Life’s weird sometimes. One moment you’re cruising through life, nary a worry in sight, when all of a sudden, BAM! You find yourself spiraling out of control in a weird existential rollercoaster of intense emotions and bad thoughts. Panic attacks can be incredibly intense, and at times, you might feel you’re going to die, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Panic attacks are something you can definitely learn to tackle, and the first step is to figure out what it is actually.Welcome to the Jungle
As weird as this sounds, panic attacks are actually meant to help us. Come with me on a journey if you will, back in time to when our cavemen ancestors (let’s call him above) roamed the earth in their animal skins and loin cloths. Bob gets up one day and feeling hungry, ventures out into the jungle to forage for some food. He grunts a merry hunting song, when suddenly he hears a growl behind him. Turning around, Bob finds himself face-to-face with a very hangry tiger.
Now instinctively, all animals have a natural predilection to preserve life, and Bob (and us humans by extension) is no different. When faced with the tiger, Bob now has two options, flee the tiger, fight the tiger, or become breakfast (ok, there was a third option). Assuming Bob would like to enjoy the berries he foraged earlier, he’s left with either running away or killing the tiger.
In either option, Bob needs to prepare physically because both would require him to work his body hard. Because he perceived the threat, his body automatically reacts to keep him alive. And he does this with a few reactions.
- His breathing becomes more rapid to maximize the oxygen going into his body
- His heart starts to palpitate, as beating faster means his blood is moving quicker
- His hands and feet get cold and tingly because it’s concentrating blood in critical areas, where his lungs, heart and stomach are so they can burn more energy to prepare to run or fight
- He breaks out into cold sweat, as the body starts to cool itself in anticipation of a big physical effort soon
- His muscles tense up, so it can spring ahead to run or fight back when he needs to
- His peripheral blurs out so that he can hyper
Let's meet Sarah, a brave adventurer in the Panic Jungle. One sunny afternoon, Sarah was having a casual stroll when, suddenly, the Panic Coaster came out of thin air. Her heart started racing faster than a cheetah chasing its prey, and her hands were trembling like leaves in a storm. She had no idea what triggered this wild ride, but there she was, hanging on tight, hoping it would be over soon.Jungle Troubles - Spotting the Panic Animals
As you venture deeper into the Panic Jungle, you might encounter some peculiar "panic animals." Look out for the Sweataclyde, a creature that makes you sweat even in the coolest environments. And beware of the Tremblodon, a fearsome beast that makes your body shake as if you're doing a tribal dance! Oh, and don't forget the Breathlessaurus, the master of leaving you gasping for air, making you feel like you're running from a lion.Storytime: Facing the Panic Animals
Sarah felt like she was in a zoo of panic animals. Whenever the Sweataclyde paid a visit, she'd be fanning herself with anything she could find, feeling like she just ran a marathon in the Amazon rainforest. And when the Tremblodon struck, Sarah's friends thought she was showing off her dance moves, but she knew it was anything but fun. The Breathlessaurus, well, that one left her breathless, which is never a great feeling!Lost in the Jungle - Surreal Experiences
The Panic Jungle can be a strange and surreal place. You might meet the Disassociate Monkey, who plays tricks on your mind, making you feel like you're living in a dream world. And beware of the Numbness Serpent, which slithers through your hands and feet, leaving you puzzled and wondering if you've turned into a jungle creature yourself!Storytime: A Date with the Disassociate Monkey
One day, Sarah found herself in a panic attack accompanied by the Disassociate Monkey. It was like she was floating in a dream, disconnected from reality. She couldn't believe her own mind was playing these tricks on her, and yet, there she was, in the middle of the Panic Jungle, feeling like she was in a parallel universe.Monkey Mind in the Jungle - The Chaotic Chatter
In the midst of this jungle chaos, you'll encounter the Monkey Mind swinging from one thought to another like Tarzan in the vines. It's hard to keep track of all the thoughts - "Did I leave the stove on?" "Am I going crazy?" "Will I survive this?" But remember, just like Tarzan, you have the strength to tame that monkey and bring back some order to the jungle.Storytime: Wrestling with the Monkey Mind
Sarah's Monkey Mind was always busy, chattering away like a thousand monkeys in the jungle. During panic attacks, it felt like a wild orchestra of worries, doubts, and fears. But Sarah was determined to be the Tarzan of her mind. She learned to take deep breaths and talk to herself like a funny tour guide: "Alright, folks, let's settle down now. No need to swing on these crazy vines of thoughts!"Jungle Survival - Navigating the Path
Now that we've explored the Panic Jungle together, it's time to find our way out. Remember, even in this wild place, there are paths to navigate and treatments available to help you on your journey. Understanding panic disorder and its causes can be your compass, guiding you to seek help and support from professionals and loved ones.Storytime: Finding the Path Out
Sarah decided to seek help from a guide, a wise counselor who knew the secrets of the Panic Jungle. With their support, she started learning about her triggers and coping mechanisms to navigate this wild terrain. Step by step, she found her path out of the Panic Jungle, and while the Panic Coaster might still show up now and then, she was better equipped to face it.
Take the Panic Disorder Severity Scale test to find out if you've had panic attacks!