Hello again 👋🏼
I know I only just posted earlier today – “WTF Wednesday” but this is a topic I was desperate to talk about and with me being the inpatient person that I am, I couldn’t wait until later in the week or even tomorrow to post it because I think it’s such an important topic to talk about and raise awareness for. Also, with me being the paranoid and anxious girl that I am, my thought process today was this: “what if someone has a panic attack tonight and comes across my blog? I’d have helped someone! But if I wait until tomorrow, I won’t have helped that person tonight!” 😂 So the quicker I post this important post, the better, and hopefully the more people I will have helped.
This post is about panic/anxiety attacks. I have suffered with these horrible, nasty reactions to stress many times before and will probably have more in the future. BUT now I know how to calm myself down a hell of a lot quicker during my panic attacks and I know how to stop them from escalating into what feels like full blown heart attacks, so I am no longer afraid of my panic attacks because I feel confident I know how to calm myself down by following the 4 important steps I’m about to share with you.
If, like me, you are unlucky enough to experience panic attacks then reading this post will definitely help you on some level and I can’t wait to share these steps with you in the hopes that I will help you calm yourself down the next time you have an attack 😊
Before I share with you the steps I take to calm my panic attacks, let’s briefly go over what panic attacks actually are and why we have them. Panic and anxiety attacks are a high degree, completely involuntary stress response to very stressful or upsetting situations. It is a rush of intense anxiety, stress and fear and can happen to anyone. No one person’s panic attack is the same as another person’s. Everyone experiences panic attacks in their own ways, some worse than others. Some people will experience some physical symptoms while others will experience a few different physical symptoms. The physical symptoms that we experience during our panic attacks are usually similar to other people’s panic attacks but they are very rarely the same.
*following information found at http://www.anxietycentre.com*
” Anxiety attacks are often characterized as experiencing:
• A feeling of overwhelming fear
• Feeling of going crazy or losing control
• Feeling you are in grave danger
• Feeling you might pass out
• A surge of doom and gloom
• An urgency to escape
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pressure or pain
• Turning pale
• Feeling detached from reality
• Weak in the knees
• Burning skin
• Pins and needles
• Hot and cold flushes
• Numbness and tingling sensations
The above anxiety attack symptoms can be accompanied by:
• Choking sensation, tightening throat, it feels like your throat is closing, it feels like something is stuck in your throat
• Depersonalization (feeling detached from reality, separate from one-self, separate from normal emotions)
• Derealization (feeling unreal, in a dream-like state)
• Dizziness, lightheadedness, unsteadiness
• Emotional distress
• Emotional upset
• Inability to calm yourself down
• Knot in the stomach, tight stomach
• Panicky feeling
• Pounding, racing heart
• Butterflies in the stomach
• Sudden urge to go to the bathroom (urinate, defecate)
• Feel like crying
You can experience one, many, or all of the symptoms listed above. Just because you aren’t experiencing many or all of the above symptoms doesn’t mean you aren’t having an anxiety attack. Each person can have a unique anxiety attack experience. ”
4 ways to stop a panic attack escalating:
1.) Focus on your breathing – I know this is much easier said than done when you are mid-panic attack but it is so important to focus on your breathing and take long deep breaths. In for 5, out for 5 and repeat for as long as is necessary.
2.) Find a focus object – find something in the room and focus all your attention on it. Lock eyes with this object and don’t look away until you are feeling calmer. Focus on what it looks like, what it’s made out of, what colour it is, what size it is, what it’s used for etc. Ask yourself these questions in your head about this object and answer them either in your head or aloud. This is a really good distraction for me personally and I recommend it.
3.) Chew something – I like to chew on chewing gum if I’m having a panic attack, however, you never know when you’re going to have an attack so you’re not always going to have chewing gum with you, or anything edible for that matter, but if you can get your hands on chewing gum or something edible, definitely give it a try! Chewing on gum is what helps me the MOST during a panic attack. It’s the main thing that calms me down completely because my brain is so focused on what is in my mouth and focused on chewing that I start to calm down. It’s a great distraction and I recommend it.
4.) Read something – this is also easier said than done but it’s something that, if you manage to do it, will help you greatly! You don’t need to read a book, just anything with some writing on it. (E.g. a clothes label, a food wrapper, magazine, leaflet, instructions on a toy, takeaway menu, your diary or address book, anything!) focus your mind on what is written in front of you and either read it in your head or aloud. This is also a brilliant distraction.
These are the 4 steps I refer back to if I have a panic attack and all of them really help calm me down a lot quicker. It’s so important to raise more awareness about panic attacks and I can’t express enough how real they are and how petrifying it can be to suddenly experience them but I’m confident that the 4 steps I shared with you will help you on some level. I hope this post has helped you and even educated you on what to do if you have a panic/anxiety attack. There was a long period of time where I was so uneducated on what to do if I have a panic attack and I wish I had known these things sooner, but I’m hoping that by sharing my personal experiences with people I will help others. If you don’t personally experience panic attacks but you know someone who does, pass this post onto them as it could really help them 😊