How I Beat Panic Attacks By Re-Writing Scifi Literature

I spent February and most of March battling panic attacks. For much of the time, I was completely paralyzed. I knew that I needed to develop new coping strategies and figure out how I could get back to a level of functionality.


The first thing I tried was the Litany against Fear.

In my last post, I shared the original Litany Against Fear from Frank Herbert’s Dune novels. I explained that I started trying to use the litany myself but didn’t find it helpful until I railroaded for my own purposes. Today I’m sharing a rewrite of the litany that fits my own philosophy about fear and channeling it into something productive.


Rose’s Litany to Embrace Fear


I must embrace my fear.

Fear is not my enemy.

Fear sharpens my senses and keeps me alert.

Fear is a spotlight on what I need to change.

Fear is the passage that leads to transformation.


I will stand in my fear. My fear will not consume me.

I will feel my fear fully and face it with courage.

I will stride through my fear and face down the darkness.

I have passed through.  My fear and I have become one.


I’m still tweaking this (the poet in me isn’t happy with the cadence.) but I find it a much more proactive and helpful device for controlling fear than the original.


THe most memorable and often quoted line in the orignal litany is “Fear is the mind-killer.”


I never knew what that meant, because I’ve lived with fear for years and still been able to think rationally.  When that changed for me this winter, I realized that the litany gets it wrong.


Fear does trigger a lot of instinctive reactions.  A fight or flight response kicks in, it’s uncomfortable, and many times we pull back or give up because we’re too afraid.


But what good does that do?


With a little effort and a shift in perspective, it’s possible to see fear as an ally.  The real problem–the mind-killer–is panic

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