When we are afraid of panic attacks we want to be in control, desparately. Many people say, "I feel like I am losing control !" And the sufferer goes into a deep inner search to somehow stop these fearful feelings while fretting over the future panic yet to come. But let's put "in control" IN perspective:
I will say that we never have conscious "control" and it is a futile exercise to try to attain it. In fact, what "control" we do have is all on the autonomic and subconscious level - nervous system, breathing, heart beating, swallowing, blinking, etc. When we attempt to exercise a CONSCIOUS control over our autonomic systems is when we get into trouble. It's highly stressful and not possible. If I am worried about not being able to swallow (because of a dry mouth or lodged food) and then try hard to control it CONSCIOUSLY, you can bet that I will feel like I CAN'T swallow and the resulting fear and focus will prevent more swallowing as it becomes exceedingly difficult and the subconscious control is all messed up and distorted. Why? Because we are trying to CONSCIOUSLY control a function that left to our autonomic nervous system will function just fine!
The fear that we feel in a panic attack is similiar. Fear is created by your nervous system which is an automated bodily response. Trying to gain control over fear creates tension and more desire for conscious control. When we stop trying to control our fear, which includes worrying and fretting over it, we don't lose anything...sanity or consciousness or identity. We don't even get amnesia. There is no control to lose. But in reality the "old" feelings, the old "YOU" before panic attacks began, was a state of mind of NOT trying to control your fear because you didn't feel the overwhelming fear that a panic attack brings. The point is that fear is a natural response to what you are informing your nervous system about. It reacts automatically. And you can't do a thing about it except let it happen. Or medicate it away.
"In control" is an unreasonable expectation that furthers panic attacks. The desire for such control becomes the basis for the apprehension that many times sets the panic in motion. "If only I could control this damn fear then I would feel better!" But the wish is unrealistic and never attained until the sufferer gives up all hope for conscious control and by this method settles down the nervous system and returning a feeling of "control."