Friday, April 10, 2009

The Giant Sythe

Recently, I have been working really hard to over come my fear of death. Weird post, right? Thing is after reading the Feeling Good Handbook I realized a few things regarding my panic attacks. The most important point being that the root of almost all attacks are drawn from a fear of death. You think you can't breath? That you throat is closing? The pounding in your chest is a heart attack. But if you are honest with yourself you are not really worried about not being to able to breath, or that you are about to have your heart implode in your chest. If you follow these thought to their logical conclusion, they all lead to an underlying fear of dying.

But if you go deeper, death is not really what your fear is about. The fact of the matter is that once you are dead the panic attack will end. Once you are dead it's over, there is nothing more to worry about. If you really think about it, it is not death that fuels a panic attack, it is the fear of pain.Were afraid of pain, helplessness, possible humiliation. Once you understand these things you can start to use cognitive behaviour therapy to remap your brain. I use CBT quite a bit to deal with oncoming attacks. I have calls, behaviours I use to counter the negative messages my brain is sending me that usually trigger an anxiety attack. Some of my common triggers are feeling like I am not getting enough air, usually caused by shallow breathing and can be sorted by taking a nice deep breath. But if I am not aware and don't notice the signs soon enough, my brain starts to tell me that my throat is starting to close, at which point I need to use my call. Just like in poker this should call my brains bluff, which usually heads-off a panic attack. The same thing happens when I get pains in my chest, usually due to muscles that have been overworked through exercise or doing activities they are not used to. In this case I always check my pulse, because if I was having a heart attack my pulse will be rapid and shallow. If it is strong I have just called my brain on creating a scenario that will turn into a terrible circular loop of negative thinking.

Panic attacks feed on themselves. They get worse as you give into illogical thinking that is usually backed up my your body mimicking signs of what you think you are suffering from. Generally, due to adrenaline, stress, and panic tidal waving through your blood stream.

Picture from Flickr

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