Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
We all know people who live in a constant state of panic and fear. It’s not a good way to live.
So much of my practice is comprised of people who experience terrible anxiety (a nicer word for fear) and who have panic attacks. If you’ve never experienced a panic attack, count your blessings and go on enjoying life.
If, however, you are quite familiar with the horrible, gut-wrenching, sweating, speeding heart, sense of impending doom that is a panic attack, I am sorry for you. It’s real, not imagined. The roots of a panic attack, though are usually in our minds. Of course panic and anxiety are features of PTSD, when what goes on in one’s mind is the result of something that was actually seen/experienced, such as the terrorist attack in New York on 9/11.
Be assured that, as far as I know, no one has ever died of a panic attack. You may feel that you’re dying; you may even wish you could, just to escape the attack. I don’t blame you. A panic attack is a terrible thing.
So what can you do? Well, first of all, try to stop the negative thoughts that are filling your head. They probably are lies. Choose instead to grab a truth that will counter-attack the lies, and set your mind on that truth.
While you’re doing that, take some slow, deep breaths in through your nose; expel the breath slowly through pursed lips. Deep breathing will re-oxygenate your blood and help you refocus on truth.
You need to have a store of truth to grab when an attack starts. For me, scripture is my go-to. I’ve never had a panic attack, but my mind is perfectly capable of spiraling downward into doom-and-gloom thinking. It pretty much ruins my day when that happens and I don’t get control of it. So I pull up a couple of my favorite passages, kick out the negative thinking, and focus on God’s words instead.
Psalm 13; Psalm 119:165; Philippians 4:4-9; Jeremiah 29:11; Deuteronomy 33:27, Psalm 23; Isaiah 43:1-6. And this is just the beginning. While you are focused on such verses, I guarantee that your panic attack will fade.
FDR famously said that all we have to fear is fear itself. Don’t be afraid of your fear. Fear/anxiety are bullies. Stand up to them. Bullies are usually cowards.