Severe stress1. The biology of panic states.
Both anxiety and panic are severe stress and both involve fear but they are not the same thing. Medical sites on the net attribute them both to anxiety and acknowledge physical symptoms in both cases. However they consider those symptoms as being coincidental and not of any real concern. I have found that the medical considerations of panic and anxiety are wrong. We only need to examine the biology to find that panic and anxiety are very different. This is not surprising since the ideas involved, with the exception of the idea of danger, are different. And they are hardly trivial nor a mental disorder. There are situations in life (not in cheats) where a person may become apprehensive or even moderately fearful about some future danger. However in a cheat the danger is always current. So while the ideas may signify some future danger, the real danger that the person perceives and which moves the body to fear is current. And it is also true to say that where there is no cheat the conditions of panic and anxiety are not serious. However where cheats are involved both panic and anxiety can lead to serious damage, especially of the heart and even death.
With respect to the fear there are differences. Fear constitutes a whole range of conditions from apprehension (fearful anticipation) to terror. Anxiety involves midrange fears where as panic involves fears that are at the extreme end of the scale.
How are anxiety and panic different?
The most striking difference is that the idea of danger in anxiety is most often not immediate, whereas in panic states the ideas are both intense and immediate. Thus anxiety is more often a future condition that is threatening or troubling but it can also be a current or past condition. Manufacture guilt uses a past or present condition, where as in the example of the woman interviewing babysitters her concern was of a future problem for her child if she chose the wrong baby-sitter. Panic on the other hand is a feeling of doom, of some dire condition closing in on the person. So the intensity of the fear is a difference. But this is a relatively small difference as far as the biology is concerned because it is not a difference in type or kind but only in degree.
The biggest difference however between anxiety and panic, which causes major differences in the biology, has to do with ideas that give rise to changes in body function. We gets a hint of that when we realize that panic can to some extent be controlled even without knowledge of the cheats whereas anxiety cannot. Both panic and anxiety involve ideas and their corresponding somatic conditions. These ideas and bodily conditions are concurrent with the fear. In anxiety the idea gives rise to worry, which complicates the biological picture immensely. In panic however, even though more severe fear is involved, the biological picture is simpler and easily managed. The reason is that the idea that leads to panic is an effort to get rid of the fear, which the person cannot understand nor explain. Most people will believe that the fear is imaginary or mistaken so they will use denial. The person says to themselves “this fear can’t be real” or “it’s not real”. Denial however is not the immediate cause of the somatic reactivity. The person takes independent physical action as a result of an idea of denial. It is not the idea of denial that gives rise to action in the body, which is the case in worry for instance. So in managing panic the person only needs to accept the fear even though they don’t understand it or believes it to be mistaken. If you stay with the fear and not try to escape it you can manage the condition enough not to panic.
In anxiety on the other hand the idea in mind, ideas of perplexity or troubling ideas, are the instigators of the concurrent biological situation. The reason is that the person becomes involved in thinking through the problem to arrive at a solution and as I will explain in the next page, it gives rise to a biological problem. So there are no ways of managing the situation. So we need to answer the questions..
* What makes panic manageable? and
* Why is anxiety unmanageable without understanding the cheat?
The biology of the panic states.
The somatic condition in panic states and seen most dramatically in panic attack is the use of a coping habit. When a person believes the fear is unwarranted and says “it is not real”, they are denying their direct mental perception (or ESP) of danger. And remember in the cheat it is people who are entangled with the victim that are posing danger so the detection of that danger is not going to be through sensory means but through direct mental means or ESP. The medicos claim that if there is no apparent cause, which means there is no physical evidence that you can see or hear or smell etc, then there is no real danger. They say that it is “just an idea” and of course a delusory one since they deny ESP and hence they go one to claim that it is a brain malfunction. Hey the machine just malfunctioned! And furthermore they see a person’s desire for a comfort zone to be natural and even desirable.
There are many ways that can be used to cope with stress and all of those methods work to some extent. And it is worth deviating here for a short while to discuss these. All of them are ways of self-medicating. The main ones are:
- the use of digestion. Why digestion? And in particular why the digestion of something fatty or greasy? Digestion is facilitated by the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). This is the same nervous system that facilitates rest. So if you eat something you will activate the PNS. The PNS also facilitates the digestion of greasy and fatty foods because it is help the release of bile into the first part of the small intestine for that purpose. And as the digestion of fats comes late in the digestion process, then eating something fatty will help keep a high PNS tone for longer.
- the use of substances such as alcohol and drugs (both legal and illegal). These have many and varied effects depending on what is used. Alcohol is a successful applicant to deal with the stress that involves anger. However it may do so either by overcoming the anger by reaching a more pleasant state or by the release of anger through violence. Drugs too may deal with anger but not fear states because the person only becomes more fearful and paranoid since the drugs or alcohol reduce their ability to address the danger.
