Panic attacks may never be a pleasant experience especially while they're happening. However, how we deal with their aftermath and what we choose to learn from them, has the potential to bring us closer to ourselves and awaken a powerful side of ours.
Note: This article contains purely my own, personal perspective on the subject of panic attacks and does not express a general fact that is true for all. I've dealt with my panic attacks through psychotherapy together with my therapist, and so I would encourage anyone experiencing something similar to reach out to a mental health expert.
If you've clicked on this article, you have, most likely, at some point in your life been confronted with a panic attack or a similar experience. To clarify something first, according to DSM V, a panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. 1, 2
Such intense experiences helped me learn some things, I'd like to share with you here, now.
First and foremost for me comes the acknowledgement that nothing bad can really happen. I won't die and I can't lose my mind! I recognise it's just a crisis, that will have its cycle and within 10 to 20 minutes it will pass.
I begin by gently moving my body. Stretching my arms out to the side, i start rolling my head. If I can stand up, I move slowly, raising my arms, reaching towards the sky. Fresh air always helps. So I focus on my breath and begin trying to control it, gently and with no force. Taking deep inhales, releasing deep exhales.
If there's something the terrifies me at that moment I want to eliminate it and bring space into my mind. Moving my attention away from the fear, I reach towards my "safe place", that's what I called it since I was a child. Everyone might have their own "safe place". It might be from a place you visited that you liked a lot, it might be a moment with people you love, a memory of your holidays or your favourite beach. When I manage to reach my "sanctuary", I know this situation is coming to an end soon, which helps me relax even more.
What I've learned today from such unwanted experiences is that maybe they've done me more good than harm. Obviously, during a crisis I never thought of them as helpful or positive. Now though, I realise, I know my self better than ever before. I feel I have more control over my mind than it having control over me. I accept and don't blame my self anymore. And when I removed the blame, I began recognising a crisis before its arrival.
Learning more about oneself, about the segments of our being; being able to embrace it all, to accept it and learn to handle it with care brought me great relief. Knowing what might cause an unwanted situation - and now able to act upon it - you can choose to avoid it, to take a step back. Not to dive into the storm and leave yourself struggling, even though you might have to fight to reach the surface and take a breath. I do promise you though, that when you reach the top, when you catch a breath, you'll know! You'll have come closer to yourself, closer to your light and closer to your darkness. And I promise you that it is truly liberating.
There's great power in knowing who you are, in the ability to consciously choose what's best for you. Great power in having people next to you who love you and help you be better. People who stand next to you with no judgment, who listen, who care. There's great power in walking away from situations that don't flatter the heart. Your mind knows all this, your heart has felt it, I know it. Our hearts, our inner selves, our instinct, know all this. This is why, when you listen to your heart, the outcome of your actions can never be something other than what you, at every moment, truly desire. Because that's all there is, moments. All there is, is Now. That's all we have!
Love & Joy,