It may seem that panic attacks are more common than ever, but I think it might be just that we’re talking about them more.
This is a great thing—panic and anxiety can be extremely isolating, so getting out of our own heads and into conversation is the best thing for it.
I’ve been struggling with panic attacks for as long as I’m able to remember, and by this point I’d like to think I manage them pretty well. This has to do with simply having no other choice but to manage them, as well as receiving support from friends, family, and therapists.
I’ve learned that there are a few things I can tell myself in the throes of a panic attack, and have taught myself how to deal with a panic attack.
It seems obvious, but the first thing to do is simply breathe. Try your best to pay attention to your breathing and heart rate, actively slowing it down and reminding yourself that you are not dying, and this is just a physical reaction to stress.
“No one is looking at you”
I know it feels like everyone around you is uncomfortably aware of the panic going on inside your head, but you’re probably way better at hiding it than you think.
More likely than not, no one has any idea what’s going on with you unless you tell them. It may seem like everyone on the train can hear your heart pounding or the stream of hysteria running through your head, but trust me, they can’t.
After Mia Freedman was diagnosed with anxiety, she discovered her love of routine. (Post continues after audio.)
“You have a 100 percent success rate for surviving panic”
Think about it: you have survived every single panic attack you have ever had. Your success rate is 100 percent. When my therapist told me this, I was taken aback; it was something that I had never considered before, but it is absolutely true.
A panic attack is an extremely difficult and unpleasant thing, but you will 100 percent make it through.
“It’s medically impossible to die from a panic attack”
It’s scary, but it’s the truth: panic attacks make you feel like you are dying. But realizing that it’s medically impossible can be a great source of relief.
My doctor told me this once, and made me feel so much better. Just knowing that tangible fact made me realize that I can and will survive even the worst anxiety attack I ever experience.
None of these things will “fix you” but they might help, and even just a little help goes a long way.
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