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Panic Attacks Can Seem To Rule Your Life

Updated on January 8, 2011

A Good Day Gone Bad With Another Panic Attack

Stress, worry, and pressure are a part of everyday life.
When these become too much to push back, and we don't deal with them, our mind has to find some way for release, and for some, this release comes in the form of a "panic attack" or "anxiety attack".

This enormous feeling of doom, along with it's very real physical symptoms can seemingly come out of nowhere and turn a good day to one of sheer desperation. Often times, when a person has their first panic attack, they aren't sure what is going on and it can be so frightening that they may find themselves in an emergency room, only to be told there is nothing wrong with them and they most likely had a panic attack . . . now what?

A huge frustration of those experiencing these attacks are that the people around you who haven't experienced the awful experience have absolutely no idea what you are going through. They try to be understanding, but don't really have a clue as to the severity of the fear and the physical sensations that go them.

After having one or more panic attacks, many start on the long road of trying to figure out how to deal with them, and how to get on with daily life with this monster peeking over your shoulder. The fear of having another panic attack is perhaps the worst part of it all.

No Easy Answer For Anxiety and Panic

Not to lessen anyone's hope for a cure, but there is no easy answer to rid yourself of these attacks. There is hope in that many, including myself have learned to lesson the frequency and intensity of them, even to the point of not having them for years but, it seems that the fear of one is always on the edge of your thoughts.

Just knowing that you aren't alone can help a bit. This is a condition that is shared with more people in society than you could ever imagine. Perhaps, it is a sign of our times, or it could be that they have been around as long as human beings have been, and no one had put a label to it.

Some turn to medications as recommended by physicians who have no other answer. While these can work with serotonin levels to keep the brain from progressing toward a full blown attack, they are most often very addictive and dangerous to wean off of without a doctors careful observation. While I would never condemn anyone from using medications to help them deal with their attacks so they can move through daily life; I do feel they are a band-aid and you will never be able to be without them unless you deal with the deeper issues around your anxiety. This is a debilitating disorder and can't be ignored, or you will spend a good portion of your life letting it rule you through medications that can be dangerous to your health mentally and physically, and through limiting the activities you would otherwise enjoy without the disorder.

When you stop and think about it, the main fear of panic attacks is the fear of having another one. Even saying the words or trying to tell someone what you experience when you have had one in the past is enough to trigger an attack. When gone unchecked, and allowed to progress, almost anything can trigger an attack - even driving on a particular road because you had an attack on that road at one time. When having an attack, you often feel as though your throat is closing up, so if you have had anxiety when eating a carrot and you felt like you might choke, you may steer away from carrots from then on. Associations with even the tiniest amount of anxiety will slowly close your world to a small space, and this is how some end becoming Agoraphobic (the fear of leaving their home).

Why one person can handle a situation with seemingly calmness and another might go into "fight or flight" mode is a testament to the complexity of our human mind. It is a complex dilemma and there is no easy answer. Cognitive therapy or restructuring which helps to change one's way of thinking helps people to replace those fearful thoughts with some that are more realistic and positive. A combination of cognirive and behavioral therapies may be suggested. Just truly understanding what panic disorder is and how others suffer with it as well, can be quite helpful.

A product Panic Away - End Anxiety and Panic Attacks has helped many with their disorder.

Non-Panic People Imagine This

One of the frustrations in dealing with panic attacks is that those around you can't even begin to imagine what you are going through.  You just know they are thinking "it's all in her mind", or "just think about something else".  We have to remember that they may never understand, but that, you aren't alone; there are others who know that what you are dealing with has real sensations and has real issues associated with them.  A person who truly has panic attacks does not want others to know what is going on, and yet just wishes someone could understand.

clear intense panic
accelerated heart rate
muscle tension
shortness of breath, sensation of smothering
chest pain or discomfort
chills or hot flashes
feeling of choking
fear of dying
blank mind
blurry vision
feeling you need to escape
tunnel vision
feelings of unreality
feeling detached from self
head pressure
numbness or tingling sensations
fear of losing control or going insane
nausea or abdominal distress

Some may feel several of these during one attack, or various ones on different days.  They can develop abruptly and might peak in about 10 minutes, lasting anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.  With therapy, you can curb the progression as soon as you feel an incident coming on and over time you will progressively gain ground on these attacks.

Work On Stress Relief

Relief from panic attacks is not going to happen overnight, but there are things you can do to help speed up the process. Everyday you deal with stress and worry, so everyday you should take measures to help your mind relieve some of that stress.

Do what you know you enjoy in the form of hobbies and outdoor activities. Often just getting moving will not only keep your mind busy, but will burn extra energy you have stored up. Yoga and group classes with Jazzercise or other types of exercise are wonderful for getting you out and keeping you moving. Just go to one and see that you can make it through, even if it is hard. Then class two and beyond get easier. It's okay to feel stressed, it's not okay to not try.

Prayer is a powerful tool. I can't tell you how many times I've sent up an SOS when in a situation I where I was feeling an attack creeping in. Wake with prayer and end your day with prayer. Whatever your religious association might be, it is there for you!

Don't lose hope! I know you've been told that panic and anxiety won't kill you; I also know how devastating it can be in your life. It CAN be overcome and you CAN learn how to deal with it. I'm thinking about you all who share this beastly disorder with me.

You are invited to visit my blog Panic Attacks in Your Life


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    • lindajot profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Willamette Valley - Oregon

      Thank you so much for the comments chspublish - one one hand you would never wish this disorder on anyone, then again, if they could only have one, they would REALLY understand.

      I get so frustrated when I go long stretches, even a year with near freedom from the attacks, then have them pop up with a vengence. I love to hear that you have some success with natural remedies, it give me encouragement to continue on my path. I've dealt with this my entire adult life - sigh. Thank you again for your words!

    • chspublish profile image


      7 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks for your article lindajot. I'm really glad when someone brings the suffering out into the open and describes it so clearly.

      As a longterm sufferer of PTSD the panic attacks I experience (due to two traumatic experiences) are exactly as you describe and the hard bit is trying to get others to understand and appreciate the suffering.

      Thankfully over the years, due to training in many areas of helping others I've learned to help myself and understand the nature of the disorder. And as you point out a lot of sympathy and empathy is needed by those who don't suffer this situation. I've gradually learnt how to 'treat' the disorder through diet, exercise and with good general living habits, which keep me on the straight and narrow - a good thing!

      In recent times, my chances of experiencing the panic has been considerably reduced. Among the treatments I've tried is hypnosis, which worked for a period of time, but then the effect diminished. I understand if I went further with regressive hypnosis things might move a bit more.

      As you so rightly point out, what a sufferer tries to avoid is another panic attack, so I'm very slow to go out there to the next treatment and try it. I will eventually get there and the journey is slow, but interesting as I learn about many different things.

      My outlook on fellow sufferers has changed and tmy empathy and understanding has increased for those with any kind of psychological or mental mental disorders.

      Thanks for the writing of it.

    • lindajot profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Willamette Valley - Oregon

      Much appreciated quuenie - I am an intellegent, educated woman who never thought she'd deal with such an issue. I have learned a new empathy for those with any kind of mental disorder, and the awful drugs used to control them.

    • quuenieproac profile image


      7 years ago from Malaysia

      Thanks for the information. Now I understand the symptoms more and I should have more empathy for the affected.


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