You Made Me Jump

24 November 2017

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...

BOO !!

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.

Five senses

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?

Sixth sense

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.


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Pass Through Panic CD

Pass Through Panic
by
Dr Claire Weekes

Free yourself from anxiety and fear.

In this eight-part radio series originally broadcast in 1967, Dr Claire Weekes – bestselling author of Self Help for Your Nerves – speaks intimately and compassionately about how to overcome panic disorders, anxiety, phobias, agoraphobia, and depression. She coaches you on how to ‘pass through panic’ to reach a place of strength and optimism.

Her revolutionary approach is remarkably simple and effective, and continues to be recommended by medical and psychological communities throughout the world.

Original radio broadcast: 2 hours on 2 CDs.

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