Sinking your panic the first step
A thousand eyes are on you.
It's just you on a stage. Or maybe it's just you in a room with a desk and one other set of eyeballs and ears waiting to see what you have to say.
For Charlie Beljan, it was on a golf course with who knows how many onlookers and TV viewers.
His throat tightened, and his pulse raced. It was so intense, so sudden, the 28-year old PGA pro thought he might drop dead of a heart attack right there in the middle of a putting green.
They call it a panic attack or a sudden onset of extreme anxiety.
It happened to Beljan last month when a lot was at stake. He was competing in a PGA Tour event that would let him avoid having to requalify for the PGA Tour. Somehow he endured a five-hour attack of anxiety telling his caddy, according to ABC News: “I'm not leaving here until I'm getting carted off from the middle of the fairway or somewhere.
“I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, and I got through the day,” he said.
Beljan doesn't think the high stakes of the moment caused his attack, according to a New York Times article. It was everything else he had going on this year: He got married, and in September his wife gave birth to their first child. He had his first panic attack a month before that.
But for many people, a sudden and disabling fear that comes out of nowhere is about their work.
One of psychotherapist Charles Allen's patients would experience profuse sweating during any kind of staff meeting. Another would develop red splotches on his face, also associated with meetings at work.
When his clients describe having panic at work, he said, “Most often this turns out to be anxiety about known conditions of the work environment such as deadlines, quotas, monitoring of skills or time constraints. Those conditions translate to worries about literally not being able to get the job done.”
Symptoms vary, but he said the most common are difficulty breathing, a feeling you are going to die or pass out “and a strong desire to escape the situation that seems to bring it on.” You might also feel nausea, tingling in extremities, dizziness, concerns of “going crazy” and loss of control.
Beljan went to the hospital after his first day of panic attacks. Doctors found nothing physically wrong with him.
The next day he played another 36 holes.
“ ‘I was crying on the range because I was so afraid these feelings would come back,' ” The New York Times wrote.
I've had clients work themselves into an emotional frenzy at the thought of walking into a room of strangers.
Allen said you should have a medical examination to rule out any medical reasons for panic. You also may want to talk to a therapist.
If you did experience a panic attack, it helps to know that panic will not result in death, and he said it's best to “ride out” the experience, not fight against it.
Instead, breathe in a way that helps you relax.
Inhale nice and easy. Exhale slowly. Pause. Easy does it.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Pirates notebook: Decker leaves game with calf injury
- More Parkway West closures planned this week
- Arrests follow South Side fracas
- West Virginia continues WNIT run, advances to semifinals
- Shortfalls sabotage promise of union retirees’ pensions
- Penguins’ Letang leaves hospital, ‘day-to-day’ with concussion
- Elliott market robbery under investigation
- Review: Tango ensemble presents a night of witty, passionate dance theater
- Starkey: Next frontier for Steelers offense
- Alvarez latest in Pirates’ revolving door at first base