You have landed here because I assume, you are an anxiety sufferer.
Let me tell you my anxiety story. . .
You are desperately finding relief for your misery and restlessness you are feeling.
Im speaking my mind…
I battled life struggles for a long time.
It is difficult for me to explain my past condition, but you can understand it because you’ve also been a sufferer. Nearly every move in my daily life preceded by anxiety, thoughts of failure and feelings of the hell and death.Even I thought that it is difficult to express my feelings and distress to others.
I tried to be sane in every possible way but it always felt like some evil is chasing me, determined to drive me towards the worst.
There was a strange feeling with a sense of impending doom which crippled me.
That’s why I understand how you feel.
Now, these are the list of symptoms which are generally stated are in generic form.
What do I mean?
Palpitation, dread, fear, pins and needles, hot flushes and chills, trembling are experienced by normal people also. Nearly all experience these symptoms while climbing a hill or mountain (Trekking), going on stage for the first time, suffering an accident, witnessing a crime like murder, confronting dangerous wild animals and so on.
I don’t mean to say people experience them once or twice in a lifetime. They often experience such fears.
But what you experience is not the same.
If so, then what is actually experienced by people with panic disorder?
No doubt the symptoms listed above are the symptoms of Panic Disorder but each symptom is expressed in the most formal way. They are the terms which researchers and doctors use when they need to identify the symptoms or diagnose problems.
What you feel cannot be explained just with these words. (You completely understand what I mean)
Take a very obvious example
You might have experienced shivering and shaking in the cold winter days whenever you are outside without warm clothes or if you take a cold water shower on cold days. Now, if we see from the point of view of your body’s reaction. The shivering and shaking in pretty much similar in magnitude to the trembling in panic attacks.
But, there is a major difference on the mental level. In panic attacks, along with trembling and shaking, you have a very intense and unpleasant dread and fear. Such a feeling is not there in the shivering and shaking due to cold.
This is the reason only a few people can understand your condition. To understand what you are experiencing they need to experience panic attacks themselves. Experience is the best teacher.
These terms are used to decide on the clinical protocols while treating anxious conditions.
These are the medical terms and that’s why they are not understood by the common people. If you ask anybody what to do if you are facing such symptoms or fears the will probably tell you to relax, drink a cup of green tea or read a motivational book or simply forget the fears and be strong etc.
You might be getting annoyed with this. RIGHT?
What you feel and think in Panic Disorder?
This is it:
1.You are highly concerned with the pulse rate of your heart
You avoid all the situations which cause palpitations. The reason you give is that they can increase your pulse rate and trigger a heart attack!
You are pretty sure you have a blockage in the heart and have convinced yourself that this palpitation is due to that.
So you are avoiding a heart attack.
Your fear = Having a Heart Attack
2.You are overly concerned about fainting
You feel that you can pass out anytime anywhere. The dizziness and tingling sensations give you the surety for that.
You feel dizziness and tingling while you are walking on the road, or at home doing anything.You feel with utmost surety that you can fall on the ground and pass out anytime.
This symptom is called as dizziness but it is simply more than that.
You feel that energy is getting sucked out of your body. You feel tired and lethargic. This is not persistent but it comes in episodes. With that, you feel an imbalance in walking. It is like vertigo but, not actually. You can feel your arms and legs are less energetic and you feel an urgent need for rest or sleep.
You suspect that there can be a tumor in our brain which may be causing this thing. Then you cannot rule out this thing that you have a brain tumor.
You may also feel that this can cause you to have a seizure. The sensation and the feeling are so convincing that many people feel that they are about to have a seizure.
While walking or sitting erect you experience that you are leaning towards one side out of balance. It is a feeling like the muscles which keep you in posture is not working or they are getting slowly inactive.
Your fear = Fear of fainting
3. You feel tingling in many parts of the body
It is felt especially deep in the head and in the forehead above eyes. It is also felt in the arms and legs.
This tingling is a unique thing to you. It feels like having high-intensity micro-vibrations in the head like a small vibrator is placed inside the head.
