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Shark Attacks, Panic Attacks And Anxiety
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Shark Attacks, Panic Attacks And Anxiety

Imagine you're on vacation.

You and your young family are at the beach. The warm, salty breeze is blowing through your hair, the wet sand squishes between your toes, and the seagulls call out as they inspect the salty water below for fish. The sun is intense, and the sunscreen you applied a few hours prior is starting to fade. As you return to your possessions further up the beach, you slide under the shady umbrella, seeking a break from the sun. You grab your sunscreen as you glance at your daughter who is playing in the ocean water.

It's at that moment when you realize that this is the relaxation you've needed for a long time.

Then you see it.

A large dark shadow is barreling towards your daughter. You look in disbelief as this torpedo- homed in on it's target- is traversing through the water with ease. Your heart starts to race and a cold sweat begins. You know what it is, but you don't want to believe it. You run towards your daughter but the only thing on your mind is how you'll never make it in time.

The beast is fast and you're in his territory now. Fear comes upon you like a heavy blanket. You scream, your lungs gasping for air "Get out of the water! Get out of the water!" You're getting closer but your mind instinctively tries to compute the calculations- who will get there first? You start to think how easily you would sacrifice yourself if only you could make it in time.

The creature is closing in fast but the waves are big and strong. One of the wave catches the path of the beast and interrupts it just a bit. This is your chance- this is the moment.

The fear you feel is full scale now.

Mostly, you fear the life afterwards if you don't make it in time. The whole world is starting to crash in on you as you see the fin pierce through the foamy water- it's much bigger than you ever anticipated. You can almost see the black, soulless eyes through the sand-stirred water. Your daughter now realizes the danger she is in and struggles to gain traction on the sandy floor as she screams for you. You're ten yards away from her, the beast is 15 ,maybe 20.

You don't want to live anymore and the only thing that keeps you in the fight is the instinctive care for your daughter. The adrenaline has taken over as you grab for her arm. Your grip is tight. You jerk your daughter back towards shore and you see a nasty mouth open wide.

You see the rows of jagged teeth and pink fleshy gums. There's no guessing now- your worst nightmare is now reality- it's a shark. It's jaws are closing and you're wondering if it's still too late. As you give one last heave towards the shore as your body spins around. Your back now faces the relentless shark and the ocean it calls home. You hear the clatter of teeth as you sling your daughter towards safety. The shark nearly beaches itself in the shallow waters. Your daughter is safe and you watch the shark wiggle his way back into the waves to hunt his next pray.

You lay exhausted in one inch deep water, the waves slowly rocking your body back and forth. The fight is over but the fear is still there. Your chest hurts. The tightness squeezes you as you search for air.

Fear.

The feeling is deep within every fiber of your being. You can't let it go.

You start to hyperventilate as the life guards arrive. They administer oxygen and begin the examination but nothing can calm you- you've never been more scared in your life...

What is Anxiety?

So you might be wondering what the short story above has to do with anxiety.

Can you imagine if you take the level of fear the parent in the story above suffered and mix it into everyday life.

Imagine your sitting at the office on a Friday, all of your work is completed for the week, and your waiting to take off for the weekend. Then add the level of fear suffered from the shark attack into a day that should be ordinary. It hits you all at once, you can't control it, and you can't understand why it's happening because there is no reason for it.

Welcome to the panic attack. In my opinion, the worst symptom of anxiety.

In a nutshell, anxiety is just feeling extreme fear, overly stressed, or overly worried when there is no reason too. When your brain is functioning properly and you're in a life threatening situation, your brain will raise your heart rate, adrenaline and stress level to help deal with the situation at hand.

So, when all this happens and and your not in a life threatening situation, your brain is just making a mistake. You are having a short circuit so to speak. You have to tell your brain, "Hey Dummy, you're making a mistake here. I'm at grandma's house eating pie and watching the birds chirp. I'm not being attacked by a shark."


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