Panic attacks are not cool. Feelings can range from not being able to leave the house to believing you might die. From electric tingles, sweating, shortness of breath, flushing, heavy limbs, feeling like you might pass out, nausea, to a heartbeat that just will not settle down. The hardest part is the ‘no predictability factor’. It can sneak up on you. People sometimes tell me, “there was nothing bad happening in the moment, it just hit me.”
No matter what, it feels absolutely terrible.
Wanting to know why is part of our nature as frontal lobe driven creatures. We don’t like unpredictability. What the heck is going on and what can we do to control it? What I always suggest is that Therapy has three parts: the crisis mode, the strategy building, and the fine tuning (editing and revising).
Being the pragmatic beings that we are, we often only respond to the urgency of the first part. The second one is really important. We build our skills and toolkits for WHEN bad stuff happens. Learning cannot happen as easily in crisis mode. Pack your tool kit to the brim.