Don’t Let Panic Rust Set In
It was almost a year ago that *Linda had successfully completed panicLINK. She had been feeling so well, that the panicLINK DVD, CDs, Workbooks and Guidebook were collecting dust. She had even misplaced some her key handouts on the 6 Take Control Training Steps. The holidays were rapidly approaching. As usual, she was overextending herself to family and friends. As was her make-up, she rarely said no to any requests from others.
Panic Strikes “Out of the Blue” Again!
It was a Thursday afternoon in early November. Linda was readying herself for a routine dental check-up. While driving on the highway to her dentist’s office, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a wave of heat and hot flashes swept over her from head to toe. Her heart began to thump wildly as her chest constricted and she began to feel extremely nauseous and her head began to spin. All she could picture now was that she would faint at the wheel and die! She thought, “Who will take care of my children?” As these thoughts raced through her mind, the dizziness intensified. Now she felt, weak and shaky and her heart began to thump erratically. She was convinced this is the end. “I am having a heart attack. I have to pull over.” she thought, “Where is the nearest exit? Where is the nearest Emergency Room?”
Dr. Blumberg Outlines Six Steps to Prevent Recurring Panic Attacks
When Linda came into my office, I outlined six steps to prevent Setbacks.
Step One: Welcome Setbacks as a learning opportunity to solidify Rapid Rebound Skills and lay the foundation for more durable progress. Setbacks are a necessary temporary blip on the road to a panic free life.
Step Two: Rebuild Your Panic BLUEPRINT. Track you attack with the panicLINK Log. Put panic under a microscope. Develop You Panic Profile.
Step Three: See the two parts of panic. For Linda, Part One were the natural normal bodily sensations of adrenaline, hot flashes, heart pounding, nausea, chest constriction, dizzy feelings, shakiness and weakness.
Part Two were the False Catastrophic Thoughts about what the physical sensations meant. For Linda, Part Two was heart attack, die, “I will never see my children again.”
Step Four: Identify your setback thinking. Your body has tricked you again. You are doing everything wrong. You believe your FALSE Catastrophic Thought “This is the end!” is 100% TRUE. You must challenge your False Catastrophic Thought using your Cognitive Challenge. You are desperately running from the panic feelings of heart racing, thinking, “Oh no! Here we go again. I will never get better!” You are feeding the feelings with fear. You must accept the feelings as natural and normal using your normalization scene.
Step Five: Review the Six Take Control Training Steps and your Training CD.
Step Six: After the panic subsides, *identify your core Panic Trigger, the key to preventing recurring panic attacks and living panic free. Later in our training session, I asked Linda to trace back to what she was thinking about that Thursday afternoon before her dentist appointment. It had been just about 3 years ago when Linda had lost her Dad to a protracted chronic illness. She had been thumbing through a family album when she saw a picture of her father. Strong feelings overwhelmed her…chest tightness, heart pounding, and shallow breathing. She immediately closed the book and shifted her attention to preparing for her dentist appointment.
*Note: It not easy to identify your core Panic Trigger. It first can appear as a fleeting connection. At the beginning of training, it may be elusive and difficult to recognize. Recognition occurs after you acquire a solid foundation in the Take Control Training Principles and you master Setback Prevention for panic disorder.
*References to real persons, places and events are made in a fictional context, and are not intended in any way to be libelous, defamatory or in any way factual. This educational information should always be used in consultation with your doctor to confirm a diagnosis and review available treatments for panic disorder.