- the use of sex. Sex involves the release of tension. The person reaches a state of deep rest after orgasm so some people will use this in handling stress. Stress involving anger is successfully addressed but not so with high fear states because fear declines sexuality.
- the use of gambling. This is also a mechanism of reaching rest states. It involves raising the tension to a high level and that leads to release after the event of a bet, whether there is a win or lose situation.
- the use of shopping. Shopping involves a number of conditions one of which is distraction. However it also creates anticipation while the person is looking around to buy something and then satisfaction when an object is bought. Thus again tension and its release are used and can be successful in triggering the body to release the tension created by stress.
- the use of self harming. Self harming is an extreme and really desperate form of handling stress but one that is seen more commonly nowadays than in decades past. To understand this we need to appreciate that stress that involves anger states can be released by artificial triggers such as sex, gambling and shopping etc., while the stress that involves high levels of fear is not easily released. However the body does treat wounds as more critical than danger in some cases. So the fear can be released if the body needs to move to urgent attend to a wound or wounds.
And all of these methods of coping address stress
but there are another two that are even more common and perhaps even universal.
- The sedentary lifestyle. The person is slow or inactive where ever possible and maybe even lethargic some of the time. They prefer activities that do not require much physical effort. Many of these people are labelled as lazy. However the underlying cause is a hypoactive thyroid gland and that is caused by shallow breathing.
- The active lifestyle. The person is highly active most of the time and foregoes taking rest or adequate rest. They are on the go most of the time. These people may take part in a great deal of exercise in order to burn off the high energy produced in their bodies. These people have a hyperactive thyroid and that is caused by deeper breathing than necessary in ordinary everyday life activities.
Where the first group of coping habits are not available where there is a sudden and urgent need to address stress, these last two can be used. Indeed they can be easily used because they involve habitual breathing patterns. I discovered differences in people’s breathing in the first instance when I trained in aikido. To gain the advantage over your opponent you need to take action while they are taking an in-breath. We act on an out-breath so while a person is taking an in-breath they have no power. To gain the right timing you need to be able to follow your opponent’s breathing. It was then that I noticed two distinctly different types of breathing in people. One utilized subtle, shallow breathing, while the other had much more distinct deep breathing. Breathing patterns affect the heart either slowing it or speeding it up, which in turn affects body metabolism, either slowing it or raising it respectively. I later realized that people employed these breathing patterns during times of stress and furthermore I began to see that they affect the level and span of attention. In affecting the attention the person is able to reach what is commonly called a comfort zone. I have termed these two methods coping mechanisms. These methods are simple and involve the manipulation of the breath. By the time we reach adulthood these mechanisms have become habitual. They vary in intensity depending on how much a person is stressed by others in their lives. I suspect that we learn them in infancy or in early childhood. As habits it is important to realize that these methods have become automatic.
The first thing to recognize is that a comfort zone is not about finding rest even though it may seem like rest. Comfort zones are about clouding the consciousness either by distraction or diminishing attention. So finding a comfort zone only means that we adversely affect our attention. In this way we make unpleasant ideas subconscious. When the ideas are subconscious the emotional reactivity, fear in this case, becomes more obscure. This obscurity is not a diminishing of the emotional reactivity. It is obscured for two reasons. One is that it is no longer associated with the source ideas because those ideas have been pushed out of consciousness to some extent. The other reason is that there are new changes in body function. Those changes are associated with affecting attention. Thus the emotional reactivity is no longer pure but mixed with bodily reactivity that affects attention. This latter sort I am calling the coping mechanism. So the bodily reactivity is a combination of the two types, they being emotional and the coping habit. And remember both types of reactivity are physical changes in the body and have nothing to do with psychology.
The use of a comfort zone is not a good habit even when the unpleasant ideas and the associated emotional reactivity has no serious consequences because unhealthy conditions are brought into being in the body. These conditions can and will in time cause havoc. For instance they may involve higher or lower thyroid activity, blood pressures that are not normal and liver function that is also not normal. We need to recognize that since the comfort zone is a habit and detrimental because it is automatically ignited an in an emergency situation so it is outside of the person’s control; Realizing this enable an individual to make the necessary effort to eliminate the habit. It won’t happen in a short period of time even with intense effort however it is in our power to stop using a comfort zone.
There are two types of coping habits and they are easily brought into effect.
In the first case the person only needs to breathe more deeply. This raises the metabolism of the body but most particularly energy production in the skeletal musculature.
The other method is to take shallower breathes. In this case the metabolism is lowered, which is a state akin to the early stages of sleep and lethargy.
Both affect energy production in the muscles. It is interesting that the acupuncture points, which can be used to adjust the energy flow are almost all (98%) found in the muscles of the body. And added to that in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture points in the legs can be used very effectively to generate anaesthesia enough for the person to undergo surgery.
