A big part of my business is helping people overcome anxiety related problems. This could be Panic Attacks, Fears and Phobias, Generalised Anxiety and so on. The more I see it in people the more it seems to me like a 'Mind Rot'. It's something that invades a healthy mind and causes weakness, self doubt and creates fear where there wasn't fear before. It also grows and spreads.
Imagine someone who has their first panic attack. It seems to come from nowhere. Maybe it was whilst out shopping, before a major event, travelling on a bus - something they've done many times before but this time they panicked. This triggers a powerful process in the brain. The brain is a patterning and survival engine. It looks for patterns and it seeks ways to avoid that which which causes you harm. Panic attacks can be terrifying. they cause you harm.
So a number of things start to happen in that person:
- They desperately try to understand why it happened this time
- They search for ways to stop it happening again.
- They begin to fear things that they didn't fear before.
- It's not the circumstances they fear - it's the panic or anxiety itself.
These things combined start the process of rot. They weaken once strong attitudes and beliefs and introduce doubt. What's more it begins to spread. Let's say the incident happened on a bus.They begin to question was it the particular bus? Was it the length of the journey? Was it how crowded the bus was? In the absence of concrete answers they develop avoidance strategies. How can I plan my day so I don't need to get that bus? How can I limit where I travel to? How can i make sure I get a quieter bus? And when they do need to get that bus again, they become anxious. They visualise what may happen, they recall and relive what happened before, they focus on being panicked.
And what happens? The chances are increased that they will panic again and the cycle continues. Mind Rot sets in.
To stop the rot, you need to able to manage the anxiety. Keep an eye here because I'll be posting a free guide on this very soon!