As a teenager, I went through a period of having terrifying panic attacks which would last for 30m-1h or so, leaving me shaken and scared. One of the observations I made during my recovery from these incidents was that it felt like once I had the first inkling that I was heading into an attack, I didn’t feel like I had an option. The image that came into my mind was driving a car in a really wet muddy field, and the tire tracks that were already laid were the only ones I could follow, or at least that was the easiest option, and those tracks led into the full blown breathlessness, body chills, out of body experience that was so familiar.
When I learned to overcome them, it was by yanking the steering wheel with a new behavior, forcing myself onto a different path. Sometimes I didn’t, because it felt too hard, but at least I knew I had an option.