You often hear the phrases – anxiety attack and panic attack – used interchangeably. Which would be okay, if the goal is to NOT understand anxiety and panic.
Just bundle them up together. Keep them a mystery. Keep them 'out there' somewhere. Nebulous and undefined.
In other words, if you're seeking to give your power away to anxiety and panic, then do not look at the difference between them. Pretend they're two words for the same situation.
OR …. you could learn about the differences, and realize – I can actually DO something about this!
Anxiety does not 'attack' you. It's more like a suffocating fog – a suffocating web – that you create by very precise actions, habits, and patterns. Anxiety is not REALLY an invisible invading army … like endless columns of marching ants, with their little walkie-talkies, and their cannons and their infantrymen. Marching in their little helmets.
When you think about it, even panic does not really attack. Although the term does more aptly apply to panic than to anxiety.
Panic is more like a landmine that you've placed in the path ahead of you. You throw it out ahead of you, again by engaging in very precise actions, habits and patterns. And then you walk along and step in it – and panic explodes in your face. Or rather, in your body.
Which seems like an attack.
The problems with viewing either anxiety or panic as 'attacking' you:
1. It keeps them mysterious and unknown
2. It makes them the enemy
3. creates separation
4. fosters irresponsibility
5. creates self-condemnation
6. It makes it harder to DO something about it
7. It keeps you in a state of impotence
In other words, it locks the problem in place, and keeps you helpless … powerless … to actually do something to end it.
Sadly, ironically, anxiety and panic 'attacks' are not that difficult to end. If you believe that, you can create them ending with relative ease.
On the other hand, if you hold tightly to the belief that you ARE helplessly under attack, then you most likely WILL NOT be ending them anytime soon.
Basically, it comes down to OWNERSHIP. Am I willing to OWN these so-called attacks? Or is some 'outside force' responsible? Am I willing to even look at these questions? Am I willing to explore the issue?
Or am I only willing to avoid thinking and feeling about it as much as possible?
The closer I'm willing to get – the easier it will be to see them as they really are. The more I run away, the more they'll chase me.
Right now, at this point, maybe I can not stop the attacks. Maybe I still feel helpless. But I can choose which direction to face.
1. Move closer to the problem; seeking to understand; seeking to engage; seeking greater responsibility.
2. Or, run away. Let them dictate the terms of your relationship.
I'd suggest you seek them out. Study their movements. Track them down. Find their lair. Face them head-on. Embrace them. Own them. Your anxiety and your panic are a part of you.
You always have the power to choose which direction to face. By seeking out your anxiety and your panic, you are taking your power back from them and making it harder for them to attack you.