The following common myths about panic attacks need to be dispelled as soon as they enter your head. Doing this can stop the progression of the panic attack.
A panic attack will cause me to have a heart attack.
Not true! During a panic attack chest pains pass quickly, unlike the pain of a heart attack, which is continuous, crushing and pressured. Movement makes the pain of a heart attack worse, while resting makes panic pain worse.
A panic attack will cause me to stop breathing or suffocate.
Not true! You feel that you can’t breathe but this is not due to suffocation but rather to too much oxygen. Feelings of choking are not dangerous.
A panic attack will cause me to lose my balance or faint.
Sit down and breathe more slowly until the sensation passes. You are unlikely to faint because your heart is beating faster. Moving about will restore your balance.
A panic attack will cause me to lose complete control of myself.
It may feel this way, but actually your body is doing something to protect you, not harm you. Loosing control is a myth.
A panic attack means I am going crazy.
Not true! The strange sensations only last for the duration that your brain’s blood flow is upset because of your rapid breathing.
Taking personal control over your tranquility
A little stress can be helpful when you’re facing a threatening situation. Other times it’s not and ultimately it’s only you who can help yourself get better. You have to take control and responsibility for your recovery. Try and find out the cause of your anxiety and don’t resign yourself to a victim mentality! It won’t help!
The spiral of anxiety needs to be broken, because anxiety causes more anxiety.
Photograph by Nicola Stewart beblessedphotography.co.za