For sure, if the panic attacks are that severe, get medical help.
As to which approach is the best after that, I’d say it depends on the fear/situation.
My first approach is to try to rationally think my way through it, and try to get used to it in little steps. But, if it’s too much for me, then I’ll get out of it and avoid it. (“Choose your battles”, right?)
Here’s how I faced up to an irrational fear, in little steps:
When I was a kid, I had a real fear of bottled ink. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the potential for major mess & staining, especially in the hands of a klutz like me. Or maybe it’s because I saw it as a part of the past, and I’ve always gotten a vaguely creepy feeling around old things…as though I’m messing with something I shouldn’t be messing with.
But I also had a fascination with old office technology, including fountain pens.
My breakthrough came in Grade 7, when I bought my first fountain pen: a bright yellow No Nonsense one, that used cartridges of liquid ink. The pen was such a beautiful shade of yellow, that I couldn’t resist it. I also couldn’t resist the intense turquoise colour of Peacock Blue Skrip ink, and it only came bottled or in cartridges for Sheaffer fountain pens.
I got very inky fingers as I learned to use my new pen, and I discovered that the mess-factor wasn’t that big a deal. Besides, my scribble-scratch sure looked pretty and unique!
Many years later, I found some of my uncle’s old high-school textbooks, and was delighted to see that he’d used Peacock Blue ink for all of his notes—the only one of my relatives who ever did. I also found out that he’d loved going to see “Rocky Horror”, so that’s something else we had in common. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out these things, until after his death.
Over the years, I’ve acquired several more fountain pens—including ones that can only be filled with bottled ink—and inks in a rainbow of colours. I even have some vintage fountain-pen inks, from the 1930s-1950s. As long as there’s no sediment in them, and they don’t look or smell weird (and are NOT Parker Super Chrome or 51), it’s probably safe to use them in a fountain pen. So, I do…carefully.
It’s a thrill to think that I’m using the same pens, with the same inks that people used, many years ago. I still get that vaguely uneasy feeling of “messing with the past”, but now, I think of it as something that enhances the experience, and makes it more exciting than writing with a common ballpoint.REPORT ABUSE