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Fear of the Boogeyman

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Remember the Boogeyman? How he hid under your bed, waiting for your foot to slip out from under the covers so he could snack on your toes. You laid in bed awake, body aching and stiff, petrified of even rolling over lest you come face to face with him and his evil, hungry grin. You swore to your parents he was real, and he was waiting...
As an adult we say nah! No Boogeyman under under the bed. Checked the closets and the shower just to make sure too. But what about our heads? Could he be hiding there?
For some of us, that seems to be the case. And instead of snacking on our toes he's munching out on our mental health.
Panic may seem irrational for some, but it's a real battle real people face every day. You might feel like you're going crazy, wondering why something as simple as a movie theater or a class gathering could cause so much stress. Sometimes, we're panicking over all, and it makes us feel even more afraid that there's something wrong with us. Don't commit yourself to the psych ward just yet; panic attacks can be controlled, and learning the triggers and making positive changes can help to stop them when they come and lower the frequency they happen.

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The thing about panic is that it literally is all in your head. The brain for some crazy reason is choosing to sputter out of control, constantly alerting your body to nonexistent danger. Doesn't make much sense considering that I myself have never had death-like chest pains from rational fears, but that's just part of the cruel trickery of anxiety.
You can't just think the anxiety away, but it certainly helps. The sudden appearance of a panic attack send the mind into such a whirlwind of thoughts: holy crap I'm dying, this is the end, I can't believe I'm about to die in my underwear... It's hard to get a grip on yourself and make it stop.
Most of the time I feel it coming on slowly enough to fend it off. It always starts as a tight, burning sensation in my sternum area, and I pray to God it's heartburn. When I start to feel the muscle pain in my back I know it's panic. Typically I'll get up and find ANYTHING else to do besides whatever it was I was doing. I focus on the new task, completely ignoring the pain while it's still weak. I'm fortunate enough to have this work pretty often. I think I would have almost twice as many full blown panic attacks if I wasn't able to stop some of the smaller ones.
It's not always easy, but I promise it's not forever. If you're able to take enough control of your brain to shake it off, you're already off to a great start to ending panic. The important thing to remember is to bury your fearful, negative thoughts under strong and positive ones. Train your brain to automatically go against fear. Little by little you'll overcome sudden panic, and from there you'll conquer anxiety.
Fight the Boogeyman. You're not crazy for being afraid; you're crazy if you don't believe you're brave.

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