Dealing with panic attacks is no fun. I've had to do it myself, sometimes on the fly. These techniques were developed mostly without any premeditation. The only meditation that went into this writeup was how to present the information. All right, let's roll.

1) Get some fresh air. If like me, you're stuck inside, open a window, and sit near it. Just let the fresh air caress your face, and breathe deeply. No matter how strong the temptation to hyperventilate, try not to. It doesn't help, and can make you more panicky over time.
2) Do energy healing on yourself. This takes a strong imagination. If you're familiar with grounding and centering, great. For those who aren't, here's a crash course.
A. Imagine all the panic that is centered in your chest or belly as icky black gunk, sludge, etc. Now, push it all down through your feet and deep, deep into the ground.
B. At the same time, draw in brilliantly white light in from the sky, filling yourself, packing it down into your body like filling a tube with toothpaste. Pack it in tight.
C. If you, like me, are very strong in the technique of energy healing, imagine injecting yourself with Valium, Ativan, etc. To do this, do the following:

Imagine that your dominant hand, the one you write with, is full of the molecule. Now, think of where a vein is. If you've had blood drawn, remember where it was taken from. Place your pointer finger over the spot, and press it lightly against your skin. Imagine the substance which is really energy flowing into your body and taking its effects. This can also be done for cronic pain, insomnia or in any other situation where the symptoms do not require emergent medical intervention, but you don't have the medication on hand. This works best if you know the effects and can visualize them taking effect, and fast.
3) If you believe in prayer, do so now. Ask for strength, tranquility, etc.
4) If you believe in repetitive prayer, chanting, etc, you can do so. Use a set of beads, knots on a string, et, something that is damn near [indestructible. I would keep such a device on you at all times. I carry my mom's rosary on me, and use it liberally. I couldn't give a damn who is around. If someone is offended, that's their fault, not mine. I'm not saying I don't care about another person's feelings, I do care. But when I'm in the throes of a nasty, evil panic attack, I'll do what helps me, and counting on my fingers isn't an option sometimes.
A note on this option. Be absolutely sure the prayers are firmly cemented in your head. Trying to leaf through a book is distressing enough, and much worse under pressure. Don't put yourself through the strain. Learn the petitions well in advance of actually needing them.
5) Run your hands under hot water. As hot as you can stand. It helps by lowering your blood pressure by causing vasodilation, even if only temporarily.
6) If you smoke, go for it. The main goal here is distraction, not to get whacked out on nicotine, so one or two should do the trick. Don't go overboard.
7) Chamomile, ginger, valerian are all good ideas. If you can do them, and if they will not make you unconscious, like they do my husband, go for it. Valerian root comes in capsule form, and in tea form with other herbs. It also comes in a tincture as the pure root form, but that's somewhat hard to find.
8) If all else fails, and if your doctor has prescribed them, take the medicines you were given. I note this down last because it is the most extreme measure, and the one that, while working for the longest, may in some cases only mask the symptoms. Besides, in some places, carrying the medications without an ID, such as a driver's license or state id card may be illegal. Carrying herbs, prayer beads, etc, isn't.
One last note. If you do so, you can write in your journal. It has helped me over the years, especially with my nearly uncontrollable [temper. Even just writing down stream of consciousness thoughts, even if they don't make much sense later, can help to alleviate the crushing panicky urgency of the moment. Remember, write this down in a quick reference form, something that you can refer to in a hurry. I know I'm being wordy, but once you've practiced the techniques, especially the energy techniques, they will become second nature and you'll have no need to think them through. Also, there is no need to go in the order I wrote them. You can proceed in any order you need to. If taking your meds if you preferred route, then go right ahead. If herbs are your best shot, be my guest. I usually breathe deeply first, then pray, then run my hands under hot water, then smoke, then do energy work, then, and only then, meds. Hang in there, and it will all be ok in the end.

In politics:

So here we had the second phony debate. Phony? Yes -- this headline tells the story -- Leaked Debate Agreement Shows Both Obama and Romney are Sniveling Cowards!. The conditions of the debate locked in by the candidates, what can be discussed, how it can be discussed, where the cameras ought to pivot, are so locked up, they may as well simply broadcast a string of campaign commercials on different issues instead of spouting the platitudes in person. And, note that the contract itself additionally actually forbids the candidates from engaging in debates with third party candidates!! How repressive is that? Again, naturally, here's a debate where the winner would have been the Libertarian candidate, hence his prohibition from participation. Both candidates spar at the edges over nibbling tax increases or tax cuts, but both promise continued trillions in spending, and the massive invasion of government into our personal lives, sexual choices, economic choices. The pundits, naturally, are tripping over themselves to award the win to Barack Obama, and point up Mitt Romney's missteps, of which there were certainly more than might have been expected given his last performance. In all, the event was probably a wash, solidifying a status quo wherein nothing changes.

But as the election approaches and pundits start talking Congress, I get to thinking about the separation of powers. And, especially, I get to thinking about divided government. Oh, the candidates aren't talking about it, though each makes some points about how they have or have not been able to work with the other party. But one-party rule has always, always ended up being bad news for the country -- and even while the Democrats and Republicans pursue the same ends under different rhetoric, at least where one party controls the executive branch and the other controls the legislative branch, their rhetoric entangles them and they are stopped from moving forward on bad ideas. One might recall that the first two years of Bill Clinton's presidency were a disastrous mess, but the Republican takeover of Congress which followed effected fiscal discipline. Similarly, the first six years of Bush's presidency saw exploding spending and expanding government, unchecked warmongering, and the most intensive rollback of privacy and freedom of expression in generations. But the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006, while halting this trend on some fronts, did essentially nothing to undo the damage which had been done -- Democrats not being inclined to impose the kinds of spending restraints on Bush which Republicans had pressed on Clinton.

This cycle, it seems certain that Republicans will again control, and commandingly, the House of Representatives -- which is key, as this is, by a provision of the Constitution, the body from which laws involving taxation must emanate. The Senate might go either way, but my bet is the Republicans will eke out control of this body as well, coming back in Missouri and Virginia and Massachusetts, possibly Connecticut. I have mentioned before that Angus King will likely win Maine, and he has forecast his laudable intention to remain truly independent of both parties. And lastly, there's the Supreme Court, with its sharply drawn 5-4 Republican majority, and the only member likely to leave in the next four years being the ultraliberal Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who has slowly been dying for the past several years, facing two bouts of cancer and the death of her husband. So, taking all that as given, I am somewhat despairing of the fact that electing Obama will mean four more years of Obama doing whatever it is Obama does (even if it will be an Obama whose ambitions are scuttled by the Republican Congress); and on the other hand, elected Romney will quite possibly mean four years of a monolithic political front controlling all three branches of our federal government, at the back of a candidate who shows no ill ease at the prospect of slipping into aggressive use of that government to suit his agenda. Have I mentioned Gary Johnson is on the ballot in every state?

locke baron says: I heard the other day - from a source who has an agenda, but also no reason to lie about this - that the way the debates are structured currently is specifically to prevent another Ross Perot. I wonder how true that is?


In node auditing news:

Jet-Poop is still done; etouffee has been done a long while, now.

iceowl -- on page 4 of 10.
teleny -- on page 7 of 14.

junkill and jessicapierce are in the queue. Because I like the letter j.

Blessings, all!!

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