The first time I had a panic attack, I didn’t know what was happening, and neither, it seemed, did anybody else. I felt what folks who suffer from anxiety states and panic attacks will well recognize — that foggy, sticky sense of doom. Mind whirring, heart galloping, palms slick and limbs unsteady — surely I was dying, slipping over the muddy edge of my grave; or if not, I was going completely and irredeemably mad.The worst of it was, I was only a little kid at the time. In my innocence, I thought that when I grew up to be wiser and more knowledgeable, I would understand what was happening to me and know there was nothing at all to fear. I would grow up to be strong, brave, and resilient, and I would understand just how silly my childish self had been.
Instead, I grew up to have panic attacks that were even more devastating, since adulthood and knowledge had given me far more things to be afraid of and considerably more medical insight into the various ailments that could be (must be!) stalking my poor trembling body. Combine a certain amount of relevant physiological knowledge with my vivid, complex, natural story-teller imagination, and the playful nip of a neighborhood dog was transformed into a slow, agonizing death from rabies, just as every case of indigestion was either a heart attack or a dissecting aortic aneurysm.
Even though I was rational enough to understand how unlikely these scenarios of doom were, I couldn’t seem to stop the dizzying spiral of mental obsessing, nor the adrenaline surges that played such havoc with my pulse and blood pressure. And then, of course, I further worried (more reasonably) about the very real effect the physical manifestations of my mental terror were having on my heart and blood vessels.
I realize I’m speaking as if this is all in the past, but it isn’t, not entirely. I did learn to understand the neural mechanism of anxiety, and psychotherapy helped give me insight into what may have been some of the factors that increased what is probably my genetic disposition towards some easy-to-excite, slow-to-inhibit neurons. Several drugs, including Zoloft, Paxil, and Celexa among the SSRIs, and Klonopin among the benzos helped during the really bad times (some of the other benzos, like Xanax, had nasty snap-back-into-panic-while-wearing-off effects that discouraged me from using them and my doctors from prescribing them for me). Certain breathing and meditation techniques have also been helpful over the years, as has exercise.
But perhaps the most useful thing I’ve learned about anxiety/panic is that I manage these episodes better when I can just remember to let go and stop fighting. Instead of allowing that almost automatic “Oh no! It’s happening again! What if….what if….what if….” to wind its tentacles into my brain, I get through it much faster and more easily if I can go, “Yeah, yeah, big deal, I’ve seen this all before. If I’m going to faint right here in the elevator and make a scene, then so what, I’ll faint. If I’m about to drop dead, fine, so be it. If I’m about to have a stroke and crash into the tree, then goodbye world. If I’m about to start screaming, hallucinating, and crazily foaming at the mouth, then fine, I’ll be psychotic. Nothing I can do about it, is there? Come on, Fear, I dare ya. Here I am — come and get me.
Usually — not always, but usually — the not-fighting, the acceptance allows the fear to pass over and through me, leaving me shaky, but still standing, still here, still sane, and still able to summon a smile.
This article was written by Linda
I always found that it was the FEAR of another panic attack that would set one off. It was through finally understanding how one panic attack leads into the next that I finally managed to conquer the problem.
Sounds like my story exactly! Best wishes!
Very touching post. I hope you are more successful with battling panic attacks.
The meds gave me horrible side effects tried changing my eating habits and it made all the difference in the world.
I enjoyed this article and it has given me much to think about.
Panic Attacks are a very common conditon and must be treated seriously.
More information here:
Thank you for putting yourself out there like this, very touching and informative post. God Bless you.
Great stuff – thanks for the good read.
This site says that there are 2 types of Panic Attacks:
1. Spontaneous (Uncued) Panic Attacks
2. Situational (Cued) Panic Attacks
The first kind are not associated with a situational trigger and appears to come ‘out of blue’. These type of panic attacks could occur when sleeping or during periods of relaxation.
Here is the link to the site to check out more: budurl dot com/PanicAttaks
(Please remember to visit the FAQs section)
Panic attack is very unique to each individual and deemed to an individual’s battle and you got to find the your own cure. No matter what, don’t give up, draft out a plan and discuss with medical professionals where necessary.
I hope you can get your own cure soon!
I’ve found a good and professional service to help you fight your panic attacks at http://www.panicawaysystem.net
They have been doing this for 7 years, and besides the help and advice you can get help from your own home. Quite interesting.
I feel your pain…
I wish you the best in overcoming anxiety and effectively cure panic attacks…
Stay strong and keep fighting…
Why is it that people are afraid or almost embarassed to seek anxiety help, when the advantage of regaining control of their life can be realized.
Wow Linda, the insight you offer in your second to last paragraph is some great stuff. I’m going to share this with some people I’m mentoring.
I like your writing style. When will you write you next post?
I also suffer from panic attacks and i can manage it by deep and slow breathing. i also practice meditation.. .
Hi after suffering from anxiety and panic attacks for over 10 months and gradually getting worse I decided to get the package, I found that by sticking to the program to the letter within 2 days I felt much better almost normal life. my main time for panic attacks were at the supermarket and at work but by following panic away program and within 2 days I go everywhere with free mind without panic. http://www.goodbyepanicattacks.net/
Thank you so much for your story. I am the exact same way. Actually panicking now. Shaking uncontrollably, racing heart, sweaty, clammy hands. I hate this so much and strangely it’s comforting to hear that other ppl go through this as well. I’ve been relying a lot on benadryl to keep me calm at night so I can fall asleep. Works most of the time. Just not tonight. I mean, I’m tired as all get out, but I just can’t sleep.
I used to feel like that alot, but I’m controlling it much better these days. My friend Mary showed me this panic away site and it really helped, and is still helping me to this day.