Face. Accept. Float. Let time pass. That’s the recipe that Dr. Claire Weekes, the Australian clinician and relatively underrecognized pioneer of modern anxiety treatment, established in a series of books (including “Hope and Help for Your Nerves,” her first) published from 1962 to 1989, the year before she died. This advice, when you encounter it in the midst of a cycle of breath-shortening attacks, may sound cruel.
First, Weekes says, you must decide to truly experience the panic, to let it burst out into your fingers, your gut, your skull. Then, sink into it like a warm pool. Finally, rather than mentally kicking your legs to keep your nose out of the water, flip onto your back….