Hi Nodejesque, I guess those anxious thoughts must be bubbling away in the background despite your best efforts to control them. I think that for sufferers of anxiety like us, the anxiety is ever present even on good days, and it just builds up over time.
I had seven panic attacks bad enough to send me to the emergency ward. I finally beat panic by embracing the feeling of panic. I have posted this info before, but I often revisit it.
I have come to see a panic attacks as a slow build up of worrying, angry, negative thoughts boiling over, and my mind saying enough, no more. Here is something else to worry about a fear of dying. A mind can only take so much stress and worry.
The things that helped me beat panic
1. ruling out other life threatening conditions. I had echocardiograms, CT scans, tests for diabetes, ross river virus. It turned out I had an undiagnosed blood disorder haemachromatosis, which contributed to the fatigue I felt.
2. exposing the lie in my mind that the panic could kill me
3. Challenging and embracing the panic. Fighting panic only makes it worse.
4. Finding answers from doctors, by getting second and third opinions.
5. Seeking counselling.
Once the lie that the panic was feeding my mind was exposed, knew I wasn’t going to die, and that there was nothing wrong with my heart, the panic lost its power over me. I still got surges of panic through my whole body, but I was able to challenge the panic. “What have you got?” It would surge through me, and when I was still standing I’d tell it “You can’t kill me, you’ve got nothing.” Slowly it lost its power.
I had panic attacks over a period of 5 years, so it was a long battle.
I still get the panic feeling, but now I know it can't kill me. I feel the dizziness and lightheadness, the chest tightness, and say "that is panic, it can't kill me." And it will fade and disappear.