At best I can tell you that nobody has ever died from a panic attack. It won't happen to you or anybody else. The body just goes into a defensive mode once the mind senses danger. Danger that isn't really there. But to us it is real. Bit like a cat when it sees a dog and all its fur stands up and it goes up on all four paws. The body is ready for a fight. Hence you may feel certain symptoms. Sweats, Chills, sick at times. It can vary from person to person. As the blood rushes to the parts of the body the brains tells it that it is needed most. Your hands might feel cold. As the blood may run from them to elsewhere in your body. All just for protection. All brough on by panic. And our own minds telling the body that we are in danger. I am sure that should have been in some of the books? Fight or flight. Most times we flee. Hence we feel as we do. But you can link everything together. Your mood is one of feeling down maybe, your thought maybe ' oh, not this again ', your reaction may be to begin to pace the house, thus that in turn brings on your symptoms. So the whole idea is to try and change the thought or the reaction. That would have a knock on effect on the others areas. But for this to happen we don't flee. We stay and fight. Let the feelings hit. See that they can pass just as they came on. Hard at first. But with some practice it does get a lot easier. No idea if this is the sort of help you are looking for. But even keep a journal of the mood, thought, reaction and symptoms and you will find a pattern over the course of a week or two and see where you have to try and make changes to make things right again.
MrGreen has given you excellent insights, advice and coping techniques and I can't add much to what he's told you.
I back him up, very strongly, regarding your fear that your anxiety is going to kill you. NOBODY has died from anxiety or panic. I know, only too well, that it sure as hell feels like were going to, but I've had panic attacks for 40+ years and I'm still here!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with self-help books. I personally think they are excellent tools to help us cope. But if they aren't doing enough, then it may be time to look into some therapy.
Mr G is a hard act to follow. But here is my take on your question. Hope it helps.
First: throw out the self-help books. Not saying that you won't find reassurance in one, but I never have, and I am a veteran of the agoraphobia wars. About 30 yrs of various treatments. I am a retired librarian and love literature; have many books scattered about my apartment: The Art of Happiness is the only non fiction I'm scanning now.
Second: Best ideas I've gotten for how to face anxiety/panic attacks come from bios or well written fiction. An example: First rule of the universe: don't panic!. A well known phrase from science fiction novel. The other source of help has come from others who live with same disorder.
Third: The self help books I've seen oversimplify: reading the upbeat words may discourage you further: the mind gets stuck on whatever you've read, and unpleasant emotions follow. Taking a short walk is preferable: the slightest exercise will help with panic: the fight/flight urges.
I keep a journal: no one looking at the current one would guess that all the scribble is important...LOL. Generally, I toss mine after awhile, but definitely feel lost without a tablet: I buy the cheap, fat, college-lined ones @ Walgreens.
Glad you posted your concerns. Keep talking to us. Hope our experiences will help.
As a sister literary buff..........(I own over 2000 books) my house is a bit more than "scattered" with them! I wonder if there is a term for those of us who hoard books? Perhaps you and I could start a new forum........anyway, I just have to disagree slightly with you about throwing out his self-help books simply because you found no help in them. I DO agree that the vast majority of them are full of "let's all just be happy crap," but there ARE some very intelligently written ones out there.
I have an extremely old, yellowed and dog-eared self-help book that was issued back in the early 80's by Dr. Mark Gold. Reading it now borders on the humorous considering how far we have come in our knowledge of anxiety/panic/depression/OCD/agoraphobia et al., as well as the pharmacological and psychological treatments that have come out of that knowledge. But that book, at one time, was the only thing that convinced me I wasn't going insane and it was the first time I learned that there were breathing techniques I could do that would help me. (And they did) That book is like an old and trusted friend.
If somebody can find, as you said, "reassurance in one," then it was well worth the read.
Don't want to get into a squabble, we all have our opinions, and I agree with many of yours................I just don't think all self-help books deserve the Fahrenheit 451 treatment.
So many books...........so little time!
THANKS for your comments but how do I get out of my particular mindset at this point that is causing this prolonged intense period of acute anxiety? All the deep breathing exercises in the world aint helping and no amount of acceptance seems to be working?
Your mindset seems to be what is in these books. So feck what you read in the books. Pretend you never read any of that at all and start all over again. You have to find a way that suits you best. Be it some form of distraction to take you mind off of thinking inwardly. Get yourself an MP3 player or something. Blast some music out. Find a hobby. Your mind won't be on how you are breathing. That will just happen. As it happening now you are focused on how you breath and probably your pulse and your heart beat. You have read things to do to get these under control. But in doing so you have become trapped. Because none of it works. We all have to find our own ways of dealing with our own situations. Things that fit the bill with us. There must be at least one thing you like doing? Writing? Drawing? Anything at all. Just to get your focus off of yourself. Right now you are only thinking of you and the bad things about you. The bad things going on in your life. That is what you have to distract yourself from doing. Find a method. Anything at all. Writers create their own methods. You can do the exact same thing. Once it works for you.