When Panic Attacks

“When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do, you will sink and drown. Instead, you relax, and float.” Alan Watts.

I remember chasing a colorful fish when all of a sudden I realized I was swimming in the dark area of the water, about 15 feet deep.

I panicked.

Look behind your back!

It is moving fast in your direction!

It is opening its mouth now exposing its sharp teeth!

Can you imagine swimming in the deep sea while having these thoughts in your head?

Yes, I can swim. I can stay in the middle of a 15-feet deep swimming pool for hours.  Swimming in the sea where there is a possibility of being attacked by sharks and piranhas is a different story.

When the image of sea monsters attacking me from behind the eelgrasses got in my head, I can’t help but panic that I forget my swimming skills.  

No matter how much I tread against the waves, it felt like something was pulling me back into the dark area of the water.

I gave my all but I wasn’t making any progress. My arms were straining and giving up. I was willing to be eaten by the sea monster. I was ready to drown and die.

So this is how my life will end?

How could it end this way?

How tragic!

So, I laid down on my back and relaxed. Oh! I did not sink at all.

I looked up to the cloudless pale blue sky. It’s serene and calming.

“This too shall pass,” came to mind. “Perhaps this is what it feels like to be in heaven.”

I closed my eyes imagining the monster was slowly eating my flesh. I imagine it to be a painless death.

I waited and waited, but the monster never came.

“Seriously?” I thought to myself.

Gently, I paddled with my feet like a penguin swimming to the safe shore. I looked back to see that the water was calm. Everyone was enjoying their time on the beach. Others were swimming peacefully in the water, even in the deep and dark areas.

That made me realize that the monsters are all in my head. They don’t exist in the physical world.

The real monsters are our worries. And they are holding us back. We think that our situation is helpless but the truth is that our worries make the situation appear helpless.

None of them is real. They’re all happening in the mind.

Sometimes the best thing you can do in a “helpless situation” is NOT to do anything. Or else your worries will drown you. Instead, you just relax until you float. Then you go with the flow.

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