As far as the coping habits are concerned changes in brain activity are involved. In both raising and lowering the metabolism there need to be important changes in whole body function, for example the heart needs to be either accelerated or brought to a slightly slower rate, the lungs, the thyroid function and liver function, just to name a few of the more important organs involved are going to be likewise affected. All of this requires changes in brain activity. The brain rationalizes its fuel materials to be able to give the greatest advantage where it is most needed. Thus other areas such as attention to mental perceptions may be given a lower priority. This means the attention is distracted. I have called this elevated metabolism coping mechanism (EMCM). In the other coping mechanism a similar situation to the very early stages of sleep or to lethargy is involved. In this case the attention is lowered so I have named this lowered metabolism coping mechanism (LMCM).
The coping mechanisms are different to Chinese anaesthesia by acupuncture because in the latter the overall attention is not affected, only the attention to specific feeling in the body is affected. So in Chinese anaesthesia attention is much more selectively affected. The two coping mechanisms may affect feelings in the body but mostly they affect attention with respect to unpleasant thoughts, thus direct mental perception or ESP is selectively affected. It takes some work but I have seen some evidence that this can be overcome even before the habit is eliminated.
My finding here is that fear and a coping mechanism, whether of raised or lowered metabolism, causes panic. So the question we need to answer is:
How does fear plus a coping mechanisms create panic?
Firstly we need to recognize that we are talking here about fear at the extreme end of the scale. We are talking about fear that is both intense and immediate because the ideas perceived indicate grave and immediate danger. So the body is quickly mobilized to a very great extent. The heart is beating very fast, the lungs are expanded so the person is taking deep and rapid breathes and there are many process taking place in the body to facilitate and maintain high energy production in the musculature. These conditions won’t change until the idea of danger goes away or is discharged. In this case the coping mechanisms essentially fail. Why?
If we add sudden changes in metabolism, either for higher or lower energy production, which is essentially what the coping mechanisms are about then we have two very dangerous somatic scenarios taking place. In EMCM the person attempts to suddenly and automatically take deeper breathes. Remember the heart is already working to its maximum capacity or near enough to that. The coping mechanism here demands that the heart go faster and the lungs breathe deeper and faster and increases to many other process in the body as well. In the least case we find that the heart and lungs, which are already working at their maximum capacity, try to go faster. This means they become overloaded and increases in the many processes in the body add to and drive that problem. Hence the person’s habit, which is aimed at getting rid of the danger thoughts by making them unconscious, puts their vital organs into danger. The person becomes aware that their efforts add to the danger so the fear escalates and the problem builds up to a dangerous level. This is why the person panics and not some fanciful psychological reason. The person is in real danger, not only due to some external danger but owing to their own habit.
Lowering the metabolism also creates an increase in the danger to life but by a different path. In this case the coping mechanism demands a drastic reduction in metabolism and thus energy production. And again remember this is happening at the time when the body is working maximally. Here the heart and the lungs are getting signals to go fast and slow at the same time so they become conflicted. The heart is essentially a whole bunch of muscles and they are being asked to work hard and go slower at the same time, which can cause them to spasms. The heart’s electrical system may also be affected so the heart is unable to pump properly. At the very least the heart becomes ineffective as a pump. Again the person senses that their efforts to control the situation, to eliminate the troubling thoughts of danger, only adds to the danger so here too their somatic conditions quickly reach a dangerous level, so here again the person will panic. And again it has nothing to do with psychological anything but rather it has everything to do with biology.
I will be discussing these mechanisms, together with panic and anxiety again in another book but I will mention here that the idea that is being put out there by the medicos that “no one dies of panic or anxiety” is rubbish. The reality is that people do die but the panic or anxiety comes on top of other adverse conditions in the body that have taken place owing to other “preliminary cheats”. So for instance if a person ignorant of the cheats is angered over time and then made to panic some time later they may suffer a heart attack and die. And it doesn’t matter a hoot what they eat or how much they exercise etc. The healthiest person in the world can be “knocked over” if they don’t know the score. The reason is that angering a person over time raises their blood pressure and that means there is ongoing damage to the inner walls of arteries that are continually undergoing repairs. In a panic situation the blood pressure is suddenly and sharply raised, which means some of the repair material may come loose and block the artery down stream.
Remember arteries branch from a larger diameter to smaller and smaller diameters. Hence a plaque that is small with respect to the diameter of the artery where it broke off may very quickly move to an area where the diameter is much smaller. If it has had enough time to redissolve in the blood then it won’t fit through the smaller diameter artery. Depending on the circumstances and given an unsuspecting and “primed target”, panic can kill!
What is the coping habit really about?
