Some extracts from the 48 minute video

Fight or flight?
Overcoming panic and agoraphobia

On the road, late at night

"I'd leave our depot in the mornings around 3 am. And I wouldn't get very far out the highway and the panic would start taking over me, and the first things I would think of would be 'Will I turn around now and get back to the Lismore hospital or will I make it to the next hospital because I'm going to be sick. I feel awful and I need to have a doctor near me because I'm gonna get real sick. I could die!' ... I was by myself at night time, very little other traffic on the highway, and when you did get pulled up because you couldn't focus correctly and I was getting tunnel vision and all sorts of crazy things happening to me. I'd try to calm myself down but as soon as I'd lay myself back and try to relax my head would start to spin so that made it even worse. So I'd immediately sit straight back up and I was so scared I didn't know what to do." - Wayne

"I was in a shopping centre with my sister one day and I think that's when I got a really full blown out of control panic attack where I was standing in the shop with her and and just all of a sudden my world... the world started spinning and I just thought I was going totally out of control. My legs started going weak. I couldn't focus on anything. I really started shaking almost. Hot and cold chills going down me, rapid heart beat and I actually thought I was going to collapse right there. Terrible nausea and I remember my sister looking at me and saying 'you are absolutely white as a ghost." - Sharon

In the supermarket

Professor Rapee

"Basically the sorts of treatments are very practical commonsense ones. Ones that we would broadly put under a label that we might call cognitive behavioural therapy. They are treatments which involve teaching people very specific skills to try and control the attacks, ways of learning how to deal with their attacks, ways of thinking differently about the attacks so they don't seem quite as horrendous and these techniques have very very high success rates." - Professor Ron Rapee, professor of psychology, Macquarie University

"The bottom line is learning that my symptoms are not going to hurt me. We do that in lots of different ways. The first step is simply monitoring, simply recording your symptoms for a period of one or two or more weeks in order to realise that symptoms vary, that panic attacks vary and that these things are not just all or nothing phenomena. They don't just happen out of the blue but they vary for various reasons." - Professor Ron Rapee

"I find now with my breathing techniques it comes very easily to me but I practiced the in two three out two three procedure with my breathing ... I practiced that consistently every chance I got... Now up the track I don't have any problem at all being able to control my breathing." - Wayne demonstrating breathing retraining

"It's a changing of your thoughts. A changing of your thoughts toward the fear, towards the physical symptoms and to not fear them so much. So my psychologist basically taught me a more rationalised thinking." - Sharon on realistic thinking

"Bearing in mind that what we are asking people to do is deliberately bring on the symptoms of their panic, as you might think a lot of people are fairly reluctant to do it. But I'd really encourage people to go that extra step and do incorporate internal exposure into their program because it just provides that extra measure of really mastering your fears about panic." - Dr Lisa Lampe, consultant psychiatrist, on internal exposure

"From not being able to drive my truck much at all at night, or at all, I had to work on getting back to being able to do that. So I first of all had to start and I did a trip as passenger. The next time I went I still took another driver with me and I moved on and actually did some driving but he was with me... I suppose over a couple of months I got to the stage that I went on my own in the day time." - Wayne explaining his graded exposure program

Dr Lampe

"I would say in my opinion, and many people would share this, that the best first line treatment to panic if it's available is cognitive behavioural therapy and not medication at all. However unfortunately large numbers of people don't have access to cognitive behavioural therapy and there are medications available which don't have the habit forming potential of the benzodiazopines, and these are the antidepressant class of medication ." - Dr Lisa Lampe

"All the symptoms are gone now. I do still sometimes get them. I still sometimes get this feeling of depersonalisation but I'm not scared about it any more. It doesn't worry me any more. I know what it is and I know that nothing is going to happen to me. So yes sometimes the old fear creaps back in but I'm able to push it aside and say okay, let's be realistic about this. You know we've had this before and it's not dangerous. And when I think like that it sort of goes away, it's okay. And if it does last for a day or two it doesn't worry me any more. I can still go and get in the car and go to the shops without having this fear that I'm going to pass out or something terrible is going to happen to me." - Sharon

"I still get panic attacks. I probably will get panic attacks for the rest of my life... But three years up the track now, with no medication, I feel so much better than what I did back then. Now I find that I can control any situation with the things that I learnt. Not with medication, but with the breathing, the realistic thinking and all the other things that go with it, it will work for you. You will still feel a little bit funny and strange, anxious, panicky at times when things aren't going right for you. If you use all the things you were taught to use, the tools to use to control the panic attacks they do work. And I feel pretty good now." - Wayne