Wonderful lucid writing Wendy. I’m humbled by your description of your condition. I hope this doesn’t sound cold but you are fortunate in the sense that having this problem has made you confront issues and ideas that most people might just bury or block out for most of their lives. Of course, anxiety and panic attacks are terrible, the feeling that your mind is not your own or that you can be so utterly at its mercy is terrifying. As you gain some sense of understanding and influence, though, some very interesting things start happening. The mechanics of thinking and feeling begin to reveal themselves to you in a way that the average person may never have the chance to experience. And this I think why you write so well.
Now, I’m going to say something that seems to be contrary to popular opinion: I am responsible for my triggers. Me.
It’s not even you that is responsible (or any of us really) but our brains. There’s a fair bit of research to suggest that our brains are in fact more in control than we realize. Much of our behavior and what we think of as our ‘thoughts’ are really just pre-programmed patterns laid out by our genes and environmental conditioning. That’s not to say we don’t have any power, quite the opposite, but it’s only found in the spaces between the thoughts.
Thank you for this excellent musing on mental health and your personal journey through it!