Understanding Panic
 

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Fast on the heels of the strange sensations, the scary thoughts come in.  "What if I'm going crazy?”, “What if I’m having a heart attack?”, etc., etc.  Your POINTER has found a "danger".  And this “danger”, as convincing as it seems, is composed only of sensations, each of which is completely harmless, and scary thoughts, each of which is completely untrue. 

In fact, these scary thoughts are just about the most false thoughts the world has ever seen.  They are less likely to happen than the sun not rising tomorrow.  They are even less likely to happen than the Cubs winning the World Series.

Let’s take one of the most popular scary thoughts as an example:  “What if I’m going crazy?” 

With all the millions of people experiencing tens of millions of panic attacks, there is not a single case of anyone ever going crazy from a panic attack.  Not ever.  Psychotic disorders develop gradually over a period of many years, and do not arise from panic attacks.  Psychosis has to do with losing touch with reality.  This couldn’t be further from the experience of the panic sufferer, who is super-attuned to reality.

So, how do these completely false, scary thoughts arise?

Again, let’s take the example of “What if I’m going crazy?”  Now, we all have a vocabulary that includes the scary thought of going crazy.  Cultural myths about people “going mad” run very deep.  We've seen more than enough horror movies, from an early age.  We have plenty of images in our brains of psychopathic killers, snake pit asylums and padded cells.  So, when our POINTER is spinning around, desperately trying to locate a danger, the best it can find might be: "Maybe these strange sensations mean I’m going crazy!”  Very convincing, but completely untrue.

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