Really? Is that even possible? Eliminate panic attacks for good? Well I did! And if I can, so can you. Read on and see how I did it.
For 20 years I suffered from panic attacks. It started at 18 and my life was debilitated because of it. Well, as debilitated as I would let it. I was determined not to let it ruin my life. I would scour the forums trying to learn how to stop them, and I still made myself do all the things I wanted to do - even if the fear of having a panic attack was lurking.
The number of times I had panic attacks on planes, buses, in cars, in nightclubs, in restaurants, in strange places. Friends would be completely at a loss as to what to do. And in fact, if you were like me, there were no real signs on the outside (other than what they might term neurotic behaviour) - maybe people would see my hands closing up due to the lack of oxygen but that was about it.
Still, I would feel it, boy would I feel it! The racing heart, the numbness in my face, the fast breathing - thinking I couldn't breathe (but of course I always could), the paper bag routine, the gripping fear, the pacing up and down, the racing mind - you know the score. I began to wonder if I would ever eliminate panic attacks from my life.
I held down a responsible job right the way through all this, and I lived abroad - twice. I lost count, however, of the number of times all I felt like doing was curling up in a ball. People wondered what on earth was wrong with me. Someone even once said they thought I needed to see a Psychiatrist!
They just didn't understand it in those days. And they don't
understand it much better now. Only people that have been through it
can ever, ever understand what it feels like. And the shame that can go
For sure, there is some help nowadays. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy being one of the best. Yet when I first started getting panic attacks, all they offered me were tranquilisers (which I flatly refused, thanks to a switched-on mother).
I won't be surprised if you have researched how to eliminate panic attacks until your fingers are dropping off from typing in Google Searches! (I certainly did) so some of this may not be new to you. But for the benefit of those who haven't done so much research on how to eliminate panic attacks, I will explain.
A panic attack is actually the last piece of the puzzle. The process starts with anxious thoughts that culminate in catastrophic thinking, thinking the very worst outcome of something. For instance, maybe we have a lump on our leg and we worry that it is a blood clot. Are we in danger? Should we go to emergency? etc. etc.
Interestingly enough, although this may seem hard to believe, most people go through exactly the same pattern of thoughts as people with panic attacks do. The only difference is that those that don't get panic attacks are able to rationalise before a panic attack sets in.
What is really going on is that our catastrophic thinking puts all our feelings into mega drive, overloading the system, and so we aren't able to think rationally anymore.
People who experience panic attacks can become masters at feeling their bodily feelings, and 'watching for danger' and often can end up in the emergency room scared witless.
Once our feelings are in mega drive, however, we are only two shakes of a tail away from a full blown panic attack.
You see the real issue is not the catastrophic thinking (that can happen to anyone), it's the fact that our feelings have gone into mega drive. And the reason our feelings go into mega drive is because we actually start fighting the feelings.
We unwittingly set ourselves up for it because all we can think about is 'I MUST control these feelings, I MUST control these feelings'. We hate feeling out of control, not being able to nip it in the bud, and we try so hard to 'pull ourselves together' - heaven knows how many times I told myself that.
So all we are doing is fighting! And what does fighting our feelings do? It causes more and more tension in the body. It gets so intense that we are on total tenterhooks - total mega drive!
This mega tension signals to your subconscious mind that the body is in some
kind of danger, and so it dutifully and extremely effectively starts protecting
you. It starts saying 'hmmmm I sense danger, let's pull in all our resources and put the
whole body on total alert ready to fight or flight'.
And because we aren't using this excess energy resource to fight anyone, or to run away, it has nowhere to go. And it has to go somewhere.
In comes a panic attack. And then out comes the paperbag blah blah blah blah.
So what's the answer to eliminate panic attacks?
Well, this is going to surprise you, but I am going to tell you to do the exact opposite of what you have probably always! done.
Let go........................................... Stop trying to control the feelings, allow them to be there, actually feel them, welcome them, don't fight them, don't keep telling yourself I shouldn't feel like this, like that, forcing yourself to stop feeling the feelings. Let them in. You will know if you are still fighting them as you will feel the tension.
I promise you the minute you allow that to
happen, just once, just once, the feeling of relief is immense!!! The
tension just subsides, goes away, and the fear lessens.
Once we take our finger off the alert button - let go - things start to reset.
And then you have this knowing, deep down, 'oh my word that's the answer!' You'll start thinking how on earth did I never realise this before? Well honestly, how could you?
I know it sounds so simple, and maybe you fear the simplicity of it. But I assure you, all
you need to do is to let go of trying to control your feelings and welcome them. Truly
really let go, don't fight the feelings. That's it.
Keep doing it, every single time you have a panic attack, or feel it coming on (the spiralling thoughts etc.), just remember
LET GO.................. DON'T FIGHT THE FEELINGS.
Again, you will know if you are still fighting them as you will feel the tension. The more you do it, the more your panic attacks will subside. This puts you in a less catastrophic mood, and your mind is then able to start thinking rationally.
You can then naturally calm yourself down and recognise whether or not you really are truly in danger.
I know, I know. That can't possibly be all there is to it. Well, it is. This is how you eliminate panic attacks for good. Try it and you will see. You will be amazed at the effectiveness of this. The first time I did it, I ended up in tears with the simplicity of it, and then the dawning of the fact that I'd been fighting all these years and all I really needed to do was to let go. There was still a journey in front of me to keep practicing it but the more I did this the easier it got.
I never get panic attacks anymore. Haven't had for many years now. Even if a whiff of those feelings come my way (and I can't remember the last time), I just let go. And the feelings totally subside.
Just keep practising and you will eliminate panic attacks.
If you are on medication, however, that's something you need to
your doctor about. There are plenty of stories of people
that stop taking their medication and their situation
exacerbates, so please, don't just stop taking any medication. Arrange
the transition with your doctor.
So what do you need to do the next time you feel a panic attack coming on, or even if you are in a full blown one?
Here's the link to the book that finally taught me what I needed to know to eliminate panic attacks. Click on the image to go to the website.
It is an absolute pleasure to help spread the word on how to eliminate panic attacks.
I owe so much to Paul and this book. I got my life back in a way I never had before, and since then I have literally gone from strength to strength to strength to strength to strength.