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5 Truths About Panic Attacks (from somebody who has had hundreds of them)

If you aren’t familiar with my story, I struggled with severe panic disorder and agoraphobia for fifteen years. And during that time, I experienced hundreds of panic attacks (sometimes, even multiple a day)! I spent those years living in fear of the thoughts and sensations that came along with panic.

After struggling for so long, my life began to revolve around the question “How can I not panic?”. And, for obvious reasons, this question made my life become really, really small. The panic would cause me to constantly worry about something bad happening, being alone, feeling trapped, and even losing control. But if I knew back then what I know now, I wouldn’t have struggled for so long. Because I would have known that all along, I was safe. So many of my responses to the anxious sensations were actually what was keeping me stuck.

I know these five truths will help you get unstuck, and even help you to stop engaging in unhelpful behaviors (more on that later!). If I could go back, this is exactly what I would tell younger Shannon when she was struggling. But before we get started, I want you to know that panic attack recovery is possible. It was possible for me, even though I never believed it would be! And it's been possible for many of my clients and students. But panic attack recovery doesn’t mean you’ll never have a panic attack again. It means you will learn that you are safe, even if you have a panic attack.