Panic attacks can be a terrible thing for anybody, but the fear surrounding them can be even worse. The fear that one might strike at any time, when you least expect it, can prevent people from doing what they enjoy most.
We already know that excessive stress could trigger another attack, yet they always appear to be random. After your first experience, your body stays in a state of high alert, and you feel that the chances of it happening again are even greater.
It is however important to remember, that the circumstances surrounding your first panic attack, often have a large impact on your anxiety level. For instance, you could have been on the train at the time, with the feeling that you can’t escape, or worse on a long haul flight where you can’t just stop the plane and get off. The next time you find yourself in the same situation, your fear is at its greatest.
Panic Attack Facts
Once you remove yourself from the associated place of fear, you will notice your anxiety levels drop and the fear of another panic attack will slowly dissolve. If the situation surrounding your fear is let’s say your daily bus journey to work, then this then becomes a daily problem, which ends up with you avoiding taking the bus in the first place.
This is a typical cycle that we all enter when we are dealing with anxiety. We create in our minds, a connection between the first attack and the fear of subsequent attacks, even though they have nothing to do with your anxiety. And it is this link that you associate with the fear. The more you avoid situations, the worse the anxiety gets. Soon you have a whole list of things you won’t do and places you won’t go.
So how do you start to break this cycle? First of all, you need to understand the facts surrounding your anxiety and panic attacks. Although this is hard to comprehend when you feel really anxious, they do hold some comfort.
Here are the facts:
- Panic attacks CANNOT kill you
- Panic attacks CANNOT cause heart attacks
- Panic attacks CANNOT stop you breathing
- Panic attack CANNOT make you faint
- Panic attack CANNOT cause you any harm
This is really hard to believe at first, but it is true. Panic attacks are basically your body reacting with your ‘fight or flight’ response. This is the mechanism used when man was surrounded by wild animals, and needed a way to protect himself. Unfortunately, your body has reacted to a false alarm, which has set in place a trigger in your mind. And it is this false alarm that needs to be reset.
The first step to overcoming anxiety is to accept the fact that you are not in any danger when you are having a panic attack. This is a medical fact, despite how scary it feels at the time. Accept this, and you’ve made the first step to recovery.