The Safe Place

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Have you ever experienced intense fear with no real reason?

Author: Suzanne Wirth Date: 2015-07-16

The Mayo Clinic of health describes panic attacks as “a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause.” When I spoke to someone whom I hold close in my heart about their first panic attack they told me that it happened very abruptly. This happened last year during our Western New York snowvember. So this new mother was outside playing in the snow with her child without a care in the world. The family had been on a staycation for a bit because the streets were not passable at all. So the mother went in the middle of the street to see what all the excitement was about and to see how much snow had actually fallen. Boom immediate panic attack happened she could not breathe she was immediately terrified because she had finally realized how much snow we actually had and immediately thought what if something happens to her child what would she do. There was no real actual threat of danger. No one was hurt and her child was happy sledding away with a grin from ear to ear. The mom walked up the driveway and had to control herself, calm down, and steady her breathing. This parent had never had a panic attack before and had no real idea of what was going on. Many people who have panic attacks carry a prescription medication to take if an attack occurs. This medication effectively slows down someone’s breathing and calms them. Whether or not you have this kind of medication to take you should still calm yourself by purposefully slowing down your breathing and focusing on relaxing your muscles. If the breathing is difficult to control you can always breathe in to a paper bag and this reverse carbon dioxide will help you regain control. Remember panic attacks are not based on reality. Our minds are telling us there is a threat that is actually not real. Our emotions can become intense and we can spiral out of control in an instant and a panic attack can occur. Knowing what to do if this happens can help us by reducing the feeling of helplessness and providing a structure for managing our emotions. Be sure to mention any tendency toward panic attacks to your attending physician and in the meantime breathe easy and remind yourself that you are safe.