Panic Disorder 411

Recovery From Panic Disorder & Alcoholism


If fear is like a storm wave striking you, then a panic attack is a tsunami that batters your soul.

The Mean Reds - Text

First Scene: (Holly) The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid, and you don't know what you're afraid of. Did you ever get that feeling? (Paul) Sure. (Holly) Well, when I get it, the only thing that does any good is to jump into a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms me down right away. ("Breakfast at Tiffany's")

Second Scene: He had this feeling that something horrible was about to happen. His vision got blurry, then he was consumed by a feeling of dread that came out of nowhere. His legs began to tremble & the ground felt like it was shaking, threatening to open underneath him. It wasn't an earthquake. He wasn't having a heart attack. He was having a panic attack. Waves of panic washed over him, receded and returned like the ebb and flow of angry ocean waves crashing on shore. Everywhere he went, he was paralyzed by fear.

Panic attacks are sudden, overwhelming and enigmatic.

He knew that he was being pulled through a vortex into hell. He didn't know how to fight the force that possessed him. He had to escape, but how could he escape from himself?

Panic Disorder is an illness of loneliness. It can steal your life from you. You feel completely detached from the world and everything in it.

(voice-over) If a tiger is springing from its rear haunches toward you, the fight or flight response will instantly provide you with the energy you need to either grab your rifle and shoot him or to climb a tree faster than a monkey to the safety of the high branches. During a panic attack, the same fight or flight mechanism that protects us from danger is evoked spontaneously. The flow of energy increases; the heart beats faster to pump blood to the muscles; and certain systems, like digestion, shut down to focus all of the body's energy to fight or to run. However, there's nothing to fight or any danger in the environment at all. The stimulus is not a tiger, but, rather, the spontaneous fear response itself.

You can learn how to control your reaction to panic attacks by using deep breathing, progressive relaxation, and visualization. There is hope. There's treatment. Begin your journey by talking to your family doctor or a local mental health clinic.

The Man Who Mastered Fear

Alcoholics Anonymous: Personal Stories: "For eighteen years, from the age of twenty-one to thirty-nine, fear governed my life. By the time I was thirty I had found that alcohol dissolved fear. For a little while. In the end I had two problems instead of one: Fear and alcohol."

"Spring came. I went for my first walk. Half a block from my house, I tried to turn the corner. Fear froze me in my tracks, but the instant I turned back toward home this paralyzing fear left me. This was the beginning of an unending series of such experiences. I told our family doctor about this experience. He told me that it was imperative that I walk around the entire block, cost me what it might in mental agony. I carried out his instructions. When I reached a point directly behind of our house, where I could have cut through a friend's garden, I was almost overpowered by the desire to get home, but I made the whole journey. Probably only a few readers of this story will be able, from personal experiences of their own, to understand the exhilaration and sense of accomplishment which I felt after finishing this seemingly simple assignment."

"If I go around shouting from the rooftops about my alcoholism (and panic disorder), it might very possibly prevent me from getting a good job. But—supposing that just one man died because I had, for selfish reasons, kept my mouth shut? No. I could not expect to keep what I had gained unless I gave it away." Archie T. - Grosse Point, Michigan

THE ROAD TO FORT WORTH by Michael Jackson Smith: Very little was known about panic disorder when I had my first panic attack. There was no help available to teach me how to assuage the attacks, but I discovered that alcohol would dissolve my fear instantly. My website contains the kind of information that would have been a tremendous help to me in the early days of my illness as I searched for solutions for the panic disorder, agoraphobia, and alcoholism that incapacitated me. My book is the story of my journey into recovery. Read Chapter 8 | Top of Page

Never give up hope. It is the guiding light of recovery.

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