Hi everyone! I keep saying that I wasn’t planning to post more but I felt like this was something I needed to talk about and, hopefully, I can open up a conversation about anxiety. As of today, I have experienced probably the most severe panic attack that I’ve ever experienced in a while. It was bizarre. I honestly thought I was having an allergic reaction. It was that bad. I have had some bad panic attacks in the past but I’ve since learned better coping mechanisms and I wanted to share those with you. Whether you have experienced panic attacks before or you’ve had your first one, there are some useful things you can do before or after.
- TALK TO SOMEONE!!! Honestly, the worst thing you can do while feeling anxious is isolate yourself. A tiny bit of alone time is fine but you need to reach out to someone and it doesn’t matter who it is as long as you trust them. This has been my biggest source of help.
- Find a distraction. When you’re coming down from anxiety, your natural instinct is to analyze everything you’ve just been through. This isn’t the best idea. Turn on your favorite show, read a book, go for a walk, or do whatever your favorite hobby is. I find this to be very centering.
- Get a “totem.” My mom stole this idea from the movie, Inception. If you remember, each of the characters in the movie had a distinct item that they used to help them tell if they were still in a dream or not. This is the same concept. Find a small item that you like and keep it on you. If you start feeling anxious, find that item and use it to center yourself. My choice is a small Iron Man plushie. I like to keep him in my bag and he makes me a little happier.
- Breathing exercises help a lot. You feel a panic attack coming up and your breathing starts to pick up. This can lead to a few more problems. Look up breathing exercises to use in order to prevent any shallow breathing or hyperventilating. This can also prevent you from feeling light headed or faint.
- LET IT HAPPEN!! If you feel a panic attack coming on, the worst thing you can do is to try to fight it. I’ve had panic attacks in public places and it’s not a fun feeling. It doesn’t matter where you are when it happens but you need to let it pass. You will feel better when it is over. I’ve only felt better after a panic attack. It feels like a giant balloon bursting and then I’m just deflating. Afterwards, I just feel tired. Don’t be embarrassed. Just take care of yourself. Someone will understand, I assure you.
I’ve realized that I’ve started getting into lifestyle territory now but I’m going to connect this back to literature because I’ve read a few books that specifically tackle anxiety and other mental conditions. Some have been accurate and some are not. I’ve learned to incorporate some of my feeling in my writing. I hope that this helps some of you. Feel free to leave some of your tips in the comments. I’d like to keep the conversation going.
2 thoughts on “So you’ve just had a panic attack? Here’s how to help yourself!”
I’ve been suffering from panic attacks for a little over a decade now. They were really bad when they first came on… debilitating, really, but I learned coping techniques and it’s gotten a lot better. However, just a couple of weeks ago I was at the movies with friends and I had a really bad one — the first one like it in years. It was so frustrating.
I love all of your techniques listed here and I have used all of them except the totem. I absolutely love that idea. When you’re spiraling into a panic attack, it’s amazing how disorienting it is. Having something solid to ground yourself seems like a great idea.
A few techniques I’ve used:
– Essential oils (dabbing some lavendar on my wrists and the back of my neck
– Chewing on really strong, minty gum or mints… something about the strong taste gives me something to focus on
– Going on a walk outside/getting fresh air
– Get mad… For me, I realize how absolutely ridiculous the entire situation is as it is happening and it’s so frustrating that I can do nothing but ride it out. Sometimes getting mad is a good distraction from the panic
Anyway, thank you for this post. It’s always nice to know there are others out there that understand what it’s like to be on a crashing plane that never hits the ground. ❤
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I’m really glad you found this useful. I do have an essential oil diffuser I love to use but I don’t have a place for it in my dorm. I’m definitely going to have to take the mints idea because I absolutely love mint. It’s always nice to know someone can relate to you.
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