Interestingly many people have their first panic attack in exactly the same circumstances that you describe. When we go to the airport we are often rushing to complete things, worrying about what we have forgotten and anxious to be on time. Hence we have elevated arousal levels and it doesn't take much in the way of added stress to trigger a panic attack.
Future panic attacks are still fuelled by elevated levels of arousal but also by the stories in your head about what may happen if it you were to experience that uncomfortable feeling again. Rather than convincing yourself that it is unlikely to happen again, strangely it is important to accept that you may have another attack. Acceptance is the opposite of struggle and struggle fuels anxiety. If the symptoms do occur again it is important to face them and ride the wave of the feeling as it comes and goes. No-one ever dies from a panic attack, stops breathing or indeed faints, despite the degree of discomfort associated with them. Like all uncomfortable feelings they come and go. Focus on them as if you were a curious scientist - in a detached way as if you were going to write a thesis on the topic. Watch the symptoms as they reach a peak and ease off. Focusing on your breath using a breathing technique like the one described above will help as you wait for them to pass.
Sleep problems start in a similar way. When we TRY to get to sleep we tell ourselves we MUST sleep or we will be ‘cactus’ in the morning. By doing this we fuel our tension and are ultimately too tense to sleep. When we become anxious about what might happen, we tense up and of course fuel our anxiety, hence potentially bring on the panic attack.
One of the books I often recommend to my clients is “Hope and Help for Your Nerves” by Dr Claire Weekes. It's an oldy but a goody and it has changed so many people's lives… people who have suffered chronically from panic attacks.
Overall, the trick to ensuring that panic attacks don't become a chronic issue is to face anxiety when it comes and wait for it to pass. It is also about looking after yourself and balancing your life so that you avoid prolonged periods of high levels of tension. Good luck.
Report this post
You must be a HealthShare member to report this post.
to your account or
now (it's free).