A journey back in time...
IT’S A BRIGHT AND SUNNY SPRING MORNING as one of your caveman ancestors strolls merrily through some ancient forest. He hears a rustling in the bushes but thinks nothing of it. “It’s probably only the wind”, he reassures himself, and ambles on his way.
All of a sudden, with a roar like thunder, out leaps a hungry sabre-toothed tiger; all gnashing teeth and razor sharp claws! Ugg flees for his life; his heart pounding in his chest, pumping much needed oxygen round his body to those muscles that have been supercharged with adrenalin.
All nonessential bodily functions such as the immune system and the digestive system are temporarily disabled in an attempt to give that extra bit of processing power to his brain. All excess weight is shed to lighten the load and assist an even speedier retreat. And no, I’m not elaborating on that point! Anything to give Ugg his best chance of survival.
Senses are heightened with sounds sounding louder, colours looking brighter, and everything around him appearing larger than life. It helps to see everything in such clear detail when life depends on it.
Ugg senses the cave up ahead – he explored it once before. He knows he can just squeeze inside, and he knows that Tiger cannot. Can he make it? His awareness narrows to a laser beam’s sharpness, focused singularly on that cave.
Conscious thinking and clever reasoning take time. Ugg doesn’t have time. And conscious thinking can be distracting too. Ugg doesn’t need to be thinking about what to have for dinner, or the argument he had with Mrs Ugg that morning. So conscious thinking and awareness have now been shut down too. Nothing else matters; in fact nothing else exists. It’s as if he isn’t really there anymore. Ugg is functioning on autopilot, on optimal efficiency – the ’fight or flight’ response.
Several months later...
Ugg made it...
It’s a lovely summer’s afternoon as he finds himself strolling through a completely different forest. The sun beats down and a cool breeze blows through the tall tree tops. As it does so, it rustles the leaves on some nearby bushes.
Ugg’s heart pounds in his chest, his muscles tense and his body flooded with adrenalin. All nonessential bodily functions are disabled, all excess weight is shed, senses are heightened, conscious thinking and reasoning are shut down, and Ugg flees for his life.
He doesn’t know why he running, he doesn’t even know what he’s running from; he just ‘knows’ that he has to get out of there.
But it’s only the wind blowing through the tall trees...
What do you want to do now
What they are, why they happen, what to do about them.
Drawing on her own personal experiences, Christine Ingham provides many useful insights into the terror and misery of panic attacks, offering reassurance and help for a positive way forward.
As well as explaining the nature of panic attacks and their different causes, sensible guidance is offered on what you can do (and think) when having an attack, and steps you can take to avoid a recurrence. The clear explanation of the often indescribable conditions of ‘depersonalisation’ and ‘derealisation’ is reassuring.
A useful section for friends and families explains what’s happening and how to help the person deal with it. This makes ‘Panic Attacks’ a useful tool for panic attack sufferers themselves, for family members or friends, and for anyone in any sort of caring capacity who wishes to be more effective in understanding the condition.