(If you are having a panic attack now, please scroll down to the Brad Yates EFT video in this article below and begin immediately.)
Panic attacks are no joke. They are an extreme form of anxiety, and often, the cause is hard to pinpoint if not impossible.
They seem to come out of the blue when you are doing a seemingly casual activity such as driving, watching television, or even sleeping. They can make you feel out of control, or as if you are literally dying. There is a physiological response in your body that makes you feel and believe that something is wrong with you physically – and the fear that comes from that intensifies the panic.
(See Podcast episode # 13 on iTunes that I recorded in January of 2017 where I talk about my experience with anxiety and panic attacks as well as progressive muscle relaxation.)
In that episode, I shared the many resources and tools I used to help myself heal from intense panic attacks that began suddenly in 2009/2010.
For me, I went from having no noticeable anxiety symptoms in my life to suddenly having full-blown panic attacks. I felt as though I couldn’t breathe or catch my breath. This generated an intense fear which made the panic worse.
Convinced that my symptoms were physical, I went to my doctor. Because my experience was specific to my breathing, I felt there must be something wrong with my lungs. Maybe I had asthma, or some condition that was serious.
However, after multiple medical tests showing that I was in perfect health, I gradually began to accept the conclusion that what I was experiencing were indeed panic attacks.
The experience of intense anxiety was so debilitating to me and frightening, that I did everything I could think of to heal from it. Here’s a list of solutions I found that ultimately help me to heal at that time (EFT would come later):
- Guided Meditation cd’s
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Magnesium supplements
I was very fortunate to be able to resolve the intense anxiety within a few months and restore health and well-being. The prescription medication I took was part of the solution and I was grateful for it. But I was also grateful to go off of it after about 3 months. Years went by and I felt completely healthy, well and restored.
Fast forward to 2015/2016. The panic attacks came back.
In order to understand why the panic attacks resurfaced, I should mention that I believe I had figured out why they had begun in the first place years earlier. It had to do with my health, and that reason has once again appeared in my life.
You see, I had suffered two miscarriages in 2009. And while they were very hard on my emotionally, I felt I had truly recovered from them. Yet, only a short time later the panic attacks began. Apparently, there were emotions I had not fully dealt with in some way and this is how they were surfacing.
The anxiety seemed to stem almost entirely from fear about safety with my body.
I had felt a sense of having ‘no control’ over what happened to my body. And that was a terrible, terrible feeling. As though I was hostage to whatever my body decided to do. As though I was disconnected and victim to circumstances outside of my control. It was an intense state of fear.
Sometimes we have to guess as to what causes anxiety and panic attacks. Some people never truly know where it comes from. But there are solutions and that is what is important. You deserve to have your health and well-being back, your peace of mind.
What inspired me to write this today of all days?
It’s been about a year since my last panic attack.
I’m currently about 6 months pregnant with my second child. And by all accounts am a happy person. I’m positively thrilled for the new baby. I feel good.
Yet, I awoke tonight around 3:30 am with a pregnancy symptom you may be very familiar with – heartburn. This was the most intense acid feeling I have ever felt in my esophagus and at the back of my throat. I tried in vain to get back to sleep. The longer I was awake the more unease I felt. Swallowing. Trying to calm my mind for rest – much needed sleep.
But the longer I lay there I began to notice a distinct unease.
It was a familiar unease and one that I positively dreaded. The feeling of anxiety that was hard to pinpoint.
Already quite uncomfortable in my body at this point in the pregnancy, the anxiety symptoms began. Tingling. Quickened breathing. Faster heartbeat. Feeling of dread. Fear.
If a panic attack fully develops, these early symptoms will evolve to: light-headedness or dizziness, tearfulness, intense fear that feels like you are dying, sweating, vomiting or diarrhea, moderate to severe shaking, or chills.
In the past, during the first experiences I had with panic attacks, there was nothing I could do during one. I simply had to wait it out.
All of the advice I received was to simply wait it out. Know that it would pass. Endure. Having my husband nearby helped, though he honestly felt helpless. Just breathe through it, endure and know in my heart of hearts that I was not in fact dying, but that this was indeed a panic attack that had a finite ending point. And whether it lasted 5 minutes or 20 minutes, just know it would end – and I would be ok.
This lack of control felt incredible humbling and downright awful. To know and feel that I had no control over my body was truly terrible. And it fed the fear. Yet, through the treatments I described, I was always able to resolve it. In 2010, I honestly thought it was gone for good.
In 2012/2013, I went through a training at Duke Integrative Medicine, and became a health and wellness coach. And one of the first things I did with that training was focus on helping women who suffered with anxiety. It was deeply personal and moving work. And it was beautiful work.
I now consider myself a life and vision coach because I’ve expanded the work that I do, but anxiety is unfortunately very pervasive, and so it does play a part in coaching still. It is still beautiful work and I love leading clients through to a state of calm and empowerment.
Given the back story to my personal struggles with anxiety, I want to take the opportunity to dive into a new concept however. A treatment I found in the last couple of years that has helped me to regain a sense of control over how my body is reacting.
And this treatment 1) is free 2) accessible at anytime or place 3) works immediately.
Yet, it may be something you’ve never heard of before, and by all rights, seems a little unusual.
Hey – if you’ve ever had a panic attack, you’ll try anything, believe me.
This technique is called EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique. I had learned about it in a different arena because I had spent time reading and researching ways to enhance your life through erasing limiting beliefs, developing through personal and spiritual growth, affirmations and the like.
EFT fits along those lines. To some people, it is strange. To others, it is powerful. Jack Canfield (author of Chicken Soup for the Soul) is a big believer of EFT and how it has helped shape his life.
The concept of EFT is that it is based on affecting the energy that is circulating through meridians throughout your body. It stems from Chinese Medicine and acupuncture points.
The idea is that rather than using needles to affect change in these meridians, you instead tap on certain meridian points to affect change. The change is usually immediately, though sometimes you need to do more than one ‘cycle’.
While this instructor below, Brad Yates, doesn’t say this, there must also be a language component too, because you are talking to yourself throughout the treatment.
I honestly don’t know if this is based in NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) or some other science, but I know that it works.
It is the ONE and only thing that has ever completely stopped a full-blown panic attack for me. And that in and of itself is worth gold. For that, I am truly grateful for Brad and his work.
Many others teach this, but I’ve found Brad’s video to be the one that I go to when I’m in need.
I’m including in this blog article 1) his description or Intro into what EFT is and how to do it and 2) the specific video I have used when I’m in the middle of an attack and need it to end.
While I truly hope you have never and will never suffer from a panic attack, please know that this is a phenomenal resource if you or a friend should need it:
Quick Intro to EFT: Understanding what EFT is and How to do it
How to Stop a Panic Attack Right Now While It Is Happening
Bookmark this page if you suffer from panic attacks, or find Brad Yates on youtube.
He has tons of EFT videos for other areas of your life as well. And I’m so happy to be able to share this. It’s now 5a.m. and it’s true what they say, “When you are feeling helpless, help someone.”
I hope this has helped you or someone you love.
If you’d like to stay connected, I send out daily inspirational mindset quotes. You can get on the list by clicking here.
We can choose to go forth in love or in fear. I choose love, but again and again I have to reset myself to consciously choose love. Through frustrations of life, through the voice of our egos, through circumstances that feel beyond our control, again and again, I have to consciously choose love.
Read more about concepts of love and fear in the blog articles on A Course in Miracles here.