Your imagination can be used creatively or irrationally, or any other way you wish. People who experience panic attacks will often say that they imagine feeling out of control as soon as the panic is in full swing. Christian Nevell Bovee once wrote:
“Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination.”
Doesn’t that sum it up well?
A confident self assured person can suddenly feel powerless and vulnerable as soon as the panic manifests. As the bodily sensations race, the mind jumps from logic and reason to wild fears fueled by the imagination. The hardest part for most people to get their heads around is why they feel so suddenly powerless during a panic attack?
The automatic reaction for most to the sensations of a panic attack are to fight against it. To shut it down and end it as soon as possible. Coping techniques like deep breathing and distraction are mildly effective but not for everyone. When these techniques fail to get results, that is when the person really leaps over to ‘the enemy of their imagination’.
Where people run with this type of thinking their imagination will continue to escalate the fear, leaving them feeling more and more vulnerable and out of control.
The secret to regain control and come back to yourself, is to learn how to respond to the panic in an appropriate manner. The solution is to work with the bodily sensations rather than against them. Acknowledge that you are safe, label the sensations and then move into the experience rather than against it.
The real panic only begins as soon as you hand over reason and control to your imagination. By moving into the experience voluntarily, you become the decision maker and therefore retain control. If you’re going to have a panic attack it is going to happen on your terms. You empower yourself because you are directing the whole experience not handing “over to the enemy of our imagination.”
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This article is copywritten material by Barry McDonagh, an
international panic disorder coach.
His informative site on all issues related to panic and anxiety attacks can be found here