reply to post by syrinx high priest
Sorry for so many replies on one thread, but I cannot help one more.
Believe it or not, there is actual, real, medical research indicating that meditation helps. Not that there is some kind of special spiritual mumbo
jumbo involved. But here is how.
Number one, the *practice* of controlled breathing is known to be helpful in controlling attacks. Focusing on the breathing itself is not terribly
helpful, as it will just lead to hyper-awareness and potentially more panic. But most meditation requires (more or less unconsciously) some form of
controlled, calm breathing. Not to mention, meditation is pretty calming, in and of itself, since you are sitting still, thinking calm thoughts.
Number two, and perhaps more importantly from a scientific point of view, it is believed that meditating helps the person focus on the here and now,
as opposed to the future. In the self-help parlance it is called "centering oneself".
It's helpful to understand why this helps. Apparently there is a scale, with psychopath at one end and panic disorder at the other. The psychopath
will not give a thought to the future but does everything in the here-and-now. They revel in pleasure at their current acts, even if they are horridly
socially abhorrent (though they do plan for the future).
People with panic disorder on the other hand have themselves boxed in. They don't want to offend anyone. They are exceedingly worried about the
future. Employment, health, death, financial woes, loss of a loved one, whatever. They rehearse all the time dealing with non-existent future events
and conversations or allow continual anxiety to sit at the back of their mind or build up and refuse to take decisive action to deal with the problem
at its source. They remain excessively concerned about the *consequences* of doing so, i.e. they live in the future, disconnected from their life
I do not personally meditate, but understand fully how this could be helpful, if done in the right way. From what I understand, it is not
transcendental meditation or emptying oneself, but centering oneself and concentrating on "just being, now", that is helpful.
I think it is very important to see these things as part of an overall strategy to overcome panic attacks, not a solution on their own. No individual
thing is going to work on its own. But the right combination of things certainly does.
Some people require drugs for a while, in order to calm them down enough to begin to implement the other things required, or to give them the relief
they need to build up their confidence again. Others need counselling to help identify the sources of long term stress. Sometimes people are not able
to identify these easily on their own. Others need counselling to teach them how to use various NLP tricks to help control their minds. I was lucky in
that I already knew a lot of such tricks which I could draw on. Controlling one's racing mind is not easy without practice. Sometimes various tricks
can be helpful until this comes naturally.
The great news is that many, many people have overcome panic attacks without the need for further medication. I count myself amongst them. At one
point I thought my life would never return to the way it was. I was wrong. It did. Many, perhaps most days, I feel completely normal and do not have
to even think twice about panic attacks. It is as though I never had them. If I do have one, I know it is just a sign that I need to deal with some
stress and calm myself down for a day or so. But to be honest, they are becoming so infrequent, and so easy to control that I have little fear of them
I hope that meditation really helps you. But I believe you will definitely find that it is even more beneficial if you don't see it as a panacea, but
one of a number of tools.