If you are a panic-attack sufferer, you will need to roll up your sleeves and commit to the task of your own well-being. Others can offer advice, comfort, and medication, which can all be helpful. But until you take an active role in your own restoration, dramatic change will be unlikely.

I wanted the Lord to heal me in my sleep so I could rise up righteous in the morning. Instead, He has been teaching me i need to be involved and responsive in the healing journey.

Healing is a Risk

Healing is a risk because to be healed, we must trust. Those of us suffering emotionally have a broken trust factor that makes healing difficult. We’ll consider that factor in the next chapter, but first let’s talk about survival skills. How can we manage the dailiness of life in the midst of panic flushes?

A question I have been asked over and over is “How did you deal with the panic?”  panic is like a circle. A panic attack has a beginning and must come full circle once it begins. The size of the cycle depends on our response to the feelings of panic. If we fan the flame of fear, our circle enlarges, increasing the intensity of our emotions and the duration of the cycle.

Internal Dialogue

The following are a few of the favorite lines the tempter spews in our direction during a panic to increase the severity of our attack:

“This is the worst panic you have ever had.”

“You are going to lose control.”

“You are losing your mind.”

“You are going to die.”

“You will never get well.”

Lies, Lies, Lies

Lies, lies, lies! But how can we know their lies? Let’s test them

“This is the worst panic.” Whatever we are feeling at the moment seems the most intense we’ve ever experienced, because we are closest to it. This is the worst headache this is the best movie this is the most scrumptious dinner; this is the brattiest child; and so on. When we tell ourselves this panic is just another cycle of discomfort, we help to neutralize its momentum.

“You are going to lose control.” When we buy into the lie that we must be in control to be safe, we increase the panic’s ability to hold us hostage. Most of life is uncontrollable (weather, unforeseen circumstances, people’s responses, taxes, etc.), and yet generally speaking, we remain safe.

“You will lose your mind.” This lie tells us our panic is caused by a weakened mind. Instead, panic is fueled by our fragile emotions, which feed the mind inaccurate information. Sometimes the mind has been fed wrong information from the outside, and then it conveys the misinformation to our emotions, which overreact. We are not going to lose our minds; we just need to change them.

“You are going to die.” Have you? I rest my case.

“You will never be well.” Each time we experience a panic attack, our tendency is to negate any growth we have had. If we have an attack after going for a while without one, we think it’s a sign we are right back to square one, which is usually not true at all. 

Defuse the Lies

Once I learned to defuse the lies, I began to make progress. First, I changed my thoughts during a panic cycle. That’s not easy! It feels like trying to ignore a screaming child who is seated beside you on an airplane. But with effort and practice, you can learn to block out the bad information by a repeated act of your will and focus on things that help you settle down.

I would tell myself, You have been through this before, and you will make it through this time. I would insist that my muscles relax as a way to reduce tension and be an active participant in my own get-well program. At first, like a rebellious child, my muscles resisted my command, but as I persisted, they obeyed.

Healing Strategy

Learning how to implement your own healing strategy will lessen the panic attacks’ frequency and intensity. At times you will suffer setbacks, and a more insistent panic will sneak up on you. Remember the enemy likes sick surprises. Don’t indulge his lies or his tricks, but draw on your resources.

Call upon the Lord. (Remember who’s in control.)

Calm your body. (Relax.)

Collect your thoughts. (Renew your mind.)

Carry on quietly. (Restore your schedule.)

Those of us who have been or are being held hostage by panic are people given to extremes. Finding balance will not be easy for us, but it is possible. For instance, if you talk too much (and you know if you do), develop listening skills. 

If you make yourself and everyone else nervous by your anxious rushing about, take ten-minute quiet breaks to slow yourself down. Your body and mind will contest this discipline at first and thank you for it later.

If you are a couch potato, set realistic activity goals for yourself each day. Note the word realistic, because with our extremism, we will tend to either overwhelm ourselves and feel defeated or trade in our “couch potatoeness” to become busybodies.

When we hide our insecurities behind grabbing, gallivanting, or other emotional indulgences, we impede our progress and coddle our weaknesses. A true retreat is when we find emotional relief. That happens when we disarm the terrorists who hold us hostage. Panic can be conquered by implementing a new strategy, facing our fears, and resolving our inner disharmony one issue at a time.

–Excerpt from Under His Wings-

Download this checklist, Panic to Peace: 10 Ways to Soothe Your Soul

15 Comments

  1. Kristy Hessling on August 26, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    Thank you for caring!

  2. Mary Sue Smith on August 26, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    Thanks, Patsy, I can download “Panic to Peace, but can’t find where I can print it.

  3. Carol Evans on August 26, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you, Patsy. This is one of the most helpful things I’ve read.

  4. Evelyn on August 26, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    Patsy,
    Thank you for being God’s voice for me today as I feel like I could be having panic or it’s my depression/,anxiety getting worse but probably just a bad day emotionally
    I’m very upset about the state of this great country. I live alone and don’t go anywhere. I’m retired by no choice of my own having been laid off 18 months or so ago. I was 63. My ex-husband who I have 3 children with then was killed in a truck wreck. I never saved for retirement as I just wasn’t smart enough to do that nor did I have enough income to do so. I really don’t want to go into other things on my mind. I know God will see me though this but just wanted to thank for the message from you that I got today. I met you once at a WOF conference, you signed your book for me. God Bless you Patsy 💗
    I downloaded the checklist and will read it whenever I am upset or fearful about my future. You’re the best.

  5. Cheryl Ann VanderZwaag on August 26, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    Dearest Patsy,
    I want you to know I thank God He put you in my life at the right time. I remember first meeting you at women of faith. Then I started reading the books and then came the YouTube videos and the desire to write books and then you did shake your tree and now I have joined porch pals. I have read 11 books because of you. I am studying the Bible on a regular basis due to my insatiable appetite to know God. I have learned to manage my anxiety way better then I ever thought was possible. My therapist told me yesterday that she has seen so much growth in me just since I started my journey with you. Please hear me when I say that it is because of you but not on a pedestal you , its how God has healed you and given you His mercy and a peace that helps you teach others. Your words give me hope that through Jesus Christ I can live anxiety free and have a peace that excels anything I have ever experienced. I thank you for your obedience to God’s calling on your life. I feel you truly are giving freely what you have been given. I pray that you may continue in bringing others to be reconciled to our Lord Jesus Christ may He give you strength and bless you and the ones who help you put on porch pals and may others find the way to soothe their souls with the life giving water of our Lord and Savior. God Bless you Patsy.
    Thank you so much
    Cheryl Ann VanderZwaag

  6. Maggie on August 26, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    I just love you! Thank you for the reminder. I’ve had panic and anxiety attacks since I was in high school and never talked about it. I thought I was going to die on the day from them. Then one day I decided to go to a cardiologist and low and behold waiting in the sitting room I picked up a magazine and I happened to come across an article that talked about all the symptoms I had. I diagnosed my self that day and just had the Dr. confirm.

    Long story short, after so many years on Ativan and Xanax, I finally decided that I needed to get off of the meds and take the bull by the horns and control this attack. I don’t have that many panic or anxiety attacks anymore but when I do, put on some healing music, take some St. Johns Wort, soak a sock in alcohol, put it on my forehead, go lay down in bed (especially overnight), and pray. It always gets me back on track.

    God bless you!

  7. roni gammell on August 26, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    Thank you Patsy for your comfort, understanding and wisdom

  8. Debbie Camp on August 26, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    Wonderful advice. Needed!

  9. Mary Pope on August 26, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    Thank you that was so needed at this time in my life. I had my very first panic attack had no idea what was going on and no idea on how to control it. I felt so alone. I’ve gained some comfort with what you have written for us thank you

  10. Trisa Chancey on August 26, 2020 at 7:49 pm

    I have struggled with anxiety and depression much of my life. Through wise counselors, medication, and the support of my family and friends I am relatively stable. Stable enough to function at work and at home, and not feel like I’m about to fall apart. I hum a lot during the day, and didn’t realize until I read this article that humming is one of the ways I control my environment and soothe myself.

  11. Shirley Bennett on August 27, 2020 at 12:09 am

    Thank you, Patsy!
    I think I have always had anxiety but it seems to get worse the older I get. Two years ago I had a bilateral mastectomy and I am still healing. I was so blessed. It was encapsulated and no spreading. I didn’t have to have any treatments at all. Lots of guilt.
    I am a 72 year old preachers kid. I have been a Christian since I was 7 so more guilt for being anxious. I do call out to the Lord and he always hears me. Thank you for the extra help.
    Love you so much. Shirley Bennett

  12. Cathy on August 27, 2020 at 8:38 am

    Thank you, I needed this today! I have PTSD and deal with panic and anxiety as part of that. The struggle has been real and being able to remind myself of all the things you’ve listed helped me just by reading them. My “forgetter” works way better than my “oh, wait! I can do this”! I always feel like I’m failing God when I struggle and that I’m back at square one. But I’m not, I’m growing and learning, I have the mind of Christ!

  13. Tammy Czyzewski on August 27, 2020 at 7:12 pm

    Excellent

  14. Judy on August 28, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you for this encouragement today!
    I’m getting weary and impatient for the world to return to “normal!” Ha! Trying to be obedient and follow guidelines for going out, with COVID going on!
    Thankfully my husband and I moved 4 yrs ago to be closer to our kids! We are blessed and I would not have wanted to be far away from them during all of this!
    My struggle is what exactly is safe to do? How far can one go,(barring the obvious precautions of course) literally and figuratively!?
    Prayers for you and your family today!

  15. Patty on August 30, 2020 at 12:35 am

    I have always hidden my panic and insecurities- I thought- worked -3 girls – church- husband and caretaker of my 86 yr mother in our home- and then fell to the worse panic And depression-during this pandemic- always the person to be out and about and now can’t seem to even go out the front t door and then husband had covid in hospital 5 days with the lung issue- BUT GOD is a miracle worker In all areas- this is such great and wonderful In site to That we are not the only Christian that has these challenges- thank you to continue to minster to us and help us with daily encouragement and to know that we can come out of this even better then we were before

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