dealing with panic attacks

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Alpha's picture
dealing with panic attacks

Hi everybody
I sometimes become anxious because i know there is no evidence for any kind of afterlife for Homo sapiens.The Epicurus logic gives me a resistance to panic attack but sometimes it occurs and i have no control and since i don’t feel being understood much , it gets worse.

Any suggestions? I live in Iran.

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Nyarlathotep's picture
I don't really know what to

I don't really know what to tell you (I've never believed in an afterlife): but having read 1000s of posts from other atheists, it seems many others have described similar problems.

If these attacks are disrupting your life, perhaps you should see a doctor. I'm guessing in Iran telling a doctor about your "atheist related problems" might get you into serious trouble. I don't normally recommend lying to your doctor (or your lawyer!); but perhaps in your situation you could tell him your panicking about some other problem (finance problems, career problems, etc).

watchman's picture
@Alpha.....

@Alpha.....

Do not forget you re not the first to feel the way you do ….. but there are a very many great thinkers who have gone before us...read their words... look to them for support … my personal favourite is Marcus Aurelius.....

"Death is a release from the impressions of the senses, and from desires that make us their puppets, and from the vagaries of the mind, and from the hard service of the flesh."

"Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature's delight."
Marcus Aurelius

https://www.brainyquote.com/authors"
/marcus_aurelius

There are ,I'm afraid , no quick clean answers..... the realization of our own personal extinction is something each and every one of us must confront and come to terms with..... and each and every one of us will find different way of accommodating this.

Epicurus has it right...…

Why should I fear death? …..
If I am ,death is not .
If death is ,I am not ,

Why should I fear that which can only exist when I do not ?

Seek3R's picture
I might be able to give you

I might be able to give you an answer for this.

What is the cause of your panic attacks? Do you fear that afterlife might be true and you have messed up too much and it's too late? Is this the source of issues?

When I became an atheist, I knew nothing about atheism. The first question I asked my brother was that what will happen to my afterlife now? Now I wonder how stupid I was.

After thousand hours worth of research, I found out that "Hell" was a Greek myth which was invented to make the people do the right things and prevent them from doing the wrong things. Unfortunately, this myth found its way inside religion. Since Hell, the eternal bad place, was already invented, the religion just needed to invent the eternal good place. So, Heaven was invented.

Sounds fair enough?

Alpha's picture
No the cause of my fear is

No the cause of my fear is not that.There are some ideas like rebirth , heaven , mind uploading and ...
with no basis or not a good idea.I just want to live a good life...Richard Feynman was a super genious and an agnostic his whole life but near his death he was soo scared.That kind of fear i dont think comes from believing hell or having a bad life afterward but is fear of nonexistence.The fear that you won’t exist anymore not after 30 years but right now! The process of dying itself! and the question that when i will die? Is it right now???

Seek3R's picture
Perhaps that's what it's all

Perhaps that's what it's all about? Look, we're a machinery which is born, bloom and perish over time. There's nothing which lasts forever. This earth is moving toward its death too.

Everything will come to an end. What's to fear about this? This is not a hopeless situation but something which should motivate you to live your life fully and spend every day with the maximum potential. Laugh as much as you can, love as much as you can and enjoy sharing this life with those who share it with you.

Why be scared of death?

After death, we will become stardust. Do you know what's stardust? You should read about it. It's the simplified name of a scientific explanation of what exactly happens to our body after death. We don't have any souls or anything. That all is bullshit.

I will give you one advice though. Forget death. If you keep thinking about when death is going to come then you will waste this precious life too. We don't need to care about what happens after death but we are 100% sure that there is no shitty heaven or hell. There is no soul or a souls haven where we depart after death.

Have you ever realized how much messed up the world and beliefs have become due to religion? What if this is life i.e. born, bloom perish? What if that's all life is about? I think this is all life is about. It may be difficult to believe that we are going to die and never be remembered again but then this is all it's about.

Seek3R's picture
Perhaps that's what it's all

Perhaps that's what it's all about? Look, we're a machinery which is born, bloom and perish over time. There's nothing which lasts forever. This earth is moving toward its death too.

Everything will come to an end. What's to fear about this? This is not a hopeless situation but something which should motivate you to live your life fully and spend every day with the maximum potential. Laugh as much as you can, love as much as you can and enjoy sharing this life with those who share it with you.

Why be scared of death?

After death, we will become stardust. Do you know what's stardust? You should read about it. It's the simplified name of a scientific explanation of what exactly happens to our body after death. We don't have any souls or anything. That all is bullshit.

I will give you one advice though. Forget death. If you keep thinking about when death is going to come then you will waste this precious life too. We don't need to care about what happens after death but we are 100% sure that there is no shitty heaven or hell. There is no soul or a souls haven where we depart after death.

Have you ever realized how much messed up the world and beliefs have become due to religion? What if this is life i.e. born, bloom perish? What if that's all life is about? I think this is all life is about. It may be difficult to believe that we are going to die and never be remembered again but then this is all it's about.

David Killens's picture
I am assuming that you were

I am assuming that you were raised in a religious family. When you are indoctrinated from a very early age and this goes on for many, many years, it is a conditioning hard to shake off.

If (and I do not !!!) strike my dog when it is a puppy, if I just raise my hand up, years later, that dog will cower in fear.

When you experience those panic attacks, tell yourself that they are a direct result of many years of conditioning, that your anxieties and fears are a result of a lie.

We do not know what happens after our bodies stop working. No one can prove it, despite many claiming knowledge. We do not know, no one knows.

But we do know that almost all religions are based on fear of the afterlife, a powerful method to manipulate people based on fear. That does not mean there is an afterlife, but it does mean that your previous religion used that fear to control you.

You do not know if there is an afterlife, but you do know that right now, you are alive. So enjoy life, live it to it's fullest.

Cognostic's picture
I don't get it? Control

I don't get it? Control over what? Do you mean, "You are not being controlled?" "You are no longer a part of God's plan?" Allah is not the magic creator you thought he was and Muhammad never wrote a book or talked to an angel or flew a winged horse to the moon and split it in half. And because of that you feel out of control? How are you making any sense?

How does it occur "that you have no control" when what you have done is "gained control?" You no longer submit to Allah. You are no longer under the magical spell of Islam. Is it a lack of control you are feeling or the vast choice of freedom that lies before you. Without the wholly foolish Quaran and Islam to tell you what to do, you are now lost. Welcome to the real world. Adults get to make decisions that affect their own lives independent of religious thought.

Alpha's picture
No i didn’t say that i miss

No i didn’t say that i miss the days i believed those things and neither i want a scary god.I just can’t live in the moment sometimes.When im happy and everything is okay , there is no problem.But how about moments i feel sad and hopeless(with or without reason)? How about suicidal moments?

Muashkis's picture
Suicidal moments are a given

Suicidal moments are a given for anyone. Some get less of such thoughts, some get way too many.

For me, my curiosity alone is enough to keep such thoughts at bay. I just can't help but want to know, what else I might experience in life. Would it be worse, better, more or less painful... I feel like any experience I might come upon would be valuable. So much so, that I've been saying: "If it hurts, you're still alive." Especially when I used to land poorly after an unsuccessful back-flip or some other silly stunt like that in my late teens.

Well, it might take a bit of a masochist like me to enjoy even pain, but I do. I take any lesson that is given to me through life. And, as I said, I'm curious as FUCK! No way in hell am I gonna give up when I can still experience shit :) You would have to cripple me and rob me of all external senses for me to even consider giving up. But even then I'd probably figure out a way to learn even more! ( ^u^)

Cognostic's picture
@ Sad and hopeless without

@ Sad and hopeless without reason???

So why do you link this to religion or atheism? It sounds like depression? How long has it been since you gave up religion? Magical thinking. If feelings of depression are not common for you and you have only given up on religion fairly recently you are in the middle of a life changing event.; You are supposed to feel unsettled, out of control and a bit depressed. You are changing who you are as a human being.

You are no longer religious. That part of you has lost all significance. It no longer carries meaning for you. So what is going to take its place? Think of the time spent thinking about your religion. Think about the time spent praying, talking with religious friends, going to religious rituals, just listening to religious stuff. What do you do with all that time now?

My best guess would be that it is the lack of things to do that create the problem for you.

Education and intelligence are the bane of religions. You can fill your time visiting and talking with other Atheists. You can watch debates on YouTube. There are Audio Books as well. I can't tell you how many times I have listened to "God No" "God is not Great, How religion ruins everything." "The God Delusion." All this stuff is available to occupy your time.

Then look at your personal life. What hobbies do you have. Anyone who sits around the house all day and does nothing at all is going to be depressed. Join a club, do something active and you will not have time to be depressed.

Dan Morris's picture
Alpha! You are not alone!

Alpha! You are not alone! You have been given some good things to think about. Please see a doctor and allow them to prescribe something for your anxiety. I take Xanax and it has made such a difference. (Use the smallest dose possible) Sometimes we don't exactly know why we get panic attacks. Staying busy and reading is excellent advice. My doctor did not ask for details of what was bothering me. All she needed to know is that they were happening. Becoming an atheist has been such an exciting and enlightening choice in my life! I have been spending a lot of time re-discovering the world around me. Being able to put these words down and share with open minds has made a big difference to me.

CyberLN's picture
Fear is a natural emotion.

Fear is a natural emotion. It happens. We all experience it from time to time about a variety of things. So when it happens, let it. Acknowledge it. It’s perfectly ok to say, “yep, I’m afraid of x right now.” Trying to suppress it will likely make if worse. The fear will pass. It always has, eh?

David Killens's picture
My personal method to deal

My personal method to deal with fear and anxiety is to place it into one of two categories. If I can fix it, then I do. For example, did I leave the stove on when I went out? And if that anxiety persists, I will place a note on the inside of the door reminding me to check the stove.

If I can not deal with something, then I can not fix it. It is out of my control. So why worry, there is nothing I can do but worry. And that just makes things a lot worse.

There are rational fears, and there are irrational fears. Figure out what your fear is, whether you can fix it, then move on. Living with fear just gives one ulcers and makes life worse than it should be.

Dan Morris's picture
Thank you.

Thank you.

What I experience is different from just being afraid of something. For me it's more like my mind is in overdrive and I can't seem to gear it down. If I lay down to sleep, I feel as if I'm suffocating and have to get up and move. After several hours of not being able to sleep, the panic intensifies. One small dose of my med. Is like a switch has been turned and I calm down.
Moving on and not worrying is good advice. However, life happens.

arakish's picture
@ Dan Morris (and others

@ Dan Morris (and others interested...)

Just a suggestion. Study up real hard on meditation and biofeedback techniques. They have been of tremendous help for me for I still suffer from night terrors occasionally.

Additionally, study up on what causes the panic attacks. I do not suffer them anymore. Well maybe once a year, but knowing what causes them can give you the "forewarned is forearmed" help needed. I still suffer from a combination of Adult ADHD and C-PTSD. A nasty combination to say the least.

However, after doing a research paper into PTSD and its "Complex" cousin helped me tremendously. As said, it gave me the knowledge to understand what I am suffering and the knowledge of how to deal with it.

To me, just going on what you have posted, it sounds like you suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder. Of course, I shall be the first to admit I may be wrong. Part of the symptoms of PTSD is Social Anxiety Disorder, and I do recognize them. I hate being around large groups of people except in two circumstances: classroom and a lecture/debate thing where I am speaking. I cannot attend a lecture/debate where I am just an observer, but I can get up in front of an audience and speak. Go figure. Unlike most persons, my greatest fears in speaking comes AFTER I have spoken. Crazy, huh? I cannot understand why I am not fearful getting up in front of the audience and speaking and yet feel exhilarated. Yet, after I am finished and sit down, that is when the anxieties hit like a triple-T (Tractor Trailer Truck.

Anyway, try looking into the meditation and biofeedback. It may or may not help. It helped me.

rmfr

Edit: fixed strong tag

David Killens's picture
@ Dan Morris

@ Dan Morris

I suggest you start small and learn this habit.

If you are laying in bed staring at the ceiling, thoughts racing through your head, ask yourself this simple question.

"is there anything I can do this moment, this night to have any effect on my concerns?"

If the answer is yes, then get up and deal with the issue. And if not, then since there's nothing you can do about it, go to sleep.

