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  • Writer's pictureClare C. Chan

Facing Panic Disorder with Our Gentle Heart

"Because acceptance is the first step in the path of recovery."

"In just half a minute to one or two minutes, the heartbeat becomes so fast that it seems that the heart is almost unable to bear it anymore. Want to breathe faster, but there is a heavy feeling on the chest as if there is a big stone pressing the chest making the breathing difficult. Sometimes feeling of dizziness, chilling and sweating, trembling of hands and feet, the feeling of weakness become so strong as if the chance of losing consciousness in public can happen any time. The most terrifying thing is that the heart is occupied by an unprecedented intense fear. The sense of fear does not come from any external factors, but from within the body and the heart. The fear arrives with no reason, no clue, and the fear is so intense like witnessing the death approaches."

When we experience the above symptoms of "panic attack", it is natural that we develop intense fear about this experience. We become afraid of our own physical sensations, and also become fearful of places or things that are associated with panic attacks (such as buses, subways, shopping malls, restaurants……). And the fear continues to expand and transfer to more scenarios of life. Gradually, we lose our freedom as we start to avoid going to many places and or doing many things.

As the panic attacks continue to happen, it turns into "Panic Disorder", and even gradually develop into "Agoraphobia". Fear gradually takes away our freedom and our inner peace. We become afraid of our own physical sensations, a little bit of physical discomfort can trigger a series of worries and even trigger another panic attack. We become the enemy of our own body.

The occurrence of Panic Disorder is certainly disturbing, but it is also a wake-up call to remind us to examine the problems that we are facing in our lives that we may not have handled properly. The body is reminding us that it is time to make some changes. The causes of Panic Disorder are different for everyone, so as the life problems encountered by everyone are different. When we think about how to eliminate the Panic Disorder, can we pause and give ourselves some time to think about what life problems are behind this Panic Disorder? Before you hate and resist the body's reaction, maybe we can take a step back, and thank our body for sending us the the strong reminder, and maybe to feel about what your body wants to remind your? What do we really need now?

The recovery process for Panic Disorder is to learn to accept and overcome our inner fear. The fear from panic attack itself is already unbearable, and if we develop hatred and resistance to our own feelings, it will only make the road to recovery more challenging. Let us wholeheartedly accept the feelings and the experience of the body, whether it is comfortable or uncomfortable, let us accept it without judgement or trying to fight against it. Maybe we can use a gentle heart to accept and embrace the body's sensation and learn to listen to the body's message and be friends with our body. Because acceptance is the first step in the path of recovery.

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