Overcome the Fear of Losing Control and Freaking Out – Why There’s No Such Thing as Anxiety Safe Zones
Panic and anxiety tends to immobilize people, so much so, that some people have a fear of even leaving their home.
Agoraphobia is the technical term used to describe people who are afraid of open spaces or being in crowded places like malls, outdoor markets and theme parks. If you’ve ever felt anxious about leaving home, or your “safe zone”, you’re experiencing some of the effects of agoraphobia.
The truth is, those feelings are really just feelings of vulnerability. People who suffer from panic attacks feel like they are more vulnerable in certain situations, and so they have difficulty feeling comfortable in a public place. These fears don’t have to immobilize you. The issue you need to address is that there really is no safe zone.
I talk about this in more detail in my book Panic Away. This sense of comfort in a certain place is actually a myth that your mind has started to believe. The reality is, the safe zone is all in your mind.
You could be in the same state of mind sitting comfortably at home, as you could be standing in the middle of a crowd at a sports stadium. All you need to do is learn to feel safe with the uncomfortable bodily sensations that trouble you.
Learning to process the sensations that scare you is the most empowering way to feel confident anywhere. You do not worry about finding an exit because you feel perfectly capable of handling any anxiety that you might experience.
Ask yourself what would you do and where would you go if you were not afraid?
It can be terrifying to deal with these issues and fears, but when you break down the walls you have created for yourself, you’ll be on your way to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
I urge you to learn today how to release the tension and fears that keep you feeling trapped.
Overcome the Fear of Losing Control and Freaking Out – “Help, -the next panic attack will send me to the mental hospital”
I think everyone that has experienced regular panic attacks has had this thought at one stage or another. It is directly connected to fear of losing control and freaking out.
People’s imaginations run riot with ideas of losing mental control and doing something totally out of character and then as a result get locked up in a padded cell because of their strange behavior.
When you experience high anxiety and panic your mind is not able to think rationally.
The idea of being committed seems ridiculous to the non-anxious mind but when your mind is operating from a high level of general anxiety these scenarios seem like potential outcomes and need to be worried about.
If you feel this way, remind yourself of this. People with anxiety disorders do not get locked up. It is not a mental illness and you will not lose control. The reason you feel out of control is because all the chemicals connected to the flight or fight response are causing you to feel on edge and think irrationally.
A simple way to combat these anxious thoughts is to remove the emotional impact they have on you.
Next time you imagine yourself losing control or getting locked up, imagine a cartoon character telling you these fearful ideas. Make the cartoon character small and give it a squeaky voice. How can you honestly take this character’s opinion serious with its big feet and squeaky voice?
Then in your mind’s eye, see the character getting smaller and smaller until you can’t hear it anymore. This exercise reduces the emotional response you have to the anxious thought.
Practice this a few times and soon you will feel less disturbed by ideas of getting locked up or losing control.
What really happens during a panic attack?
The sensations of a panic attack can appear at random times throughout the day, but in some people, the effects are more persistent over an entire day.
It’s important to remember that the physical manifestations of a panic attack are linked to automatic nervous system functions. When either of these systems is activated, you will feel a number of different sensations throughout the body.
Adrenaline is released and the body goes into the famous state of ‘flight or flight’ a term which coined by Dr. Walter Canon with his original formulation of human threat response.
This cycle of sensations and heightened awareness during a panic attack often makes many people physically and emotionally exhausted. Our body continually strives for balance, so it’s important to remember that the body itself is not perceiving these sensations as anything harmful – think of them more as a vigorous exercise workout. However, from the perspective of the person experiencing the sensations, it can feel completely different.
During a panic attack, it is common for the person to jump to conclusions about what is happening. The person tends to surrender their reasoning over to the fears of their imagination.
Christian Nevell Bovee once wrote:
“Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination.”
A skipped heartbeat might be interrupted as a pending heart attack.
A feeling of lightheadedness as a fainting spell.
A tight chest as breathing problems.
This constant worry of ‘what might be’ is very exhausting and takes its toll, which is why it’s important to recognize what is happening and work on ways to break free from the exhausting cycle of fear.
In my book Panic Away, I share several strategies for eliminating panic attacks entirely. These strategies will help you become more comfortable with the effects that panic attacks can have, take control over the anxiety you are feeling, and enjoy a more emotionally balanced lifestyle.
Don’t put your recovery off. Why wait, start today.
Barry Joe McDonagh
By Barry McDonagh, who is an international panic disorder coach. He created the Panic Away program to help people around the world deal with their anxiety and avoid panic attacks – a subject that he is personally attuned to because he himself found that he was prone to these issues since he was young. His hatred of his powerless lead him down the path of finding natural ways to treat himself without having to depend on expensive medications.
His informative site on all issues related to panic and anxiety attacks can be found here: Anxiety Self-Help – How to Overcome the Fear of Losing Control and Freaking Out?