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Day 22 Dissection of Successful Renegotiation (redirection) of Panic Attack

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by jokeysmurf, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Well known member

    When it comes to panic attacks i would say it's hard for many people to have a clear concise way of how to deal with them. I am not a therapist, this is merely my own experience and my understanding of Panic Attacks. I know I did not have a clue about what to do besides the notion which came from Dr. Weekes of "riding" it out. Id like to say there is yet another option - redirection. I will elaborate. Maybe this one will be of less discomfort.

    In order to understand a Panic attack we must rename it, or rather see it for what it is - an extreme version of Sympathetic Arousal cycle. More specifically the Sympathetic Arousal peak getting stuck and not having it come down fast enough. It is true that Panic attacks have a beginning, middle and yes and end. If you're floating often times as you "endure" the sensation until they pass, you can end up becoming overwhelmed - which is to say you have gone into a state of Freeze, you're no longer in Fight/Flight.

    When we are in Freeze, we become spacey, things become less real - in a sense we detach. Which is the last thing you need when you're having a panic attack; another level of bizzare sensations. This doesn't always happen but it happens enough, especially when you're floating or trying to float but each sensation keeps mounting onto he previous. So what do we do? What can we do?

    Well for one, the goal is to learn Pendulation aside from Panic attacks. You can google Pendulation with key words Somatic Experiencing. I learned this some time ago and it has made all the difference. This will build our tolerance, and reduce fear of sensations and allow us to have something in which we can shift back and forth from. The discomfort of sensations of pain or anxiety and something neutral or something positive - this can be a neutral or positive sensation in our body our outside of ourselves.

    Secondly, I would say when you feel a panic attack coming on, I know we think it's out of the blue but they aren't, really we just dont' think they will hit that intensity initial so quickly. So they feel out of the blue but all the cues have been there in a subtle way. We get used to living with anxiety that we just miss the cues. So we feel the Panic attack beginning, what I do is I pendulate. Pendulate between the sensations - with very little thought or judgment (also known as SIBAM) but with mere observation. Its easier to do when you think of a Panic attack as pent up energy needing to be redirected or discharged, rather than a Panic Attack which has many other implications.

    What Pendulation does is, it provides a break in the arousal cycle and a break in the neural pathway. When we read about using distraction as a tool for anxiety or Panic, that it's not entirely a bad thing but distraction has a connotation of ignoring or pretending its not there, or running from it hoping it will go away, rather than facing and feeling. With pendulation you feel it, and feel the edge of the discomfort and then shift your awareness and provide a release or redirection of the energy. In a sense what you are doing is interrupting the arousal cycle as well as the neural pathway and you provide REDIRECTION of the pent up energy as well as creation of a new neural pathway, a new body memory and new sensations. One with new better and calmer connotations. One that can be used in the future as you will experience another arousal cycle down the road.

    So again, what are Panic attacks? Well for me Id rather think of it as an arousal cycle stuck on "on." essentially it is a tremendous amount of pent up energy - basically we need to no what to do with it or not to do anything if possible. The desire is to discharge or redirect the energy. Since energy can't really be created or destroyed we can't exactly just squash it. So we can redirect it using Pendulation and Somatic Tracking and create a "break" in the arousal cycle. And sort of like distraction except with mindfulness and feeling of the sensations it can be dissolved.

    A word about SIBAM - what is SIBAM. It stands for Sensations, Images Behaviour, Affect, and Meaning. Each one plays a role during a "Panic attack" and can in many ways keep you stuck. Just learning that theses things can happen can help you change how they occur or dont.

    An Example: I feel my heart beating wildly (A), think I may be having a heart attack (M) and call emergency services to undergo an ECG reading (B). The possibility something is wrong with my heart makes me even more anxious (A). How will I function at work tomorrow? Will I ever return to my usual self? (M, A) I start sweating profusely (S) and interpret this to mean something is terribly wrong with me (M), and I become even more anxious (A). Now I become nauseous (S), and call my partner to ask for help (B). I envision myself lying there helplessly (I), and pray he comes quickly (A).

    I hope this helps. Happy Healing
    JanAtheCPA and Lizzy like this.

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