Few emotions are as debilitating as panic. One source defines the word as a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.
Panic has two speeds, fast and slow. High-speed panic comes on you when you read that first exam question. The slower form begins when you see the date of the exam on the syllabus and realize you have months to worry about it.
Most of us know how to overcome it. Prepare as much as possible, stay calm, and just do your best. I have both received and given that advice dozens of times.
On June 17, 1963, C. S. Lewis seeks to comfort and encourage someone who is frightened they may die soon. Ill himself and writing six months ahead of his own passing, Lewis advises,
“Remember, tho’ we struggle against things because we are afraid of them, it is often the other way round — we get afraid because we struggle. Are you struggling, resisting? Don’t you think Our Lord says to you ‘Peace, child, peace. Relax. Let go. Underneath are the everlasting arms. Let go, I will catch you. Do you trust me so little?’
“Of course, this may not be the end. Then make it a good rehearsal.”1
Sounds like somebody who is rehearsed and has learned his lines well.
“The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” – Deuteronomy 33:27.
- Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, Vol. III (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 1430-1431. Italics in original.