Panic Attacks

Gobble, gobble, gobble

We’re told that Panic Attacks are one of the most common of human ailments, far outnumbering Migraines, yet often goes unrecognized.   I’d  never even heard of Panic Attacks, and yet a day came when I found that maybe they might be a problem for me.

Read on if you think you might be having them, try what I’ve found works for me, and if you aren’t having such attacks, these small, but oh so mighty ‘exercises’ will still be great. I’ve been there, done that, and I’m still here.

First, we’re told to be calm and deliberate in all we do, and described it as “Living in the Moment”.  Sounds simple, but how do you do that? And anyway, it isn’t easy to convince yourself that YOU might be having Panic Attacks, YOU?  And anyway what are they talking about?

Well, several years ago, I was scared one night, and drove myself to ER, thinking I was having a heart attack. They examined and ruled that out, but then put me in a ‘ chair’ of some sort where my vital signs were continually monitored and watched by nurses and medics who looked and made notes as they passed by, and after an hour or two I was ‘unhooked’ and told there was nothing wrong with my heart, and probably only had a Panic Attack.

As I recall, no one, doctor or nurse, told me what a Panic Attack was or what to do about them.  But I read a lot and have found Google to be a treasure trove of info and so I tell my tale .

First, I’ve learned to ‘watch myself’ and when I feel life crowding and putting pressure on me. I stop for a moment and crazy as it sounds, check to see if my Jaw and Shoulder Muscles are tense. And. if so, I might be on the edge of a Panic Attack.

I understand that those muscles are two of the strongest in our entire body. and are tense 99% of rhe time. We are unaware of that constant ‘clutching’ within us, but it affects our entire mood, body, and day. Every Therapist is aware of this, and has different methods of relaxing them, and here are two oh so simple ones, and even if it’s not a Panic Attack, they relax me and will do the same for you.

And what’s if I’m with other people, no one will know what I’m doing. So, sit down if possible and take SLOW, DEEP breaths.   Watch your torso extend as you breath in through the nose and SLOWLY exhale through your mouth, gently blowing to let your cheeks move slightly as you blow out.   Silently speak the words, “Inhale”, “Exhale” , as you breath, and be aware, and surprised, that, though you didn’t even know those muscles were tense, how good it feels w hen they relax. And as a side-benefit, your mind has become One Pointed. You’re watching yourself breath.

One Teacher called it ‘relaxing the Roof of your Mouth’, and I thought, how silly, there are no muscles there, but, just the same, that phrase works, and you’ll smile to ‘feel’ the entire area of the mouth relax. It’s said that because they, the Jaw and Shoulders, are two of the strongest in our body, it’s not good that most of us go through our entire day with them clenched. Ready for attack.

And then there’s the Walking method. As you take your steps, silently say, “Right foot”, “Left foot”, and so on, with your concentration on your words and feet. It’s a good method, but for myself, I do the two, Breathing and Walking, at the same time. You’ll make your own rhythm of combining the two, and what’s more, it takes your mind off whatever was making you tense. And, again, you are One Pointed..

Another Teacher told that many an actor, nervously standing in the wings, waiting for the cue to go onstage, will bend over, arms hanging loosely while saying . “Gobble, Gobble, Gobble”. and, automatically their Jaws and Shoulders relax. And whether you’re an actor waiting for your cue or not,   it works. Yeah, Gobble, gobble, gobble.

With surprise, I found that when I’m at my computer, my jaw and shoulder muscles are always tense so if you use the computer, watch yourself and you might find it’s a good time to start Gobbling.

I suppose Panic Attacks are hard to diagnose, and so, unrecognized. people seek relief by drugs, alcohol, sex, smoking, hitting the bars etc., and in desperation, sometime think they’re dying, and rush to the nearest ER. And I feel sorry for those poor cusses, I mean the Medics in ER with so many patients coming in, that Panic is usually the last thing considered, if at all.

Your life is precious. Go back and read my two methods. Even without Panic Attacks, they’re worth using. All the time.

6 thoughts on “Panic Attacks

  1. Yeah, me too. Ya know. I’m never sure what mental illness is. I can tell when someone, or me!, has a cold, sore throat, a head ache, a sliced finger, leg or head. I can tell if a leg or arm, finger, or toe is broken. A cast on a limb is a dead giveaway, a bandage on a digit is a number one sign of some kitchen event or a shop accident or a storm door that has been caught by the wind, I can tell when a person has a patch over an eye that a trip to the doc was necessary. These are easily recognized and accommodated as just routine injuries.
    But! I remember Dr Cagle walking across campus at the U talking up a storm to himself, almost yelling at himself or his imaginary friend. He was the most celebrated scientist instructor on campus for his acumen and intelligence and yet, I’m sure, he’s the only one intelligent enough to discuss some pressing issue or problem so he had the discussion with himself.
    I can remember from elementary school a classmate suddenly and without cause yelling a frustrating blue tirade of profanity at the teacher, the school and the inequities of the world. Of course without a name of the disease he would be immediately be escorted to the principal’s office for a “talking to” and maybe a day off for his outburst of blasphemy and anger.
    Split personalities, paranoia, bombast, extreme type A people were all at one time or another laughed at, teased, and made fun of, but only the little kids were scared of that person, most just tolerated or ignored them.
    Recognizing depression, panic attacks, unnatural fear, discomfort or other personality issues is not like a broken arm or leg, but I guess just as real.
    Yours is good advice, I’d say, but I’ve never had the experience and so end up saying stuff like com’ on lets go. I’m guessing I’m not much of a comfort.

    • I read that Einstein talked and the word used was ‘argued’ with himself. Perhaps you’ve given us a clue as to why he did so. nice. thanx. me

  2. I find taking control of my breathing is a key to relaxing and centering. I like an old yogi style, 4 beats inhale, hold four, exhale eight. Slow so not to hyperventilate, deep. Sit up straight. Through the nose. Feel the air cool the sinus areas.

    Unfortunately I’m usually all locked up in the shoulders and jaw before I remember to “take some breaths” to relax my body and quiet and focus my mind.

    The process works a lot better with the TV off : )

    • The ancient yogis knew wh at they were saying and doing. When all else fails, we can fall back on them. TYG. Trudy

  3. Love hearing from my cousin! Having had the experience a few times of a panic attack, the first one was terrifying, the second not much less, and the last time, I finally recognized it for what it was. I dealt by forcing my brain to “sing” a hymn with great meaning to me. With a few verses, I stopped shaking, and slowly, it seemed so slowly, was able to drift off to sleep. Today, I look back at people I went to school with, and realize they had a variety of mental and developmental struggles – unnamed then, often labeled today. We just keep learning, moving on. As my grandson said the other day as we went for a walk, “We just keep walking, Grandma.” (He is 6 yrs. old, high functioning autistic, according to recent tests.)

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