I used to struggle a lot with anxiety and found it nearly impossible to even leave the house. I would have panic attacks nightly. The concept to get your head around when dealing with any type of anxiety and panic attacks is the fact that YOU ARE IN CONTROL. It's a journey of taking this control back that helps us to overcome this.
Anxiety attacks are your brain putting your body and mind into 'fight or flight mode' in order to deal with situations that you may not feel you can handle on your own. The ability to think yourself calm goes out of the window and it's your bodies natural defence mechanism kicking in and trying to avoid you going through it by giving you this need to flee. This is useful when it's for things such as near death or actual moments where you would need these raw survival instincts, but when it's for things that you don't need such extreme reactions for - It becomes just a rush of sensations throughout your entire body with nothing to do but sit through it and this is where the 'attack' part comes from.
A lot of the time you'll find it comes from trapped emotions and worries, things you're anxious about that you've buried so deeply that you may not even know you feel it at all, but it's triggered (normally subconsciously) and sends your body into complete shut down - Triggering fight or flight without you knowing what your body is even trying to fight or run away from is terrifying because you're in a state of panic that you can't find your way out of because you don't actually know what it is your bodies trying to tell you.
What helped me was paying attention to my thoughts, you'll find it extremely hard to put a end to your anxiety if you're not taking time to dig deeper into what these anxieties are stemming from. What is the root cause of why you're feeling this way? It can be something that happened years ago that you've not taken the time to heal yourself over, it could be something that you feel is GOING to happen that you're struggling to come to terms with - As soon as we listen to our minds, get to know it and stop letting it be a stranger to us, we can learn to control it and take back the power over it. The term 'it'll eat you alive' comes to mind when I think of unresolved hurt and anger, because it really does. Perhaps seemingly insignificant things that happen to us in our lives can fester deep inside us if we don't take time to sit on our own and THINK about what’s hurting us. It'll find a way to bring itself to the surface and be dealt with whether we like it or not, this can be through anger or tears (or in some cases, panic attacks!) It's our bodies telling us that something isn't right, and if indeed you find your body responding to situations (that aren't being chased by axe wielding psychopaths) with fight or flight mode then its just your brains last resort at telling you there's something wrong.
When I suffered from panic attacks, I didn't want to settle for learning to handle and live with it. I wanted to get rid of them completely! I decided, this is my brain and my body and I wanted to take the control back over what the fuck it was doing - So I decided to sit on my own in my room and see what dark anxieties crept up into my thoughts. I can guarantee you the majority of people given 5 minutes alone with no phone, no TV and music in a room taking time to just think. Would find their thoughts turn to their worries very quickly, it's what happens if you're not dealing with your problems head on, as soon as we stop filling every second with stuff and things and just listen to our bodies and our brains and take some time alone - We start to see what's really on our minds and what's really bothering us.
Was it something we said to a friend a few weeks ago that we shouldn't have said?
Is it something you feel you're not doing in your life that you should be?
Is it that you're not content with a certain aspect of what you're doing?
Normally it's something like this, something we find too hard and complicated to deal with so we push it to the back of minds with spending time with friends, watching TV, drinking, doing drugs.. All of which are coping mechanisms to help with escaping our minds. I used to seek so much comfort in all of these things - It feels easier to ignore our dark thoughts than sit alone in a room with them, right?
But ignoring them quickly forces these dark thoughts and unanswered questions from the corners of our mind to demand to be heard, felt and resolved. They force themselves out in things like physical aches and pains, panic attacks and short tempers - The pain and uneasiness of sitting by yourself and resolving your own problems may seem like a difficult concept, especially if this is how we've always coped.. Because imagine how much we have bottled up inside that we've held onto (some of which we probably aren't aware is even there) - But taking this time to allow these thoughts to take the spotlight in our minds and be felt is how we can stop letting them be the enemy and something we fight to ignore. Making peace with things you fear about yourself is how you learn to embrace your dark thoughts. A dark thought is only dark until you shed light on it, to do this you must explore it.
Why do you feel this way?
How can you resolve this for your own peace?
Facing the demons that you've been running away from takes more courage than escaping them. Decide that you deserve better for yourself, you deserve better than simply 'learning to live with it' - You deserve to live in peace with your mind. You deserve to not fear being left alone. You deserve to not fear a single corner of your mind. All you have to do is choose that you deserve this and act upon it. Allow yourself a moment to feel the hurt that's demanding to be felt so deeply that you take it's power away forever.
It's not a matter of letting go - You would if you could. Instead of "let it go" we should probably say "let it be".
- Jon Kabat-Zinn