Sure life happens and I do not advocate procrastination. But if you are not able to deal with the issue immediately, why work yourself into an ulcer?

Dan Morris's picture
True, but it seems to be more

True, but it seems to be more biological. Logic doesn't help during these episodes. I rationalize to just settle down and get control, but easier said than done. Maybe it's subconscious or something of that nature. I don't consider myself a worrisome person. I have concerns the same as anyone, but not what I would consider too unusual to deal with. Someone who has experienced this sort of thing can understand the out of control feeling. It's not a conscious choice I can make to stop it. I am strong minded and not afraid to speak my mind, and don't mind hearing a dissenting point of view. We learn that way, right?

Alpha's picture
Yeah ,i think only robots and

Yeah ,i think only robots and computers have the potential to remain logical independent of time and space.However i think David Killen's logic is practical for most of the times.Cog has a good point too , I'm weak at socializing and think too much while being alone that stops me from doing activities i like!!! That's a reason and a catalyzer for anxiety and depression :)).

David Killens's picture
What I am describing is a

What I am describing is a tool, a method to deal with anxieties and the thoughts that keep us up at night. And you can not learn it or train yourself overnight. I wish I could just flip a switch, but we aren't built that way. That is why I suggested you start small, to train yourself to use this method.

For myself, it took years before I finally had things more manageable. There was even a period that had my wife wondering, I would sit down and start writing on a pad, just before bedtime. But what I was doing was organizing my thoughts on paper, and identifying what I could do, and when. Then, as I lay in bed and my thoughts would race, I referenced my list, and checked off each item. I was training my thought process to deal with my anxieties and concerns.

arakish's picture
And as David said, it took me

And as David said, it took me more than a decade. As he previously mentioned, it is basically like a thousand mile journey. It begins with the first step and taking it step by step.

rmfr

Dan Morris's picture
I appreciate your suggestions

I appreciate your suggestions. I'll give it my best effort. I can see how writing things down can help. Since I've been using these forums, I've been encouraged and found myself in a better mood.

Thanks

David Killens's picture
I really wish I could offer

I really wish I could offer an instant and easy solution Dan. Our brains may be the coolest and best tool we have, but at times it can also be our worst enemy. And I have been down that painful road of anxieties, panic attacks, and sleepless nights. Sadly, I have also been down the sad road of attempting almost any solution. I drank booze until I passed out, I have abused illegal drugs just to find some sleep. And my use of prescription drugs has run the full gamut from my doctor's simple prescription of Xanax and others, to a cocktail of six medicines prescribed by a psychiatrist.

But for me, the solution was to go through what I described, to examine and break down my concerns and basically ask myself the simple question "is there anything I can do about this right now?" I would make notes of things to do in the morning before I went to bed, and after a few years, I finally reached the state where my concerns do not cause me sleepless nights or frequent panic attacks. At most, I now suffer two or three panic attacks a year, and they are generated by unexpected and sudden occurrences.

Right now I live without any medication, and the abuse of alcohol or drugs is non-existent. It didn't come overnight, it was a very long and painful journey to get to this point. Dan, I really hope you find a solution.

You are not alone in this kind of suffering, and there are many people who sincerely desire that you, and everyone else inflicted with these problems find a solution.

LogicFTW's picture
Great to hear you made so

Great to hear you made so much progress David Killens.

Sounds like you faced your problems head on and solved them. Not easy, but got you real results.

Dan Morris's picture
Thanks, by the way, Monte

Thanks, by the way, Monte python is a favorite in my movie library. Especially the killer bunny!

Tin-Man's picture
@Dan

@Dan

What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

arakish's picture
@ Tin-Man

@ Tin-Man

Need more input. Speed describes only how fast. Velocity is both how fast and which direction. ;-P

rmfr

Tin-Man's picture
@Arakish

@Arakish

Here ya go... (lol)

https://youtu.be/emqygpuJI_A

Dan Morris's picture
A Canadian swallow or an

A Canadian swallow or an American swallow?

Tin-Man's picture
@Dan Re: "A Canadian

@Dan Re: "A Canadian swallow or an American swallow?"

What?... I don't know tha-...*launched into the abyss by unseen force*.... Yyyyooooooooooowl.....!!!

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