Many people who experience panic attacks don’t call them by that name. Often, people think they are dying, losing their minds or experiencing heart attacks. It has been estimated that more than six million people in this country have experienced panic attacks, but most sources say that statistic is actually higher. From the number of people who contact Health Journeys with questions or comments on the subject of panic and anxiety, we can assume that a large number of people of varied backgrounds are troubled by symptoms of panic and anxiety that interfere with their daily activities.
We have received letters from people whose panic and anxiety prevented them from passing exams, flying, driving, engaging in relationships, working and numerous other routine activities. We even had a letter from a woman who obtained her PhD, but experienced paralyzing panic that prevented her from moving forward in her career.
On the up side, we have also received letters of thanks and comments from survivors of panic and anxiety disorders, who point out that guided imagery played an important part in their recovery. One law student, who had failed the bar exam on past occasions, due to anxiety, wrote Belleruth to thank her when he passed the exam with the help of guided imagery. Some of the titles people have used include: Health Journeys’ Panic Attacks, Erin Olivo’s Free Yourself From Anxiety, and Dr. Emmett Miller’s Freeing Yourself From Fear. Health Journeys’ Healthful Sleep is also a staple for those experiencing panic or anxiety.
In her blog post, How I Overcame a Panic Disorder, author Priscilla Warner writes, “While I was flying across the country on an extended book tour, trying not to panic, I’d listen to Belleruth’s CD’s. I was one of the people Belleruth describes as not having the ‘oomph’ to do mindfulness meditation, but I trusted her to transport me to a safe, calm place. In fact, I called her my gateway drug, and I became hooked on the feeling that I could calm myself down.”
On several recent occasions, Belleruth has mentioned Warner, who co-authored The Faith Club, which made the New York Times Bestseller List. Warner contacted Belleruth after overcoming her own panic disorder, exacerbated by her two-year book tour for The Faith Club. Read about it in Belleruth’s article, Learning to Breathe: The Book that Takes You from Panic to Peace.
Warner’s recent book, Learning to Breathe—My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life, was written about her journey to overcome her 40-year panic disorder. “My goal was to change by brain from that of a neurotic Jewess to a serene Tibetan Monk,”
Warner wrote in her e-mail to Belleruth about that journey and writing the book, which explains some of the many modalities she used to overcome her panic disorder.
From Warner’s book and the many letters we receive from survivors of panic and anxiety disorders, we know there is hope and healing for those who feel they are in the grip of terror that can strike out of the blue at any moment. “The six million people in America who suffer from panic disorders and the millions more who suffer from a variety of anxiety disorders should know that they are survivors,” Warner writes in her blog post. “Perhaps over-survivors.”