In both cases it is an effort to move thoughts out of mind but it is being attempted by denial. The reality is that the thoughts are perceptions and can’t be removed from mind. It is rather like trying to get rid of the view of a red car that you see in the street in front of you by putting on dark glasses. Denial only removes the unpleasant ideas from consciousness and not from mind. It is a dangerous exercise when there is intense fear in the body. To discharge from mind is a very different thing to removing from consciousness. One discharges thoughts that is considered to be valueless or inapplicable or irrelevant. One cannot discharge a thought that is pointing to something real. It is highly relevant! And it is also worth mentioning here that to discharge from mind does not necessarily mean that the thought disappears. If the thought is being presented repeatedly by others in relationship and under fear conditions it will continually arise in mind as to appear constant. Discharging this thought is to see it as being of no value and irrelevant. It may disappear but even if it doesn’t it is no longer troublesome. So even if the evil people want to continue to present it the person, who understands the cheats, may not suffer or suffer minimally. Some ideas that depict images may cause reactivity owing to the action of mirror neurons so some sensations may be felt in the body but they are not a bother. Other thoughts may simply be an annoyance. The person may get annoyed or even angry because the continual presentation of ideas is a violation but they can overcome this too and not take it seriously. Thus it will not create any serious discomfort and when it can be truly discharged it will not even cause any discomfort. Practice makes perfect so if evil people are trying to hassle you, treat it as an opportunity to become mentally and physically stronger.
How can panic be controlled and even avoided?
The most effective and natural way to overcome the problem, while still ignorant of the cheats, involves two simple actions. One is to control the breathing. If a person allows a normal rhythm and take moderate breathes, not too deep or too shallow then they can control the situation and stop panicking. Knowing your type of coping habit helps in this case. If you normally take shallow breaths when stressed then take deeper breaths. If you take deeper breaths when stressed then take less deep breaths. To control the breathing here is really to allow the body to work without interference. So the second action you need to take is to accept the fear and not try to run from it. We are conditioned socially that fear is a negative emotion and that only weak people feel fear and a whole load of rubbish like that. There are no such things as positive and negative emotions. These are labels that are added by people with an agenda. Emotions are the rational somatic responses to ideas, where those ideas are upheld with confidence and indicate some action needs to be taken, either by the body or in the body. Fear is none other than the body’s preparation for possible sudden and strenuous action. The reason we have fear in the body is because there is an idea in the mind that depicts danger. Fear is your friend. It is normal and healthy. Fear is an indicator that there is an idea of danger in mind, whether fully conscious or not. When the truth be known there are no ancient mechanisms in the brain that just malfunction. The brain is working properly and so is the body.
The real problem is that there are people in your life that are toxic and who want to manipulate and control you or just want to scare you to get their kicks. The most significant thing for you to do is acknowledge and accept the fear and embrace it. No one dies of fear! When you accept the fear and not try to block it out or run from it then your breathing remains at the normal rate for fear. Indeed you have an opportunity each time to overcome the coping habit. Hence panic states, including the panic attack, can be overcome by accepting the fear and allowing the body to breath accordingly. So your effort becomes one of overcoming the need to breathes more deeply or more shallowly when you feel stressed. Accept that danger exists somewhere in our environment. The lions chasing you in the forest when you were living in the caveman days are a convenient way to sell the story of brain malfunctions and nothing else. We see violent acts of mass shootings in our communities and even in schools but we are encouraged to forget them. This is wrong thinking. It is equivalent to saying wander through the forest and forget about the lions and the tigers etc. The public is being mesmerized into a false sense of security and as you will come to realize, greed and power politics is behind it. Acknowledging that we live in an environment where danger exists helps you to live in reality and that is vital for your health and wellbeing. And that danger is not always apparent. The doctors are trying to say that your perceptions are not valid if you don’t see something obvious. There is no basis to say this and there is plenty of evidence where people have acted on their intuition and saved their health and/or their lives or the lives of others.
You can look around in a time when you sense danger rather than feel confined to the inner mental world and the ideas with which the toxic people want to trouble you. Looking around and trusting your intuitive abilities means you can take control and avoid the danger. Danger is only the possibility of harm. It is not harm. The way you avoid the harm is to remain vigilant. You can do this when you make fear a friend and feel comfortable with fear, realizing it is of benefit. Avoid coping habits and substances that blunt your awareness.
Mediation is a very good means of regulating the breath naturally and it will work for both coping mechanisms. If you learn to meditate and make it a practice, then apply it in your life activities, your body will do the work for you without you needed to do anything. However there are means of affecting the breath and I will discuss them in a separate book on the mental illness fairy tales.
On the next page “Severe stress2. The biology of anxiety” I will discuss the biology of anxiety. It looks similar to fear and the LMCM but when the person tries to address the breathing and the accepts the fear as they can do in states of panic, for anxiety it doesn’t work. Why? The answer is certainly in the thoughts, which give rise to the biology. The biology here is very different from the fear and the LMCM.
Kyrani Eade 6/11/12