It is very common for people who experience a panic attack in a particular place or situation to start avoiding these places or situations. If you have a panic attack while giving a speech, you are more likely to avoid giving speeches in the future for fear of what might happen. If you have a panic attack while shopping you are more likely to avoid shopping. Some people have panic attacks in an elevator and as a result they avoid elevators completely.
You do not have to limit your life to this point, because panic attacks are treatable. The more you keep restricting your life because of panic attacks, the more you will suffer. The good news is that there is a solution for panic attacks and you are that solution. Stop looking outside yourself; everything you need is right there with you. You have to learn to trust in these words: “It’s not a panic attack unless you panic.” This means you don’t have to run away, because if you give in to the urge to run away, then you are going to spend the rest of your life running.
Because your mind and body are used to panicking, your first instincts when you feel the feelings of panic coming is to escape. The key in recovering is to help your mind and body re-learn to be calm and poised, instead of reacting. And when your mind and body are convinced that panic attacks are not harmful, there won’t be reacting any more and your fear will diminish. The only way your mind and body can be convinced that panic attacks are not harmful is by going towards the feelings of panic and see it through even when your instincts are telling you to escape. I know panic attacks are awful and scary and what I am suggesting here is not easy to do. I struggled with it myself, but no matter how afraid I was I knew at some point deep down that I had to learn to walk through it.
People tell me most of the time, “I cannot possibly do this, what if I collapse, faint, go crazy, or lose my mind?” The reason many people think they cannot do it is because they have never allowed themselves to go through it and have always avoided and retreated. You have to embrace the feelings of panic. You have to see them for what they are. No one can do it for you, only you can accomplish that. Your mind and body will only stop reacting when you go through it and realize it is nothing other than a rush of adrenalin.
About Tawanda Chirenda
Tawanda Chirenda is an anxiety-transformation and resilience-building coach, speaker and founder of The Willing Student Method, a program that helps individuals overcome anxiety, build resilience and live a happier, more purpose-filled life as a result. Although Tawanda is now a resilience-building coach, he came to it the long, hard way, through many years of struggling with anxiety, failure, and helplessness. At the age of 25, Tawanda was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder that drastically affected his normal functioning and everyday life. Through a willingness to learn, grow and change, Tawanda was able to successfully recover from this condition and regain his healthy and productive life. Tawanda has been fully recovered for more than 7 years now and he is a much stronger person than before. You can connect with Tawanda on Twitter and Facebook or visit his website, www.thewillingstudent.com, to learn more about his work.