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Old 03-03-2005, 06:01 PM
Vincent Vincent is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1
Default Panic Disorder about snow

I have suffered from a Panic disorder, about snow for approx. 9 years,
I have had therapy, from at least 6 therapists, to know avail, one even
told me , I could not be helped. I cannot take medication for this problem
because of a prior addiction problem, and SSRI,s make me sick to my stomach. I am at a loss as to what to do next, can you help????
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Old 03-05-2005, 01:20 PM
Dr. Joe Dr. Joe is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,015

I'm glad you posted this question, I think itís important for others to recognize just how wily insecurity can be. As youíve probably discovered, most people probably laugh or scoff at the notion that you have a fear of snow. But let me tell you, itís absolutely no different than someone with a fear of flying, heights, or needles. It all has to do with where your insecurity finds a hook. Yours happens to be snow.

Panic and phobias are all about control (and the perception that you're going to lose control). It often becomes a problem of "overthinking" as you begin to ruminate, avoid or otherwise plot to avoid that which makes you anxious. When it comes to phobias less (thinking) is definitely more! You have to learn not to follow the thoughts related to your associated fears. Once you recognize that the answer isn't trying to figure out how to stop getting panicky or trying to figure out more clever ways to side-step your anxious phobic thinking--the answer is to learn to ignore your feelings totally! Obviously, this is going to require some Self-Coaching training.

Let me underscore a point I made aboveñit's all about control! When, for example, someone has a phobia of germs, this fear is all about losing control. In this example, it would be losing control of your body as it becomes contaminated with germs (i.e., the inability to trust and believe that you can remain well). Certainly staying healthy is a real concern, but when driven by insecurity it becomes more a fear of the ìwhat-ifsî rather than reality. And this is the point. Insecurity becomes a motor for generating thoughts of chaos and panic (which have become associated with a phobic hook), and this is nothing more than a habit. A very bad habit! The more you indulge the habit, the stronger the habit becomes. Your specific hook-fear has to do with snow. For whatever historical reason, at some point you connected anxiety to snow. Perhaps it was snowing when something bad happened or when a traumatic thought occurred to youósomething that made you feel a loss of control. Unconsciously, you may have connected this negative experience with your feelings of insecurity and at that point, the dye was cast. Thatís how this could have gotten started. But, once again, let me remind you, as interesting as the origin of your phobia may be, it really isnít important! I want you to understand that your phobia is nothing more than a habit now. A habit with a long tail of negativity attached to it.

With an understanding of my two key Self-Coaching components: control and habitóyou will begin to encourage and coach yourself to stand up to reflexive, insecure thinking-reacting and learn to take the risk (actually, thereís no risk at all, it just feels this way). With a strong understanding of the dynamics involved, with my technique of Self-Talk, and with a few Self-Coaching pep-talks youíll be ready to take the plunge.

All panic, all phobias, all anxiety, even depression, are nothing more than habits of insecurity. Saying this differently, at some point in your life you lost self-trust and confidence. Insecurity was able to establish its roots and without a foundation of an I-can-handle-that attitude, you became susceptible to whatever insecurity threw at you (snow fears). Without trust, anyone with a phobia tries to stay in control by avoiding those things that threaten you. With trust, you learn to ignore anything in life thatís based on the fictions of insecurity (i.e., phobic fears) rather than fact (snow cannot hurt you). If you begin to see how your problems are nothing more than habits (and begin to cultivate some self-trust), you're going to be well on your way to stopping these reactions. It's all about breaking the habits of insecurity (and desire for control) that have come to rule your life. This, I can say without hesitation, can be done. All habits are learned and all habits can be broken! Once you remove the obstacles imposed by insecurity, your ability to trust will become a natural, spontaneous by-product of your efforts.

I would like to recommend that you take a look at the video in the What's New section on the homepage as well as some of the articles on my Self-Coaching philosophy. Also, the Self-Talk section in my new book, The Power of Self-Coaching, would be a specific program you could follow.

Disclaimer: The diagnosis of clinical anxiety or depressive disorders requires a physician or other qualified mental health professional. The information provided is intended for informational purposes only. Please understand that the opinions shared with you are meant to be general reference information, and are not intended as a diagnosis or substitute for consulting with your physician or other qualified mental health professional.

Dr. Joe
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