Sitting next to my husband on the couch after work watching our favorite comedy I suddenly felt fear run through my body. Anxious, my thoughts left the show and changed to something totally unexpected. “Impending doom” (WebMD) describes the fear and sense of lost control. My mind ran scenarios of a feared potential future event as my heart raced. Waves of pain accompanied the fear. Sound familiar? This is a panic attack.
Panic attacks began for me as a teenager and continued to grow worse throughout my adult life. One day I decided enough was enough. I changed my reaction to the attacks. Instead of fearing and worrying about real or potential difficult situations, I tackled the fears head-on. Today I seldom experience a panic attack and when I do, I have control immediately.
Gaining control took thoughtful effort by refusing to allow the attack to continue and not giving into the intrusive fear. I logically went through the following process every single time I experienced a panic attack:
1 – Clearly identify the fear or concern – not always obvious in a panic attack.
2 – Determine the absolute worst scenario – my worst fear.
3 – Strategically develop a potential plan of action should the fear be real.
4 – Determine other possible scenarios.
5 – Plan for a best possible solution.
6 – Accept that tomorrow is a new day and no matter what the challenge, a solution is possible.
These pep talks ticked through my head like clock work for months. At first I had to think through my developed steps. In no time I had them mastered and sped through the process, ending attacks promptly. The attacks became fewer and farther apart until one day I realized I wasn’t having them anymore.
Read more on this subject at “Anxiety & Panic Disorders Health Center” by WebMD – http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/panic-attack-symptoms. Image from www.ruwhim.com.