What does it feel like to have a panic attack?

Amanda Roe: Acupuncture and Clinical Hypnotherapist.
Call 087 6331898
Email: amanda@marketstclinic.com

I want you to imagine you are on a fly fishing holiday in Alaska. This is the holiday of your dreams.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing. Behind you the mountains are capped with snow. It’s beautiful. You’re wrapped up warm and the water, it’s teaming with fish. You bait your hook, the fly is pink and glittery, much larger than anything you would use at home.

Casting your line out in front of you your prepared to wait…But this is Alaska…Within minutes you have hooked something. As you wind in the reel smiling broadly you notice, it’s heavy, it struggles. You’re patient, little by little you guide it in. It’s large, silver, and shimmering, a King Salmon on your first cast. You’re beaming!

Time for a selfie.

As you hold the fish in one hand and focus your phone camera with the other, you are instantly alert! What is that in the background? Within seconds your heart is pounding and muscles tense.

Its BIG, brown and moving towards you…


Reacting in a slit second, you drop everything, your prize fish, your phone, never mind about the rod. Sprinting up the beach, you dive into the canoe and paddle, paddle, paddle, as fast as you can. Out a safe distance from shore, you are shaking, gasping for breath, sweating. As you look back at the beach, your heart is pounding, your legs and arms are weak.

The bear is still there, ambling up the beach towards your gear and a free lunch. As you realise you are safe, your breath returns to normal, muscles relax, you are thinking clearing again and the panic has gone. This was an attack of panic,  an appropriate response to danger, when your sympathetic nervous system kicked into action, keeping you safe and saving your life! 

Unfortunately, with modern living, everyday stress and anxiety levels can become chronic. Chronic levels force our body into a state of constant alertness in day-to-day tasks; pressure of deadlines at school and work, thoughts of the past or things that need done can be enough to trigger panic out of the blue. Then the fear, embarrassment and loss of control can feed into this cycle making it worse. Attacks happen more frequently, affecting mood, ability to think, appetite, sleep, energy and self confidence. It can seem impossible to break this cycle naturally but it is possible to feel better and get back in control.

We can all feel overwhelmed from time to time. If you experience a compelling urge to get away when you are finding it difficult to cope, this can be an early sign of panic. Going for a walk, breathing and practicing mindfulness can all be helpful. However, if you are experiencing panic attacks and the basics aren’t helping, seek help.

Amanda Roe is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Acupuncturist, Life and Health Coach providing natural solutions for your mind, body and emotions. You can contact her via her website www.roehealth.ie or call/text 087 633 1898.

WCP Staff

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