I’ve been there.
The palpitations. The tremors. The thought of “what the heck is going on, am I going to die?”
The eight hours of uninterrupted sleep that turned into two hours trying to fall asleep and six hours of interrupted sleep.
The normal happy life that turned into a miserable existence, one where at times I just couldn’t function.
Okay, perhaps it’s not as bad in your case. It certainly was bad for me. I used to suffer from panic, and it’s been a totally scary experience.
Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to know that you can beat panic… and beat it forever. Seriously.
Not only that — the “demon” of panic may not want you to know, but panic attacks are actually relatively easy to overcome.
Why and how… well, keep reading.
Things to know about panic attacks
First of all, panic attacks are basically anxiety on steroids. We all suffer from anxiety in one way or another, so you’re not alone.
And if you want objective, undeniable proof that panic is more common than you think — just look at the data:
See? You are not alone. Many suffer from panic attacks. This is the very first to understand as it helps you “normalize” the attacks.
Not in the sense that panic is normal, but rather, that it’s totally normal to not be aware of what causes the attacks and therefore suffer from them.
I have written an entire article on the 11 not-so-obvious facts about panic attacks, and I encourage you to check it out here.
But for now, let me share three key facts about panic that will change your perspective (and empower you)…
Fact one: you can heal from panic attacks
This is the first and most negative misconception, or assumption, about panic attacks, that keeps you stuck and makes you think you’ll never see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It is the assumption that since the attacks feel so horrible, and since you (apparently) have no control over when, how, and how frequently you experience them, there is no hope.
False. There is hope. And no, it’s not pills or anything like that. Even scientifically, cognitive therapy has been proved to be much more effective than any antidepressant or sedative.
But what does therapy do, what is its essential function? It is your understanding of how panic works; how you (yes, you) create all the attacks by… overreacting. Speaking of which…
Fact two: panic is an overreaction
No point in trying to explain exactly how panic works within one or two paragraphs (click on the links at the end to learn more), but the following is enough to give you an idea.
It all starts with an initial trigger. This may be a sudden negative thought or feeling. For example, the trigger may be a heated argument with a friend, an anxious thought, or even a movie scene.
If you see the thought/feelings as it is, its energy fades quickly. But if you identify with it (put simply, take it too seriously; exaggerate its importance) then the “vicious cycle” of panic appears.
It looks something like: overreaction to the trigger, overreaction to the overreaction, overreaction to the overreaction of the overreaction… until you get the full-blown attack.
Fact three: your symptoms are the symptoms
When I suffered from panic attacks (multiple attacks a day, during the worst part of my illness), I thought their symptoms were… bizarre, weird. I thought it was just me.
I thought the racing heart, the dizziness, the idea that I may lose my sanity within a few seconds were exclusive to me; at first, I didn’t even know it was anxiety and assumed it was some strange physical illness.
So, important fact number three: whatever your symptoms are, know that they are normal, that is, they don’t just happen to you but anyone who suffers from the attacks.
It may be hard to believe that anxiety alone can, say, make your hands or feet very cold, or give you headaches. Yet that’s what anxiety does. The more extreme the anxiety/overreaction, the more extreme its symptoms.
Okay, here are the affirmations…
Short affirmations for panic attacks
- I am safe
- I am strong
- My mind is not me
- I am always in control
- I focus on the present moment
Powerful affirmations for panic attacks
- Panic may be uncomfortable, but it’s not dangerous
- I don’t need to fight against the symptoms
- This happened many times already; it’s nothing to worry about
- It’s not people or things that cause the attacks — it’s my own overreaction
- A small dose of anxiety is perfectly normal
It often seems that panic attacks just happen to you, but in reality, you always have control over your own reaction (or lack thereof).
Because while the initial trigger may be completely random and/or unexpected, your reaction isn’t.
You are in control. You have the power, you decide. And you are not your body; you are not your mind.
Repeat these affirmations silently (when you feel an attack coming, or whenever you want) until you internalize them.
A quick reminder: please note, affirmations are never a substitute for therapy.
This may be obvious, but I’m not a therapist, and none of the content of this site is intended to replace actual therapy (full disclaimer here).
Related posts & resources
Once again — I used to have panic attacks every day. They were debilitating, and ruined at least a year of my life.
Then I learned what they were and how I was making the attacks worse… and got rid of the attacks permanently.
But that’s not me. If you suffer from panic attacks (or even just debilitating anxiety in general), you can learn how to end it.
Or at least reduce it to a minimum. So you can go back to being happy and free, and live life to the fullest.
This is why I encourage you to 1) reach out and contact a therapist or anyone who can help you, and 2) learn more about panic and anxiety.
I have written a few articles on panic so feel free to check them out: