You’re on your way to stop having panic attacks!


“The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back”


We each have a different point for how much we can handle.  In other words, before the line is crossed, even though there is underlying anxiety, you can handle it but, once that line is crossed, panic ensues.  This breaking point is what I call the Panic Threshold.

On any given day, do you deal with some combination of hassles from:

  • work/school
  • family dramas
  • childhood issues
  • health issues
  • money woes
  • neighborhood politics
  • how rested you feel
  • how your clothes are fitting?

Add all that stress together and, collectively, it very well may exceed your Panic Threshold.

Goal: keep stress below the Panic Threshold

This is why a panic attack may seem to have been triggered by a mundane thing (maybe something so subtle that you can’t readily identify it) when, in fact, it was merely the proverbial last straw.

I have had countless panic attacks when there was a lot of stressful stuff happening in my life but I was in denial about its effects on me.

Truth: I have overachiever tendencies.

When I was in my twenties, I used to pride myself on being able to work under pressure.  I juggled multiple projects at once.  Worked late.  Drove someone to the airport then met friends at the bar.  Baked at the holidays.  Took a quilting class.  Read an article about how to tune my jet ski’s carburetor while I was on the treadmill (true story).  I was non-stop.

No question, I thrive on a go-go-go lifestyle and likely you are too.  But, in those days, I didn’t have the insight to see that, even though I enjoyed the individual events, I was running myself into the ground.  There was no balance in my life.  In addition to doing things I enjoyed, I felt compelled volunteer to help others then got mad when there were no thanks to be found.  I was overscheduled and under-rested therefore I was perpetually late to things.  Or I canceled at the last minute.  I fell asleep in meetings, during dinner with my parents.  Sometimes I nodded off behind the wheel.  At other times the smallest thing would send me into a fit of anger.  Or into tears.  Something had to give but I didn’t listen.  Not until I started having panic attacks the year I turned 30.

Seemingly without warning (they sooo weren’t – I talk about this in detail in Hanging by a Limb), my whole world came to a screeching halt.  As I said earlier, once I started panicking, I struggled to go to work, to sleep, even to eat.  I was too afraid to be alone in my house at night.  For me, this was utterly demoralizing.  I had always considered myself to be so capable.  Now I felt helpless and powerless to change my situation.  I couldn’t handle the idea that I might never be able to socialize or go on vacation because I was too afraid.  I hid it from as many people as I could – I considered it my ‘dirty little secret’.

Looking back I can see that the panic attacks started to happen more frequently because I spent the time that I wasn’t panicking anticipating the next time I would.  I’d worry about how bad it would be.  Would I be far from home?  Would I be alone?  Stuck in traffic?  The thoughts were all consuming and very depressing.

Eventually I found the KEY to stop panic attacks.

Now I am again able to lead a full life.  I raised my kids, finished college, owned my own business, wrote a book.  I go to concerts, sporting events, hang out with my friends in New York City.  I even still volunteer sometimes for thankless tasks.  The difference is that I had learned how to act with intention.

And I learned to say … *gasp* … no – sometimes.

Learning not to overcommit will reap great rewards for you down the road but it’s not an easy skill to master. And learning how to say no to others may seem absolutely inconceivable to you right now. Don’t panic (I crack myself up) – I’m going to start you small.

In this course, I am going to introduce to you some easier methods that, when implemented, you are likely to quickly feel some relief. Perhaps you will experience a glimmer of hope that it is possible to take back your life.

Watch your inbox for…
5 Methods to Move Away from Your Panic Threshold

In the next part of this course, get ready to learn how to get not only more but better sleep.

Note: during the course, I will be asking you to journal periodically so you can start to become aware of your physical and emotional triggers of panic.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  It can something as simple as a notebook, a legal pad or you can even journal on the computer.

Congratulations!  You have taken the first step to illuminate your path towards taking back your life from the darkness of panic attacks.

Only the beginning1,

1“Beginnings”, Chicago