The last thing panic sufferers would like to hear is that they are actually creating their own Panic Attacks. When I first came across the suggestion, I thought it was ludicrous. “Why on earth would I want to create my own attack?” But as I was studying the nature of anxiety and panic attacks, during my recovery, the sobering — somewhat bitter — truth was starring me right in my face. Unpleasant as it may be to acknowledge, it is a fact; we do create our own attacks.
The purpose of this article is to help you dissect the progression of a panic attack from inception to a full blown attack so you, too, can become aware of the role that you play in the creation of your own attacks and seek the proper treatment.
Panic attacks manifest as a result of our distorted thinking, even though to us they may seem to appear out of nowhere.
When we understand how panic attacks are born it becomes clear that the attack itself is actually a normal emotional response to a barrage of physical symptoms, caused by anxiety. And although those bodily sensations are never dangerous, it is our belief and conviction to the contrary that hasten and bring about the attacks.
The Problem Is In Your Perception and Interpretation. After his first attack in a supermarket Joe had developed an acute fear of going to shop at that store. One morning, before leaving the house, his wife hands him a shopping list and asks him to make sure he takes care of it before she returns.
The thought that he has to revisit that supermarket runs shivers through his spine. He is getting anxious, but he decides to dare it anyway. The supermarket is just down the block, but before he even arrives he begins to feel his heart racing. He gets scared and tells himself “I am going to have a heart attack.”
He experiences lightheadedness and the first thought that crosses his mind is: “I am going to faint.”
His anxiety intensifies, producing even more physical sensations. Thoughts of doom and gloom rush through his mind: “I will lose control and do something crazy. I will faint before I make it home,” he tells himself >>> Panic!
What went wrong? Why did he panic?
The answer is simple: Joe misinterpreted his bodily sensations; he really believed his life was in peril.
Anxiety produces different bodily symptoms, all of which are associated with the fight and flight response, like:
• Racing heart • Feeling weak, faint or light headed • Tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers • Sweaty or having chills • Chest pains • Breathing difficulties and others
None of these symptoms is ever dangerous; Panic sufferers never get heart attacks, faint, lose control, suffocate, or go crazy as a result of a panic attack. Never, and it is scientifically proven!
So What to Do?
Consider the following example:
You are anxious and feel lightheaded. Your thinking is that you are going to faint. However, in order for you to faint your blood must drop suddenly. But anxiety causes your blood pressure to rise, making fainting almost impossible.
A good place to begin is to recall all the horrible thoughts you have had of all the catastrophic things you told yourself were going to happen to you when you were experiencing high anxiety. Had any one of them ever manifested? You have never fainted, lost control, had a heart attack or suffocated as a result of any of your attacks. And… you are still sane.
Recovery is possible only when you realize and are able to believe on a deeper level that the physical symptoms are produced by your anxiety and that they are not going to harm you no matter what. When such a conviction is established you no longer fear the symptoms and once your fear is gone so do the attacks.
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