How can I manage my anxiety?
Something caused you to respond this way, most likely triggered by something in your environment. What are you noticing concerning stress? Are there any recent stressors you can think of, loss of job, a relationship ending, death, or disease? What are you noticing about what you have experienced stress and anxiety for? You said you had counseling three years ago; I can assume for the same thing. Either way, what did you learn then about anxiety, stress, and how to cope?
Your thoughts are what tend to lead you into and out of anxiety. Unfortunately, our awareness of what is happening is not always spot on. Our subconscious brain always picks up information from the environment, and it is from there that you might be experiencing triggers to an anxiety attack. Is the weather different, a different living situation, a different smell, a person at work, or anything? Remember when you started the panic attack and what you were scared of?
Your body is in overdrive, a fight or flight when you experience panic. Panic is an intense situation where all our mental and physical energy are prepared for battle, running, or freezing so we don't get caught. Your digestion loses functioning when you are in a state of panic. Your mind takes a while to get back centered afterward. You were triggered by something and now acknowledge that you do not have control, which could be very scary to admit.
When it comes to counseling sessions, make sure you talk about what you notice and hear your thoughts and beliefs. The clinician should be good about noticing patterns and identifying underlying beliefs made relevant because of your life choices. You are always working in service to the beliefs you hold about yourself and others, but that is usually in the subconscious and something that would be hard for you to notice. It's why you involve someone else in your life to give you that feedback. Panic is an extreme form of acknowledgment that things are not going well and that you have no control, and now your body fears the inevitable, so it shuts down. The body does not choose to shut down necessarily but is like a computer whose CPU is full; it will just crash.
Coping skills, breathing, staying mindful about where your mind is at and what you are thinking about. Stay aware of early warning signs of an attack so you can avoid or apply coping skills. You can call to attention what lies in the past, being brought forth today. When the subconscious notices something that triggers the panic, your body acts as though it is in a familiar situation where you feel out of control or not having control. You see, if there are any instances of trauma in life, how prevalent panic attacks are because it is tough to pull your body away from something we weren't even aware of. Noticing the early warning signs can help pinpoint what you noticed and then understand that panic or lashing out was to try and keep you safe.
The mind is a funny thing, but it should be respected. You form beliefs and perform actions every day that are subconscious. Stress, anxiety, and panic tell you you are not safe and that you must react. This might not be true, so that belief doesn't work for you anymore. However, you need to practice distress tolerance skills, mindfulness, and body scan exercises and talk about it to understand that what is happening has a purpose; you are just trying to figure out why. To hope that this goes away or doesn't interfere anymore is a waste. Instead, get to know yourself, your mind, what scares you, and what is happening; therefore, you can better handle yourself when feeling a certain way.