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"Great book. I use it all the time.  It has many great exercises and suggestions to reduce anxiety.  I recommend to anyone battling mental health issues to do with anxiety."
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Fear of Anxiety and Panic Attacks

 

Fear of Anxiety and Panic Attacks

 

The feeling to run away

running scaredPanic is the most extreme form of anxiety.  It’s the point when you feel the most extreme frightening things will happen to you.  This leads to the sensation of wanting to run or escape.  This reaction of panic is often called ‘panic attacks’ and can be a phobia in itself.

As I have discussed before panic attacks produce an array of physical symptoms as well as a huge chemical reaction takes places within the body.  After we have a panic attack if often leads us with an ‘adrenalin hangover’.  I have experienced these thousands of times and although I was always happy the attack was over and I had ‘escaped’ from the situation, it always left me with unpleasant sensations.  (For example feeling drained, weak, sick, dizzy, tired, etc.) 

All the sensations are made worse because we don’t burn off the anxious energy we produce, i.e. run or fight for our survival.   A panic attack is very frightening and not surprisingly we have a desire not to want another. 

Some people seem to get panic attacks ‘out of the blue’, whilst other people will see a pattern emerge and will find certain things trigger panic attacks. 

This may be –

  • Social event (Social Anxiety)
  • Worries over you health (General Anxiety Disorder GAD)
  • Walking around a busy shopping centre (agoraphobia)
 

Above are all classic ‘triggers’ because they start a panic attack.  This whole process follows a classic path.  The person enters a situation where they may feel anticipatory anxiety, in other words they have been worrying about entering the situation.  Once they enter the situation and start to feel rising anxiety, they often tell themselves that if they stay any longer they will have a panic attack.  The anxiety then rises or drops according to the perceived level of fear, or if the sufferer stays in the situation or leaves. 

This is one of the reasons why phobias develop so quickly. The onset of anxious feelings causes the sufferer to retreat from the situation very quickly in case they  have a full blown panic attack.  This makes the person even more sensitized to a situation, until eventually they find it completely impossible to stay in any situation which is associated with the fear.  Therefore we can see why someone who has a fear of crowds, eventually after sensitizing themselves to any public area, cannot leave their own homes.

Summary So Far

Fear of having a panic attack makes us avoid anything that can raise our anxiety levels.  These circumstances create phobias and explain why phobias are referred to ‘fear of fear itself’.

HOW FEAR OF FEAR WORKS

It makes great sense to write down the situations that cause you panic attacks because then you can plan how you are going to tackle them.  It is SO DIFFICULT to try and overcome anxiety without putting the work in before.  The problem being is when we panic, the logical side of our brain shuts down and all we want to do is escape. 

So please write down the areas which cause you to panic.  For me they were

- Driving on motorways

- Social situations,

- Exercising,

- Busy places,

Etc.

Once you have written down all you can think of, this will allow you to plan your goals and self exposure steps.  If you have agoraphobia you are not going to be able to go to Wembley to see a band with fifty thousand other people as part of your first week exposure program.  This would by unrealistic.

More importantly you need to be able strip panic down to its basic level to see what is actually frightening you.  This is going to make it much easier

-      For you to deal with your fears

-      Not to be caught out when your fears happen unexpectedly

Can a panic attack hurt you?

The most common fear in my experience is the fear of having a heart attack, fear of not being able to escape or the fear of dying.  However what underlines all these fears is usually the fear of having a panic attack itself.  This fear or thought usually occurs at the start of a panic attack and this gives the fear its power. 

This is the most important bit – NOBODY HAS EVER DIED OF A PANIC ATTACK.  Your body is actually trying to save you rather than kill you.  It’s sending all this adrenaline around your system to help you to run or fight.  So with all this adrenaline your heart is not going to stop.  However because we are not fighting or running away, the adrenaline has nowhere to go.  That’s why we tremble, sweat, breathe fast and have heart palpitations.  

The feeling of dying is your mind playing tricks on you to try and protect you.  It’s trying to fool you into believing that where you are is unsafe, and you need to remove yourself from the situation.     

It can be really difficult to think of the exact thoughts which are running through your mind when you’re having a panic attack, so it’s important to have a piece of paper with you and write down exactly what you’re thinking when you panic.  Although you may think you know what you’re thinking, the actual terror thoughts might actually be something you’re not aware of.

The panic reaction is a defence mechanism against a really dangerous situation such as being attacked in some way. When we develop all these phobias there isn’t actually any threat at all, but it feels exactly the same as if we were being attacked – TOTAL FEAR.     

This whole process makes the sufferer feel so scared inside that they often feel like they’re going to explode with fear.  There is this overwhelming feeling that fear is going to consume them and that something awful is going to happen (of course it never does).  This impending doom can lead to the person feeling they have all sorts of things wrong with them –

Multiple sclerosis

Heart attack

Stroke

Brain haemorrhage

Brain tumour

Heart condition

Going crazy

Cancer

Panic Attack Fear of Death or Dying

It’s a fact that everybody has to die sometimes.  On average around 2000 people day every day in the UK with around 200,000 die in the world as a whole.  You can die anywhere – on the lavatory, watching TV, singing in the shower, walking the dog.  Statistically you are much more likely to die in your sleep but it’s not impossible that you would die during a panic attack.  The point being that it would be only coincidence.  If you want to know the biggest killer, its smoking.  More people die off smoking related diseases than anything else!

So acknowledge this fact and believe it

NOBODY HAS EVER DIED OF A PANIC ATTACK

A PANIC ATTACK WILL NOT KILL YOU, IT ONLY MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR DYING. 

 

Can panic attacks make you go mad or lose control?

Death is not the only fear that we can experience during a panic attack.  Many people believe they will lose control in some dreadful way.  This could be

-      Doing something to embarrass themselves

-      Going crazy

-      Running around hurting people

-      Urinating or being sick

How to Overcome fear and Anxiety

These fears are totally unjustified and panic attack sufferers simple don’t do these things.  A classic irrational thought is someone who has a panic attack on the motorway thinks they will go crazy and wipe out the other drivers.  This does not happen because the body is actually trying to protect your wellbeing, so it’s not going to push you into a situation where you will hurt yourself.

Panicky, anxious or obsessive feelings are felt by people with panic attacks but that’s as far as it goes.  It makes you feel strange but it’s just a tired over stimulated body that’s out of balance.  NOBODY has ever gone crazy as a result of anxiety and panic.  Panic attacks sufferers are as sane as the next person in the street.  Panic attacks are just bad habits and not even a mental illness.  They are far less serious than you think and do no long term damage to your body.

If you want to know more I suggest you join my panic atatck treatment program.

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Why do people suffer from Panic attacks? Triggers of Panic attacks, anxiety, cycle of fear, out of the blue panic attacks, pregnancy panic attacks, drugs, premenstrual, diet, nervous system

The Anxiety Nervous System - Why our nervous system can sometimes be faulty

Diet For Anxiety Anti Anxiety Diet, Which Foods cause Panic Attacks

Glossary of terms for anxiety & Panic Attacks

 

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