your mind and experience the peace and freedom you deserve!

02. Why do I still feel like running from the feelings and emotions when anxiety pops up?

This one is easy - because the feelings are scary, and because you're human! Physiological changes are happening in your brain and body that make you want to run, and it's very likely that running is what you have been doing for months, years or decades in response to those feelings and emotions! You may always feel like running, and that is okay. It’s practicing staying as best you can that counts.

03. How do you find the courage to keep going when you get a panic attack?

This one is tough! The truth is, you don’t really “find” courage. Courage comes after taking action. It can be overwhelming knowing where to start, so I always recommend starting with small, healthy steps. Let yourself see how capable you are, one step at a time.

Self-talk can be incredibly helpful after a panic attack. It's helpful to remember that you have worked through panic every time it has showed up before, and this one is no different. Be gentle with yourself.

And remember, when you're working to heal from anxiety, panic and agoraphobia, it's normal to experience more panic as you allow yourself to face it, feel it and make space for it. Keep going!

04. How can I expand my safe space?

First off,  I'm not a huge fan of the term "safe space", I much prefer to refer to it as your comfort space. You are always safe, even if it doesn't feel that way.

Expanding your comfort space looks like taking small steps outside of it, consistently. This doesn't just translate to MORE exposures, or pushing yourself harder.  It just means, let yourself feel a little more discomfort… a little more! This could look like saying "hi" to a stranger, going somewhere alone, or trying something new.

05. How can I navigate the immense dread I feel before I leave the house?

Dread is a tough feeling, and oftentimes the anticipatory anxiety can be the most difficult thing to navigate.

The first step is to acknowledge how you are feeling in this moment. Of course, anxious feelings may show up when we're about to face something that often leads to anxiety, but don’t go along with the stories your mind is creating about how the things will look once you step outside of your front door. Take that first step outside and take it one step at a time. Let yourself see what it'll look like without going along with all of the thoughts and stories your brain is creating.

06. When does it get easier? How many exposures and how much do you have to put yourself through the panic until it gets easier?

This is such a good question, and it’s actually one that I answered in my free class - 5 Shifts You Need To Overcome Anxiety, Panic Disorder, and Agoraphobia. If you haven't tuned in yet, I highly recommend it!

I know you are reading this wanting a specific answer or steps to follow, but truthfully, it's not about the number of exposures, and it's definitely not about "putting yourself through the panic". It's about getting better at making space for anxiety, letting yourself feel, and supporting yourself along the way. Take the pressure off, do less forcing, and give yourself more kindness and compassion, and it will get easier, I promise.

So many of my Panic to Peace students have found that by changing their self-talk, setting boundaries, practicing self-compassion, feeling stuff they had been trying to run from for years, made a real difference. And truly - it gets easier when we have all of the knowledge, skills, and tools.

The doors to my program Panic to Peace will be opening again in September of this year, and if you're on my waiting list, you'll get early access to the program, a special bonus, and a really awesome discount! This program runs over the course of 10 weeks, with live teaching, Q&A’s and group discussions, and a community of people who are on a similar journey as you. I help you to finally push past your anxious thoughts, the symptoms, panic, and fears and start living the life you want to live - a life that is absolutely within your reach. I hope to see you there!

Shannon Jackson, Anxiety Coach

Gosh, that was quite a bit to take in! But there were so many valuable insights shared that I wanted to cover everything! I truly hope you've found this Q&A helpful. Until next time, keep taking healthy action.


Feeling like you've tried everything but you're still struggling with lots of anxious thoughts, symptoms, panic attacks, and fears? Take my FREE 60-minute masterclass today and learn 5 shifts that will actually help you to overcome anxiety, panic disorder, and agoraphobia. And I promise, you won't hear any of the usual stuff from me - like doing breathing exercises, grounding practices, cutting out caffeine, and doing more exposures. Let's get you the peace and freedom you deserve without it being so hard!

Thinking about joining my 10-week program, Panic to Peace? Get on my waiting list, and when doors open, you'll get early access to the program, a special bonus, and a pretty awesome discount!

Check out my masterclasses here and start experiencing lots more peace, joy, & freedom!



Ways to work with me...

Driving Anxiety Masterclass

A two hour masterclass that teaches you how to experience more peace and freedom behind the wheel, whether you struggle as the driver, the passenger, or a bit of both!

Panic to Peace

(10-week live course)

A 10-week live course that will teach you the tools that will help you to overcome your anxious thoughts, the symptoms, panic, and fears (no matter where and in what situations you experience them), and start living a life that is full of lots more peace, joy, freedom, and adventure!

Symptoms & Panic Attacks


A 90 minute masterclass that teaches you how to start approaching the symptoms and panic attacks in a healthy way so that you can finally find freedom from them!

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