Standing in a supermarket queue, it’s been a long wait but only one customer to go before you make it to the cashier. Wait, what was that sensation? An unpleasant feeling forms in your throat, your chest feels tighter, now a sudden shortness of breath, and what do you know- your heart skips a beat. “Please, God, not here.”
A quick scan of the territory - is it threatening? Four unfriendly faces queue behind, one person in front. Pins and needles seem to prick you through your left arm, you feel slightly dizzy, and then the explosion of fear as you dread the worst. You are about to have a panic attack.
You begin to panic even more, as you wonder if this is the big episode that will take you to your knees gasping for breath. Stop right there and begin to focus on the procedures you have learned concerning coping techniques. As your physician has recommended, begin your deep breathing exercises. In through the nose, out through the mouth.
Slowly now, remembering to think relaxing thoughts and again, while inhaling, tell yourself to relax then exhale. However, it seems that you may be feeling very self-conscious of concentrating on breathing and even more stressed than before.
Then you should move on to coping technique two, which is the gradual relaxation of your muscles. Begin by tensing your shoulders and holding for ten seconds and then release, try this again. However, you still find no comfort or relief. The idea of running out of coping techniques worsens the feeling of dread you now hold. You panic as you wish for an understanding friend to be close to your, as you feel you can make it through this attack if you were not alone.
A dreaded feeling of losing complete control engulfs your emotions as your body begins to tingle with an uncomfortable sensation as your adrenaline is reacting as it pumps through your body. No one around has any idea of the terror you are experiencing. It is just another day in an annoyingly long service line, awaiting their turn.
You are out of options. Time for Plan C. The most basic coping skill of all is “fleeing.” Excuse yourself from the queue; you are slightly embarrassed as it is now that it is your turn to pay. The cashier is looking bewildered as you leave your shopping behind and stroll towards the door. There is no time for excuses - you need to be alone. You leave the supermarket and get into your car to ride it out alone. Could this be the big one? The one you fear will push you over the edge mentally and physically. Ten minutes later the panic subsides. It’s still only 10:30 a.m. How are you going to make it through the rest of the day?
If you suffer from panic or anxiety attacks, the above scenario probably sounds very familiar. It may have even induced feelings of anxiety and panic just reading it. The particular situations that trigger your panic and anxiety may differ; maybe the bodily sensations are a little different. Or maybe it happened to you for the first time on a plane, in the dentist chair, or even at home, while doing nothing in particular.
Nevertheless, you should take comfort in knowing that you are not the only one who suffers from panic attacks. An acute sense of impending doom often accompanies a panic attack. You experience a fear of either collapsing in the middle of the check out line, or that you are about to lose your mind in public.
You are by no means alone; you’re not even one in a million. In America, it is estimated that almost 5% of the population suffer from some form of anxiety disorder. For some, it may be the infrequent panic attacks that only crop up in particular situations-like when having to speak in front of others, while, for other people, it can be so frequent and recurring that it inhibits them from leaving their home. Frequent panic attacks often develop into what medical physicians refer to as an “anxiety disorder.”
However, not all is lost, as the beginning of your road to recovery starts right here. Here you will learn that there is a good chance that you are about to learn something that will end your cycle of panic attacks. Not only will you learn to gain new confidence in life, but also you will be able to regain your lifestyle. Here you will find an answer to living panic or anxiety attack free.
First you must realize that key to avoiding panic attacks is to want to have one as this will naturally push it away from you. For example, give it a try right this minute. Are you able to have a panic attack? No. The reason is that what ever you choose to refuse to go along with will refuse to go away. This fact also includes the feeling of fear. That is to say that if you resist a fearful situation, that fear will continue. The way you stop an anxiety attack is to embrace it as you move directly in its path, doing so will discourage the attack.
In essence what this means is that if you daily voluntarily seek to have a panic attack, you cannot have one. Try in this very moment to have a panic attack and I will guarantee you cannot. You may not realize it but you have always decided to panic. You make the choice by saying this is beyond my control.
The good news is, in all reality you cannot be harmed by a panic attack. Even though your heart is racing, you will not be harmed. You are perfectly safe and you can control your emotions.