Identifying Panic Attacks

According to the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM V TR), panic disorder is evaluated under recurrent and unexpected panic attacks. These panic attacks most often manifest under periods of elevated stress and disorder in an individual who has experienced a history of recurrent elevated levels of stress. Even worse than experiencing the panic attacks, it is quite common for an individual experiencing panic attacks to often isolate themselves and even engage in an element of agoraphobia.

The diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders is an awesome book, full of nifty information if you’re really into that sort of stuff. The DSM contains diagnostic criteria used by mental health professionals to classify and describe every mental illness. I think it is important for most laypeople to understand that just because someone is afflicted with what is technically a mental disorder does NOT make them mentally incompetent as some might insinuate. Having a mental disorder does NOT make you Batshit Crazy (parenthood, PhD coursework and bad knees make you batshit crazy). Experiencing something that really wasn’t right, and you didn’t understand it does not make you Batshit Crazy. Generally living life in a politically obsessed consumer world, that will make you Batshit Crazy.

Having an 11lb needy Schnoodle will help you when you’re feeling Batshit Crazy.

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Panic attacks fall under two distinct DSM criterion and must not be diagnosed under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Additionally, the diagnoses of a panic disorder hinges upon the attacks not being better accounted for by another mental disorder. These may include a social phobia or another specific phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or separation anxiety disorder. While I, Dominick Juliano have been diagnosed with PTSD, it does not go without saying that I experience panic attacks frequently and often with little warning.

Dr. Michael Tompkins, author of Anxiety and Avoidance: As universal treatment for Anxiety, Panic and Fear writes anxiety disorders are some of the most common behavioral anomalies human beings encounter. Everyone will encounter a level of their congruence insufficient to meet a sudden demand. This feeling is based largely on preparation and presence to the moment (Tompkins, 2013).

Expected panic attacks are those associated with a specific fear like that of flying. Unexpected panic attacks have no apparent trigger or cue and may appear to occur out of the blue for many. It has been my experience that the majority of these individuals who are suffering from out of the blue panic attacks are experiencing residual trauma and often cannot produce the source of their sudden onset of a panic attack due to it being triggered by the response to stimuli according to past reference experiences.

So what does it feel like to experience the onset of a panic attack? Well, here goes.

From personal experience, having a panic attack feels like you’re standing in a tunnel that is slowly twirling. Suddenly whatever it is you are focused on at the end of that tunnel becomes the most important thing in the world and it is somehow attached to something traumatic that occurred in the past and we could not change. General anxiety occurs when incongruence exists between our perception of a situation and our expected outcome. This general anxiety can build into a full blown panic attack when too many periods of internal incongruence occur in a short period of time. The incongruence is like a function of confusion. Imagine we were trying to solve a problem and the answer we came up with is the right one to us but to the rest of the world it might not make any sense. That is because it is not going to. It’s a panic attack, it’s an imperfection and it’s a perfectly natural response to unnatural stimuli encountered. Panic attacks are the human body’s defense mechanism against a perceived impending threat of death or serious loss.

If you feel you are affected by awkwardness, a failure to accomplish your goals and a general feeling of anxiety I want you to know you are perfectly normal. If you have reached a point of frustration or just want to know more about your potential to be who you really want to be and would like to explore your options in modifying your behavior through a professional coaching program, contact me for a free consultation. We will not only address what you feel your shortcomings may be, but identify one very important thing: who YOU are according to YOU! Please contact me via DJBeautifulTrainwreck@gmail.com for a free consultation and we will explore how we can closer align your lifestyle to your ideal self.

Who YOU really are!

The feeling is the response to stimuli. Our response to stimuli is a circumstantial position although when we feel anxiety, it is our perception (the way we see things) that typically leads us to a “fight or flight response.” What I mean by this is the anxiety we are perceiving is not responsible for the actions we take when we are experiencing anxiety and a panic attack. WE are responsible for the actions we present to the situation.

Trainwrecks, I’m speaking directly to those of you that are struggling with the effects of feeling anxiety and panic attacks. Please understand something: WHAT YOU ARE FEELING IS NORMAL! And the great thing is that we can adapt ourselves to the feelings of anxiety once we realize what is happening. Even more exciting is the truth that once we are able to “exist” within that feeling of anxiety, we can slowly change our responses to the stimuli. Now let’s not get all crazy here, we definitely cannot eliminate the instances of anxiety, we can only address our response to them. Once we are able to address our response to them we will begin to realize what once controlled us can now be used to our advantage. Yes, you read that right. We can use our anxiety to our advantage because the feelings of anxiety are something EVERYONE feels. The primary difference between those of us who can manage our anxiety without help and those who cannot is the level of acceptance and control over the trauma we have experienced in our lives.

So, let’s have a discussion! Make sure you smash that LIKE button as you comment below.

  • What part of your belief or value system is stopping you from being confident and achieving your goals?
  • What are you doing to focus on the things you have control over vs. the things we are allowing to control us?
  • What are some meditative practices you implement in your daily lives? 

Leave your comments below and join in the discussion.

I know at first some will scowl when I say EVERYONE experiences a degree of trauma. However, I am not here to compare scars I am here to try and positively affect my fellow Trainwrecks. If you have never lost a child, you cannot understand what that feels like. If you have never held a friend in your arms as the light faded behind their eyes in their final moments in this life then you simply will not understand the trauma that someone carries forward after that event. Perhaps you have lost a parent or a sibling. That is a traumatic event because significant and lasting effects are often felt as a result. It is not the actual trauma that causes anxiety and panic, it is our ability (or lack thereof) to process that trauma. It is the level of internal congruence and how well we can accept an event and move forward with reference experiences. It is our ability to be at peace with the situation that dictates the way we move forward.

Let’s smash our way right past our awkwardness and social anxiety! Through a little bit of pain and initial discomfort we can lessen the effects of social pressure by facing our fears head-on and not accepting the regular status quo we’ve grown used to. We can do this!

You’re Welcome. Internet.

This post was heavily influenced by Lacrimosa by Apashe

References:

Ankrom, S. (2019). DSM-5 Criteria for Diagnosing Panic Disorder. Retrieved from: https://www.verywellmind.com/diagnosing-panic-disorder-2583930

Katerndahl, D. (2003). Initial Care Seeking for Panic Attacks. Psychiatric Services, 54(8), 1168.

Tompkins, M. A. (2013). Anxiety and avoidance. [electronic resource] : a universal treatment for anxiety, panic, and fear. New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Music Credit: https://purple-planet.com

Photo Credit: https://freeimages.com

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