THE SUMMER SUN SHINES BRIGHTLY as you stroll down the street; your mind a million miles away, engaged in some pleasant daydream. You fail to notice me walking along silently behind you, and I get quietly closer...
and nearer... and closer...
and all of a sudden...
I’m nasty like that, sorry!
Was it a panic attack
So what just happened exactly? You experienced a panic attack.
Phrases like; “You made me jump!” or; “You frightened the life out of me!” (and a few others best left unprintable!) spring readily to mind. They’re rather apt, and I wonder... could those same phrases aptly describe what a panic attack feels like too?
In that instant your heart pounded, your muscles tensed, you shook, you were confused and disoriented, you were frozen with fear – for that split second you experienced all the symptoms of a panic attack.
But recognising it was only me, and I am really quite harmless, you quickly realised there was no imminent danger and those intense feelings subsided as rapidly as they manifested themselves. If on the other hand the situation did pose a threat, your body would now be primed ready to take action – probably fleeing, occasionally fighting. Again, the situation would be short lived and your body, having dealt with the threat, would quickly revert back to its earlier state of relative calm.
This is how it should be – a rapid response to a real ‘potential’ threat. A threat perceived through one or more of the five senses – sight, sound, touch, taste, or smell. But what happens when that threat is not real? What happens when that threat is imagined? When it’s all in the mind?
Have you ever heard the term ‘sixth sense’? I’m sure you have, but what exactly is it? Well, it’s an additional sense above and beyond the traditional five. It’s your sense of ‘intuition’, your ‘gut instinct’. A sort of early warning system telling you that something doesn’t ‘feel’ quite right, and it’s based upon past experiences stored deeply in your subconscious mind. It can provide valuable seconds in the case of a real threat, but to be effective it needs to be validated by the other five senses.
The problem begins when a person starts treating that instinctive feeling as fact without seeking confirmation; misusing their imagination and making it real. When imagining something vividly enough, your mind cannot tell the difference between that and the real thing. It responds as if the situation were actually happening to you. But unlike a real threat that is very soon over, the mind can keep those thoughts going indefinitely.
So you see, a panic attack isn’t anything special. It isn’t an affliction that only some people suffer. It’s something each and every human being has experienced many many times. It’s a natural reaction to a sudden unexpected situation.
It’s a part of being human.
What do you want to do now
I used to have an open mind but my brains kept falling out!
for Your Nerves
Dr Claire Weekes
Recover from nervous fatigue; overcome stress and fear.
This latest edition brings together in one volume; ‘More Help for Your Nerves’ and ‘Peace from Nervous Suffering’. Together they forge an understanding of nervous illness and create a recovery programme that inspires confidence and happiness.
In her personal one-to-one style, Dr Claire Weekes talks you through conditions such as:
- Panic attacks
Her step by step methods teach you how to regain control, and how to cope with feelings of fear and dread. She also helps you thoroughly understand the many physical symptoms of anxiety attacks and panic attacks, and this is very reassuring.