You Cant Rely On A Crutch To Overcome Panic AttacksBefore reading, just remember that this is my personal experience, everyone has their own goals and personal situations to deal with. If you're on meds, make sure to speak with your doctors before getting off of them.
Panic attacks are desperately miserable situations, there's no doubt about it, so it's very logical to look for something, anything in the depths of an attack to help you get through those terrible moments. I know that for the four years that I suffered from chronic panic, I would've done , believed or taken just about anything to get me through those minutes. But from what I've learned through my experiences, I believe you don't need a crutch. Unless you're born having panic attacks (which your not), it's a mental disorder that you learn to have along the way. Sure, some people are more susceptible to it than others, but it's your mind that has learned through experience to perceive danger unnecessarily and responding accordingly with the fight or flight response, that's it. Because it's caused in your head you have to learn to overcome it there, in your head and not search for external solutions to this problem.
What I mean by crutches are meds, relaxation techniques, carrying a cell phone everywhere, relying on people to come and save you, having some sort of personal ritual that you must do, otherwise the fear will come and getcha! I remember I used to always carry my phone with me, everywhere. I had to make sure that if a really bad attack hit me, I could call someone to talk me down or come and pick me up, otherwise I'd never leave the house. Also, I developed all kinds of personal rituals like doing things in a certain order every morning or taking certain steps in my day to day, and I did these just because, once before I did it and that day I didn't have a terrible attack, just a few milder ones. I'm not even going to get into meds, because those are a whole other story I went through.
Now I'm not saying that you can't ever use a crutch, that's like say that if you break your leg, you should get up and walk right there on the spot. That's obviously foolish, crutches have their place. You just have to remember that a crutch is a temporary thing, meant to help you through to the next step, not a permanent solution. My period of panic attacks lasted for four years. For the first year, I relied almost entirely on meds. I couldn't even have a clear thought without xanax! But eventually, I got off of them, simply because I hated having so many different chemicals being pumped into my body. Then, I relied on my cell phone, loved one or emergency personnel being in close proximity to help. And sometimes just stupid personal rituals like carrying certain things on me at all times, wearing particular socks, or brushing my teeth before taking a shower and shaving. Anything that seemed like it worked once before.
The problem with crutches is that they will all eventually fail you. And even if they don't, you're not fixing the problem, you're just patching it up. I remember being on the subway with my phone and getting nervous at the idea that I had no reception down there, or that perhaps my battery might die prematurely. Even if the comfort of having my phone delayed or mitigated the effects of an attack, ultimately my goal was to just ride the subway calmly, like everyone else. What you have to do is learn to overcome the panic itself. Accept that it's nothing more than an adrenaline rush, your mind is perceiving danger, and is responding naturally, the way it supposed to respond to danger, with the fight or flight response. But in this case, your mind is wrong, there is no danger, so calm down. Chill out, enjoy the ride, tell yourself, I'm having an adrenaline rush, it's just like the one I had before, and just like everyone I had before that, it'll go away in a bit, like it always does. There's no need to stress. I know that the first few times you face your fear it's incredibly difficult. The tendency to rely on our crutches is huge. But to truly overcome panic and agoraphobia, you have to do it yourself. By facing your fear and letting your mind learn that there really is nothing to be afraid of, it's all in your head and you, you alone can overcome it.
I know this is a difficult task, but have hope that it's very possible. Countless people have been where you are right now and overcome it. Just focus on where you want to be: relaxed, free of panic and fear, and stop thinking about where you don't want to be. Still if you need help with that, I'm always happy to help out.
I hope that little bit of info helps. I also have a blog that I keep to chronicle how I overcame my panic attacks and agoraphobia in case anyone one would like to check it out. Not sure if I can post links on this forum but it’s (Live-Panic-Free) followed by “Dot” and the usual 3 characters you find at the end of a site.
Lifeafterpanic566 31-35, M 0 Jan 20, 2013