Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Fear No.10 - Panic Attacks

Hello and welcome to no.10 of the top ten fears our clients used to have - not necessarily in any order...

1/ Lack of Control
2/ Enclosed Spaces
3/ Turbulence
4/ Airpockets
5/ Crashing
6/ Noises
7/ Engine Failure
8/ Terrorist Threat
9/ Falling Out The Sky
10/ Panic Attacks



Fear No. 10 – Panic Attacks
 

In our experience, Panic Attacks occur very rarely on our course itself. People often ask us before booking, 'Will there just be hundreds of people there freaking out all the time?!'
In fact, in all the years of running this course, we have had two people have a panic attack, both of which we were able to help to calm down naturally.
If you do, which is very unlikely by the time you are with us, you could not be in better hands than with our lot being there.
It is often the fear of panic attacks for a lot of people which never manifests in reality.
For those of you that have had full blown panic attacks, you will know what a terrifying experience it can be for you and for those around you.
Why is it so terrifying?
Well, let's consider the following two sets of possible symptoms:
Panic Attack.
Over heating
Sweating
Clammy hands
Tunnel vision
Pains in chest
Extreme anxiety and feeling of losing control
Rapid breathing
Feel like you are going to die.
Heart Attack
Overheating
Sweating
Clammy hands
Tunnel vision
Pains in chest
Cramping pains in left arm?
Extreme anxiety and feeling of losing control
Rapid breathing.
Feel like you are going to die.
Now, one of the above you could die from and one you won't. A Panic Attack won't kill you unless you have an underlying health problem.



It feels like you are going to die and it is no laughing matter.
Panic attacks are the body's natural response to a situation that it feels are beyond what it can cope with.
Did you say natural?
Yes, it is natural and is very closely linked to the Fight or Flight instinct that all animals have.  In a panic attack, people will either panic and run away or panic and freeze.
So, what can be done?
We are now coming back full circle to what we talked about in earlier newsletters/blogs.
You can control your thoughts and your breathing.
We can teach you how to control your fear but YOU need to practise it to make it work.
Please give yourself every chance of success by starting the positive thinking practise now, today. Please don't wait till you are marching through the airport before you start chanting, I MUST RELAX, I MUST RELAX.
This is not meant to patronise but there are no magic cures.
It is very easy to get into faulty ways of operating. Faulty ways of thinking. We have to be careful that we don't talk ourselves into actually having a panic attack by focussing so obsessively on it, 'I hope that I am OK.'  'I hope I don't have a panic attack.'  'I had better not make a fool of myself.'
A personal story from Paul:
I am quite fearful of 'Big Wheels' at fairgrounds. I hate them.  The mere sight of one feels me with fear and dread. It is the fact that you are not really strapped in at all - just sat in a big seat with a flimsy bar on your lap!
I know that as soon as my kids see it, they will want to go on it.  I don't imagine that I will ever love the big wheel.  However, I use the techniques from our course to control it. That is good enough for me.
I went on a big wheel recently.  


Two days before it, I told myself I would be on it come what may. There was no way I was going to pass my fear onto my daughters...I noticed that in myself that it was very easy to slip into faulty thinking. I saw myself strewn at the bottom of the big wheel in a lump of folded flesh. I could see it in vivid detail.


At that moment, I shout STOP to myself.  (This is a thought interrupter) Instead, I change my self talk to something positive to replace the negative talk.
We know that before an emotional response such as panic, there is a series of un helpful thoughts. If these are left unchecked, they start to become automaticand will then govern your behaviour afterwards.
As I approach the Big Wheel with my children, I am saying to myself and out loud to the kids, Isn't this fun? Won't this be great?
Look how strong and safe that Big Wheel looks. Look how much fun other people are having.
You would be amazed how some people come onto our course and during the introductions say things like, There is absolutely no way I will be getting on that flight today and there is nothing that you can do about it!
And for that small minority they prove themselves right!
Whatever you repeatedly say in your head can become true for you.  Do you see great sports people looking like they are saying to themselves, 'Goodness me that other athlete looks fitter than me, I bet he wins!'
No they don't.
Once on the dreaded Big Wheel, I keep practising my deep breathing. I use all the thinking and techniques that are taught on our courses to get me through. I am aware that as I write this, it does not really convey the depth of what we teach people.
I notice my body and if I feel my legs or hands or face tightening, I make them go loose again.  I know that if I can make myself just flop into the chair and keep breathing deeply
and saying positive stuff, I will get through it.
This is just a tiny fragment of the stuff we teach people.
A lot of people say, well that sounds easy.
It is - if you practice.
On our courses, we go through what is happening in your mind and how to control it. If it was just as simple as taking deep breaths then we could all do it of course without a course!
Don't give up.
We hope that you have found these top ten fears explained helpful?

We know that your fears are unique. We find that people have all sorts of reasons for having developed their fear. Our sole aim from the beginning of setting up was to help people to beat their fear.
We want to help to get you flying and that is it.
Take care
Paul Tizzard and Richard Conway

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