I had my first diagnosed panic attack on the NYC subway, on my way to work, when I was 21 years old. For the next two decades, I analyzed various triggers and tried to decipher the puzzle, of which panic attacks are just one piece. Hypochondria is another one, which, like a bully tends to edge the panic on.
I’ve also noted in reviewing past panic files, it is safe to declare, the busier I was, the fewer the [time for] attacks.
One of the goals of my 365-essay-a-day project is to occupy my brain in a perpetual state of distraction. I’m constantly thinking of today’s essay and this takes me outside myself to realize what a small speck I am on this planet. A key to being a successful writer is the ability to take yourself out of focus, and become an observer and storyteller. My mantra is to “tell worthy stories about the human condition using examples from my life” and this requires me to take myself out of the equation and examine how my experience relates to a bigger picture. I’m analyzing past behaviors and deciphering reasons which drove them and this may involve confronting memories which require closure or else releasing ones which burden me.
Meditation is known to rewire your brain; I hope to use my writing to cure my hypochondriac thoughts, will I cure myself?
Instead of nurturing these fears, I want to retrain my reflexes. On occasion I’ve attempted to journal during a panic attack and it never brought me relief. This is because the exercise was reactive writing instead of a proactive writing approach to a cure.
I am not writing to stave off panic attacks as much as to clear my head of every experience which inadvertently drove me to become this paranoid self-diagnostician. I am writing because instead of feeding those inner demons, I have decided to free them.