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Rookie Panic help
Right ho, my fellow  sufferers, let us get down to the proverbial brass tacks about this disease . For those of you that have been suffering from Panic for a while and are aware of your condition , skip this sections. Rookies, however may read on. 
You had your first attack and now you are convinced that death is around the corner. Not so !!! As terrifying and lonely an experience as a Panic attack is, know body has ever died from it. Since it is unlikely that you will believe me at this point (nobody ever does) you must educate yourselves . Here are some links to start you off. 


This  site offers a good general overview of the disorder
For a more detailed explanation of the symptoms, visit this link.
The Panic Disorder Institute is also a decent starting point

Remember that knowledge about the disease is one of your prime weapons against it. It is also important that you act fast after your first couple of attacks, for there is a good chance of becoming agoraphobic if one fails to confront the disease right away. It happened to me, and apart from being terrifying it is also a rather boring condition . Right, the next step is to go see a good shrink. If you can't afford one, a doctor will do. Whether you choose to treat this disease medically or not, a visit to the medics will at least serve to reassure you that you are indeed physically fit to live. 
Note: as you have noticed this site seems not too sympathetic to the drug alternative. This is a bit misleading, for it would have been difficult to conquer my Panic disorder without the help of pharmaceuticals. For obvious reasons I cannot recommend Paxil, due to its withdrawal effects. Still, there are many other drugs out there that are quite effective at helping you with your panic. Consult your physician.
 

 

Less Conventional Panic Aids 
Over the years , I have developed quite a repertoire of techniques that have me helped cope with PD. In the hopes that some of these might work for you, I have  listed them underneath., I am pretty certain that most of these have not shown up in print before. Should anyone have other unconventional tips that they would like to share please, feel free to get in touch with me.

 

  • when a panic attack hits, divert your mind. Easier said then done, I know, but one trick is to cause yourself some pain, e.g. fingernail dug into arm. Please keep it within limits: no need to mutilate yourself.
  • holding your breath prevents hyperventilation.
  • keep painting a mental picture of a time before you had panic attacks. Make it a pleasant one and use it to realize that your present state will not last forever.
  • summon up courage. Panic attacks are  instinctive fears of death that have run amok. Reverse the situation by trying to become defiant in the face of death. By this, I do not mean running into traffic or anything as silly as bungeing with too loose a cord. Instead, a 'heroic' mantra can do the trick; the kitschier, the better. "It's a good day to die", is my favorite one.
  • whenever you encounter a panic situation, one that you have become afraid off, return to it as soon as you can. Even if it means another panic attack ( you will find, that the more of these you get, the easier they become) Example: I was doing a lecture in front of 40 undergrads when a PA came suddenly. I left the room, went into the washroom and dowsed my head in cold water (similar to the pain hint above). It took every once of strength that I had to return a few moments later. Had I not, I would never have taught again.
  • make good excuses: panic attacks often hit when you feel that there is no way out of the situation without loosing face. If you have already prepared an excuse in your mind beforehand, the fear abides somewhat. Example: before you begin a discussion, mention that you will have to leave on the spur of a moment since you are waiting for an important call. If your anxiety gets too a point where you have to head out, pretend that your pager is going off, look at it and make a quick exit. Hopefully it won't come to that, for knowing that you can leave without fear of embarrassment usually lessens the chance of a panic attack.
  • tell people of that you are having a panic attack. They might feel awkward, but who cares? Most of the time the people around me, even strangers , understood. After all, most everyone has experienced something similar at one time in their life.
  • when in a cycle of panic attacks, laughter is a great medicine. When you laugh, it is impossible to feel anxious. With this in mind keep a well stocked library of material that has proven to put a grin on your face. ( Here I put in a plug for Tom Sharpe, Stephen Fry and PG Woodhouse, three very funny English writers).
  • Have sex: no Panic during  orgasm.

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