How to Survive a Panic Attack?
This will pass, you’re going to get through this. The sensation you’re feeling right now will not harm you. You’re safe. We’ll take it one step at a time, let’s focus on breathing for now.
You. Are. In. Control.
The situation might’ve come out of the blue but how you deal with it is still in your control. You’re free to cry, scream or just sit in a corner. How you deal with the attack is up to you, but we’ve got a few pointers that you could follow.
Hold your Breath
Know that the expectations that the world sets on you do not matter. Ultimately, your wellbeing should be your first priority. So let’s focus on that now. Keep breathing, but also clench your fists.
There’s probably a million thoughts running through your mind right now, and a distraction is something that you could really use. Look around your room, find an object that you could focus on. Like the door for example, observe its characteristics. You can unclench your fists now.
Hold Your Breath
You’re not dying.
It may feel as though your anxiety on its own is going to kill you, or as though you’re having a heart attack. Neither will happen, your anxiety can not harm you and your heart’s just fine. Also, why are doors brown?
Don’t fight your anxiety.
You don’t have to force yourself to be calm. You’re allowed to feel everything you’re feeling, and the only reason you’re not calm is because of a traumatic event in the past. So why stay calm in a maddening world?
- Scrunch your face.
- Look into a mirror.
- Looks funny, right?
Disclaimer: This is not a part of the process to calm you down, we just wanted to remind you that you exist, you’re important and that you are loved. Your well being does and should come first.
Since you’ve calmed down a bit more, you’re probably asking yourself why this even happened.
What caused this sudden catastrophic rush of emotions and pain that feels close to death? You do know it’s because of anxiety, but that’s just not good enough. You deserve a proper explanation to this invasion of motor functions, and that’s exactly what we seek to provide you with.
Scary Stuff - Fight or Flee
No one wants to be pushed into a state where you’re bombarded with emotions that you know you should not be feeling at that particular moment. What you’re feeling feels wrong, just like how tap-dancing at a funeral would feel wrong; you know that if people witness this episode, they’re going to reduce you to an emotional lunatic. But know that you’re allowed to feel and deal with your emotions being as vulnerable as you need to be.
Now that only worsens the attack, but why did it happen in the first place? Well, there’s a myriad of reasons as to why you had a panic attack. One of them, like we mentioned before, is the thought of a traumatic past-event that may have triggered this reaction out of you. Triggers, just like the one in a gun, are also present in us and forcefully expels emotions. It’s best to find these triggers and stay away from them.
Panic Attacks are a magnified reaction to the mind’s perception of danger, which is why sometimes even the smallest of things can trigger us into having one. The mind signals the body into, well, defense mode. The state of fight or flight. But why does it feel so scary?
The signals that the mind sends to the body are also exaggerated well past what could be useful to us, which is why we start hyperventilating and find it difficult to breathe. This loss of control in terms of breathing is bad enough to cause us to spiral, and so sending us into a depth of despair and even more anxiety.
Settling Phase - The Calm After the Storm
Panic attacks do not last for more than 15-30 minutes and usually peak within the 10 minute mark. Knowing this, and understanding the fact that the anxiety you feel is harmless is key to dealing with panic attacks. If you ever find yourself struggling with the same or are with a person who is going through a panic attack, remind yourself/them that this is temporary and that it will pass as well.
Just like what we did in the beginning of the blog, focus on:
- Your breathing: slow it down.
- Distracting yourself: focus on an object around you and keep your thoughts occupied.
- Remind yourself that there is no risk to having an anxiety attack
- Allow yourself to feel the emotions that come with this.
- Know that it is okay to lose your composure, it’s not easy to deal with something this overwhelming.
Panic attacks are better dealt with through therapy as well as another factor that causes panic attacks is the fear of when the next one may strike. This can be further looked into with our professional help. We’ll help change the way you view panic attacks and help deal with the anxiety better through talk therapy and CBT.