When this sensation comes up with trembling, you feel like you are having a paralysis attack. You feel that your nerves are closing up their function and are paralyzing you.
4. You feel pressure and heaviness in head, chest, and abdomen
The pressure in the chest feels like the heart is exploding or a balloon is being blown up in the chest. You suspect that there are problems with the valves of the heart it is not pumping blood properly.
You recall that how did your neighbor or relative have a heart attack of nowhere. YOU find it difficult not to believe in this thing.
Similarly, you experience heaviness and pressure in the head. It feels like the head wants to blow up like a balloon.
5. Breathlessness. It is very uncomforting as it gives the sensation of suffocation
When panic strikes it is very common for you to feel that your lungs are working hard to get oxygen. They are generating long sighs and it is happening involuntarily. Despite breathing deep and fast you feel suffocation.
It hurts a lot in the chest and the upper abdomen just below the rib cage.
This is called hyperventilation and it is not suffocation at all. It is not dangerous.
6. Impending doom, the ultimate dread
This thing is a great characteristic outcome of panic disorder. This is the heaviest and difficult thing to bear.
The intensity of the fear in panic disorder makes you handicapped. According to you, it makes you witness the last point of your life, i.e. Tragic Death. You often say that you have experienced hell and that you understand what it feels like going to hell.
YOU say you have become aware of what human suffering actually is.
You say that people claim “life is about being brave” but you respond that “you say that because you don’t know what panic actually is.” Also, you respond that “when you will suffer a panic attack you will understand what bravery and dare are.”
You say that till now you felt life is beautiful, fun and joy. But now you claim that it is not so and that you cannot escape these physical and mental pains which are destined to you!
(But of course, this is not the case. You are thinking everything the wrong way. That’s for sure. 1001 %)
7. You often feel weird and like going crazy. Right?
Sometimes YOU feel that the world is unreal. Whatever is going on around is a drama. During the beginning phase of the panic attack, you feel the sense of unreality and feel that whatever you are doing is unreal and insignificant. You feel to quit everything and run away!
Because of this, you suspect that you might be going crazy. You already have heard that how people behave or do when they go crazy. You believe that the same is happening to you. It bothers a lot.
(But the truth is that scientists found that panic disorder does not make you go crazy !)
ALL these things related to panic disorder are paradoxical
You might have read or heard that panic is a safety alarm system of the body and it exists to save you from life-threatening situations and circumstances.
But you often ask that, if it is so then why panic is so disabling to sufferers?
If it is such a helpful thing why is it so unpleasant, coming in a disproportionate way devastating mental peace and life confidence?
The secret to all these questions lies in the paradoxical nature panic disorder.
The secret of managing and curing panic disorder are :
- To understand that panic intensifies if you fear it and resist it.
- To understand that panic fades away iff you embrace it and demand it on the contrary.
And what not…..?
(Nothing more painful than these feelings)
Am I right?
It is extreme. It is extreme to such an extent that it appears unnatural. It has made you think you have been a victim of an intimidating dread which is dragging you towards a fatal event.
The fears which you are feeling are just emotions arising in your mind. But you catastrophize them obsessively and expect negative outcomes in real life.
Fear is such a thing which cannot exist in isolation. Whenever you feel any fear it is the habit of the human brain to associate that fear with something in the real life in the material world. It may be a thing, event or outcome.
In your case,
What are the habits of people with panic disorder?
Now, that you are catastrophizing everything, this is what panic sufferers actually do:
Panic prone individuals have the habit of experiencing pain and distress at the perception level. For example, while watching TV, if they see a leopard chasing and killing a deer on they feel the fear and pain the deer is experiencing while dying. They obsess over how the deer felt while dying, how it wriggled while dying and then eventually they begin to think about their own death, like, will they die a natural death or die of cancer or an accident………….(panic).
This is the mental condition and the altered psychological constitution of the panic disorder sufferers.
You are not crazy or have gone insane or psychotic.
You just have changed your “perception of perceptions” which has captivated them in the vicious cycle of dread and the weird feelings.
We are going to discuss and learn a lot of things on this blog to manage and recover from panic disorder.