Anxiety is all about Perception
Do you experience what you think (or have been told) is a panic attacks? Are you a survivor of abuse, bullying, catastrophic, combat, domestic violence, harassment, and rape, as well as trauma, or indoctrination situations in your life?
If you have experienced the above situations, you are probably also experiencing some degree of Post-traumatic Stress from those situations. Then knowingly or unknowingly, you’re carrying buried memory or known as dissociative memory.
Many times a panic attack is not a panic attack because it is really the result of being triggered by a past abusive or traumatic experience. After studying the two the physiological reactions, they both produce very similar symptoms, emotionally, mentally and physically. It appears that the only difference between a panic attack reaction and being triggered by a flashback is perception. How a person is evaluated or medicated (or not) depends on how the person reports his or her symptoms. Unfortunately, a panic attack has become a catch-all diagnosis and very overused out of convenience.
Which is which?
At some point in time even years later after experiencing an abusive or traumatic situation, portions (flashbacks) or complete episodes of your dissociated memories will get triggered whether you like them to or not. They will surface out of dissociated storage, through the subconscious mind and begin to replay in your consciousness mind without your awareness. All you will feel is the emotional, mental, and physical reactions. Such common experiences are reported to helping professionals and diagnosed as a panic attack.
After close investigation of both panic attacks symptoms and symptoms of being triggered, there are not many differences. Notice when you are experiencing a sudden onset of emotional, mental and physical reactions and that they seem to come out of nowhere or for no reason.
How do you know which is which? Unfortunately, many times you only know after the fact. You know when to take your prescribed medication for panic attacks and nothing happens. No relief is experienced.
What is a trigger?
Definition of Trigger
A trigger is a sensory stimuli from the outside such as an emotion, a physical pain, a visual cue, a sound, a smell, a location or a touch which causes a recollection from the experience of the outside stimuli that connects to a complete memory or portion of a memory (flashback) and results in the surfacing of that recollection. The surfacing memory or flashback may have been held in the subconscious at a dissociated memory storage area in the brain. A trigger can be connected to a good or positive experience as well as a bad, negative or life-threatening experience.
How many times have you been able to recall an event by simply smelling something familiar or a feeling? Studies have found that an emotion or a smell has been said to be "the biggest triggers of memory."
8 (Eight) Types of Triggers
The eight types of triggers are:
How do you feel when you are triggered?
Your heart feels like it is going to beat out of your chest
Your heart rate becomes rapid
Sweating in every part of your body
Cold hands and feet but hot body core
Unusual smells for no reason
Tightening of your throat
Dry mouth and unable to say anything
Physically frozen and unable to do anything
Constriction of your visual field
Quick onset of fear or terror for no apparent reason
Can’t think clearly or concentrate
Quick onset of intense confusion
Episodes of dissociating
Quick onset of irritability
If you are honest with yourself and review all the aforementioned reactions, you will see that you are really experiencing subconsciously triggered flashback rather than going through a panic attack.
Is there hope? The answer is YES!
Physical Symptoms of Anxiety to Watch Out For
Physical symptoms of Anxiety:
Increased heart rate
Increased body temperature
Difficulty breathing - pressure or shallow breathing
4 Tips on Stopping Anxiety in its Tracks
1. Do not instantly dissociate. Focus on the moment and stay in the present for a while to see if it is a flashback or a real panic attack. Learn to use a visual cue, deep breathing or meditation to stay present.
2. Moderate your fear by not attempting to predict what may happen that has not yet happened.
3. Do not immediately take anti-anxiety (anti-anxiety) medication … rather develop a skill or a cue that keeps you in the moment. If the aforementioned reactions are a triggered flashback, then in 5 to 10 minutes, the reactions should dissipate.
4. Then stop, reflect and determine whether you are having a flashback or a panic attack. If the reactions do not dissipate, then utilize your anti-panic medication for relief.
Afterthoughts on Inner Power
Overall, recognition of your anxiety and self-determination will bring you greater mindfulness, inner power, and peace. Face your inner demons head on and your anxiety triggers will disappear. Understand your anxiety is an inner message, not a problem.