Author: Riley West
The first time I had a panic attack I was getting on an airplane! That was my worst flight ever and my life was not the same for several years. I got a handle on it, though, and it went away. Yes, it can go away.
For me the panic attacks lasted several years, about 5 or 6. I fought them every way I could think of including alcohol, running, meditating, and various other things.
When I think back it looks like panic attacks couldn't possibly have entered my life. I was a risk taker.
I was a boxer. I was an airplane pilot. I was a horseman for years in Montana. I still ride motorcycles!
I was never bullied and I wasn't intimidated. No one ever picked on me and I sure as heck wasn't a sissy.
I went through High School in Montana and went into college there, too. I had a great time with the classes and the girls and I married a real sweetheart.
Now, I have been nervous many times, but I wasn't prepared for what a panic attack could do to you.
I was 30 years old, six-foot-two and 190 pounds. I was in great shape! The panic attacks struck suddenly, seemingly from nowhere.
I had been operating my businesses for 6 years by this time. I was at a convention in L.A. and a friend drove me to LAX so I could go back to Oregon, the rugged Northwest and my family.
I was sitting in the waiting area watching the incredible variety of people you see at LAX when I heard the boarding call.
At this time I had been an aircraft pilot for 6 years and had my own aircraft. If I had flown my own plane down it would have been a lot better trip.
I got in line. We started moving toward the tunnel to board the plane when something "went off" in my stomach. I was suddenly VERY uneasy. Within seconds I wanted to run but I thought I was crazy AND I didn't want anyone else to know.
Somehow I got on that plane. By now the panic attack was in full bloom. I was pouring sweat. I was shaking. I was afraid...but not afraid of something that made sense. I really felt like I could die right there, right then. The fear was immense and made me feel crazy because, as near as I could tell, there was no reason for this.
Something was wrong with me! I was OK an hour ago and now I'm losing it. I was afraid I'd have to panic further and demand they land and let me off. I wanted to run.
I sat there, in my window seat, looking out at the scenery, like I used to love to do, but now all I had were legions of confused, evil feeling ideas swirling around inside my head.
I had to keep them in there. I couldn't let anybody know! When the Flight attendants approached me I didn't look up and just shook my head.
That was the longest flight of my life even though it was less than two hours. I had thought about jumping out. I thought about my family, my wife, and my kids. I tried to force myself to only think about positive things and, about an hour and a half after the panic attack started, it started to fade...slowly.
I was so happy and relieved. I began to worry that it would return! For the rest of the flight, panic was coming at me or going away.
When I got on the ground I went straight to the bar and drank a double of whisky.
I got my baggage and walked out to the car. I was going like "Where in Hell did that come from!" Then, suddenly, it tried to come back! So I stuffed it.
When I got home I didn't tell my wife about it.
In the morning everything looked OK and I let it ride. Until the panic attacks returned. I couldn't get onto an elevator. I couldn't meet with business associates in a closed room. I made a LOT of excuses.
The next years were hard to get through. I tried everything I could. I knew what they were now, but I didn't know how to get rid of them, until I fell across a book that I can't recall the name of.
I went down by the river in my little sports car to read the book. When I read a description of a person's panic attack, it made me cry. It had several therapies, mostly mind work and meditating, and some phrases to repeat. It took a while but I felt immediate partial relief and encouragement.
The panic attacks were the scariest things I had ever dealt with up till then and the idea of them coming back was chilling. But they never did.
Later, I found out that once you get these things to leave you can get rid of them at will. Once you are to that point, the fear of the attacks returning loses it's power and you can start living a full life again.
You'll be OK...don't worry!
Copyright © 2009 Riley West
Plain text version of your resource box: Riley West had real struggles with anxiety and panic attacks! Later, Riley ran across J. Barry McDonagh, the foremost expert on panic attacks. Mr. McDonagh developed a program to cure panic attacks. Find your cure at http://rwestdotcom.com/panicaway.html