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It does seem to be that you need to have suffered a panic attack to understand anothers experience. What is annoying about an attack is that to help gain some normality you have to check your breathing. Your breathing is the one thing that keeps you alive and when you're not breathing right or feel you cant breathe your mortality is threatened (in your head). Who wouldn't be frightened? I have found that a lot of material I have used to correct this breathing actually can sometimes make me worse. Why? Because I have to concentrate on my breathing which brings its bad condition to the fore. I realise how I can't get a deep breath in and that worries me. I have had to abandon a relaxation or meditation cd many a time because I was not too bad when I started but focusing on the breathing actually made me feel worse.
My conclusion was that I must actively be thinking good breathing as much as possible all day. Practice makes perfect and all that. Your in breath should always be at least a couple of seconds shorter than your out breath. Expel to the full. Its early days for me but the bad breathing (which then leads often to chest pain - am I going to drop down dead of a heart attack?), has got to be one of the catalysts for so many of the other sensations. I think we are all worried about the sensations, they threaten our life (we think) but the bottom line is they are only sensations not symptoms (Linden).
It's too late when the sensations come to do anything other than accept it (Weekes). To fight the sensations exacerbates the fear thus making the sensations worse and more prolonged. Claire Weekes calles it first fear and second fear. The first fear is the foreboding feeling you get at the first sign of excess stress. Everybody in the world gets this when faced with something fearful or something that causes anxiety. It is this fear Claire beleives that must be cured. The second fear (panic attack with all sensations) is only brought on by the way our brain deals with the first fear. So theory being , if you can crack the first fear by not allowing it to bring thoughts like "what if" and "oh god, I am going to have a panic attack" etc the second fear (the worst one) will not happen.
Am I making sense? It all sounds too easy doesnt it? I am working hard on it and boy is it hard work? You have to be absolutely consistent, ruthless about you changing your thoughts in those early stages. We straight away give the panic power by those early thoughts, the sensations will not come if you dont give them fuel to come. We suffer from hypersensitivity.
In a normal person, for example facing a job interview. Sure, he gets a little nervous about it, its natural. He hasnt suffered blinding panic before so he has no pre conceived ideas about how bad the situation can become. So hes's nervous leading up to the interview, realises once he's in the interview room that its not so bad after all and comes out the other side feeling fine, probably even optimistic. He is not over sentitized and his brain isnt programmed to set up those sensations.
Panic attack sufferers would have all this weighed up days before the interview. They started out normal nervous but this builds up until the day of the interview when he has already had thoughts of the "what ifs" and has played out the scenario in his brain which will always include the symptoms of panic, the embarrassment he will feel, the doom and gloom of the behaviour he is sure will happen . Lo and behold it does and it will. He set it up because of past experience.
My point being until you can cure the "what ifs" , the fear of the fear,you will not get well. Address the first fear as I am trying to do and I belive you will cure the second and most powerful one, the one that stops you from living a normal life.

Sorry this is long but I do hope it makes sense and is of some help.

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