The Panic Button

You want to know where it comes from. You want to know why. You want to calm down. You want to feel fine. More than anything, the last thing you want to feel is trapped in your skin. And that’s what happens when the thought machine trips. But how does this start?
The mind has a way of creating the stir. It comes on like a trickle, like one drop of rain falling from the sky to warn of an upcoming storm and all you want to do is run for cover. You try to find yourself someplace safe but the roof leaks and the storm hits. The downpour is ugly and the panic you feel is like trying to plug a leak that keeps coming up someplace else.
No one ever welcomes these bouts of anxiety yet, ready or not, here it comes. 

You have to be mindful of your thoughts because they can betray you. In its worst of circumstances and greatest fears, the mind can and will defy logic. The receptors in our brain overreact to our thinking, which defy logic and degrade sanity. We fall off the ledge so-to-speak and we plummet as we become overwhelmed by the chaos from the math we over-calculate in our head.

It’s really easy to go crazy, you know?

One plus one equals two. Two and two is four. We understand this from an intellectual standpoint.  However, we lose this to emotion. We lose this to the idea machine that triggers one thought into the next. Then the math in our head becomes infinite and inaccurate. We miscalculate feelings because we mistake them for facts.

We try to add this up but we lose count because we jump to conclusions. We expect the worst. We use the wrong math. We add our preconceived notions and personal biases. This is where the panic hits. This is where the anxious ideas begin to dovetail and next, we break down. We respond. We panic. We freak out and want to jump out of our own skin. 

And next, it’s like . . . it’s like,
“I can’t even breathe.”
It’s like, “I swear, I think I’m going to die!”
We think this way because the impending doom is this thing that lurks behind us. The thoughts of doom take on the state of terrible phantoms, which no one else can see. Including us. But yet, we know the doom is there. We can feel it.

Here it comes. Here comes the panic attack; it’s like being locked in some crazy rollercoaster ride that you can’t get out of. The world is closing in. All you can do is think.
All you want to do is stop. But you can’t stop. The wheels are churning now and all you can do is be at its mercy until the ride ends.

Man, this sucks . . .

Understand that perception is not always true.
The thoughts we have on behalf of our panic are frequently inaccurate.
But hey, that’s just logic; and logic has no place when the rejection machine starts to spin. 

And you know you’re going crazy.
You find yourself caught up in your own theories.
You feel trapped.
You’re stuck and no one really gets it.
No one understands.
All they do is tell you to “calm down”.
Or they say, “just don’t feel that way”.

Right. Sure.
As if it were just that simple.
But why does this happen?

Where does this come from?
Why do we panic?
Why do we have anxiety attacks?

First, I have good news.
We are not crazy.
First off, truly crazy people don’t believe they’re crazy. They think they’re fine. We’re not stupid either because stupid people don’t believe they’re stupid.
They think they’re smart!

Understand that the deception of our perception often leads us on these crazy misguided missions. And should we choose them, these missions take on the end result of a chemical change in our personal make up. The end result is an overflow of chemistry.
We take on the emotional result of thoughts, which the mind mistakes for reality. We begin to think our thinking is real when meanwhile, these are only thoughts.
This keeps us locked and loaded and ready for war. This creates conversations in the mind that either never happened. Or, we find ourselves responding to old conversations and trying to re-litigate the past by rehearsing old arguments that no longer exist. This is where the tricks come in. This is where we start to believe in our mental illusions. This is where we hit the tripwire and find ourselves in an all-out war.

This is why we have to be careful.
We have to be mindful.
We have to understand that this self-propelled journey began with one thought that led into two. We have to beware of emotional thinking because this is what calculates the casualties in our predictions.
This is where the discomfort of anticipation distorts the way we see things. Then the worry picks up. The concern is based on rejection theories which assume the catastrophes that never even happened yet.

The energy from this is all too consuming; in which case, we feel beaten up like soldiers that come home from imaginary battles that never existed.
How do you stop this? How do you get off this crazy ride? How do you stop yourself from the downward spiral and keep from the fear of being sucked down and flushed away?

I have found that aside from breathing, a simple inner monologue is very helpful. I mention breathing because breathing oxygenates the blood.
This is important because as the fear receptors overreact, the body produces too much calcium. The lactic acid levels in our blood increase and the oxygen levels decrease.
This results in the tightness we feel when we breathe. Breathing helps provide the distraction and allows us a way to replace the panic with a revolving action.
So when the mind picks up speed and the thought machine trips the wire and takes off into rocket mode, start to breathe in deeply and slowly.
While inhaling through the nose, think the words, “This isn’t real.”
When exhaling through the mouth, think of the words, “That isn’t happening.”

Next, you will find your inner monologue speaking in response to a rhythm of breaths.

This isn’t real . . .
That isn’t happening . . .

Continue this until you feel you can function better.
(Trust me, this helps.)

Beware the complication of self-doubt. Beware the movies we play out in our head because the tragedies never end well. Beware the pain we feel and the thoughts we think because if we interact with the math, we add too much and overestimate. We find ourselves responding to the inaccurate facts that were influenced due to deception of our perception.

Remember, speculation is not always a friend.
Memory is a liar.
Thoughts and feelings are neither fact or fiction.
As for the cognitive mind, well in short, the cognitive mind is really our inner kid just afraid of being picked on, being exposed, or something else, like say, being bullied in the cafeteria at school.

It’s not real . . .
It’s not happening . . .

Don’t fulfill the prophecy by concentrating on your fears. Find a replacement. Find an act that removes thinking. Breathe. Focus on your breaths. Stay away from people that minimize your feelings by telling you to “just calm down!” because this sounds more like an insult than helpful.
There are answers out there, which are different for us all. Just be mindful of the misperceptions of medicinal solutions. They can change chemistry to help us recoil. Medicine can help regulate the overflow but medicine does not correct situational dilemmas. 

Take painkillers, for example.
Think about the name painkiller.
Sounds nice right?
What do painkillers do? Well, the obvious answer is they kill pain, right?
The question I have here is simple.
Do painkillers solve the problem, or do they mask the problem?
Well, in fairness, painkillers do not remove the source of pain; they only mask the pain to become tolerable to the mind and/or body. The pain itself is only a symptom. In order to stop the pain permanently, we have to eliminate the source. Therefore, in order to feel better, we have to address the source instead of masking the symptoms. 

Sometimes, there is no magic pill. Oftentimes, there are underlying histories and traumas that left behind scars and the embossed memories which have programmed us to react, think and lead our mind to chemically respond the same way all the time.

The truth is I don’t know why this happens or where this begins. I don’t know where this comes from. I only know that I’ve lived with different anxieties throughout my life.
I know that I wanted to find peace and live my life with at least a semblance of normalcy. Safe to say that I have improved a great deal throughout the years. I have learned to help myself by attacking the anxieties at their root instead of masking the circumstances or treating the symptoms. 

And for me, the results of this have been lifesaving.

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