This blog is slowly transitioning into a lifestyle blog to be honest, so I hope you all don't mind! Before we get into this post I'd like to say that this is a bit difficult for me to write, but as a person who has panic attacks and feels extremely stressed all the time I know how comforting it is to read an article written by another sufferer who feels the same as you. My favorite article is by Zoe Sugg (Zoella) and can be read by clicking this link.
What is Anxiety?
Let's talk about anxiety and panic attacks. This week I've been incredibly stressed and have had two mild panic attacks and three not so bad panic attacks. If you don't have really bad anxiety I would love to describe it the best I can for you.
Everyone has anxiety. Anxiety is that feeling of dread you get when you are anticipating something or are really stressed. While all of us have anxiety we all react differently. Some people react really well to anxiety and can go through life just fine. Others, myself included, are affected by anxiety a lot worse. When I feel anxious, depending on how bad the anxiety is, it often results in a panic attack.
I've suffered from panic attacks for about three years now, but only became aware of that fact this week. In fourth or fifth grade I began getting incredibly stressed from school (I should probably note that I was in advanced classes so I guess they felt we shouldn't have feelings?). During my long four hour homework sessions I would begin to be short of breath, have a rapid heartbeat, and cry uncontrollably. I now know that those were panic attacks and how I could have possibly calmed myself, but at the time I thought I was a monster. I remember feeling like there was this monster in my body that was controlling my mind, but it would leave after twenty minutes.
What are Panic Attacks?
I've explained anxiety but I haven't really covered panic attacks. Panic attacks are like sudden feelings of dread and the urge to instantly remove yourself from whatever situation you are in. Some symptoms of panic attacks are:
- difficulty breathing
- rapid heartbeat
- hot or cold flashes
- pain in your chest
- sweating or shivering
- tingling or numbness in your hands and/or feet
- feelings of terror
- feeling smothered
- feeling claustrophobic
- uncontrollable crying
- feeling like your brains gone 'numb'
- feeling extremely depressed, stressed, or hopeless
- heightened senses (everything seems louder, smells more intense, etc...)
This year I've gotten more panic attacks then ever before. I had them all the time during physical education, and noticed today that in an assembly we had in the gym where people were playing sports we played in PE I felt really anxious. So much that I had to ask my teacher if I could dismiss myself to the restroom (which of course made him think I was sick not anxious).
What Can I Do For Myself If I Have A Panic Attack?
There are a very few things that help me when I have panic attacks. One of them is eating. I know it seems stupid, but when I have a panic attack sometimes sitting in a nice quiet place and having something as simple as crackers and water can make me feel much better. Another thing that makes me feel better is going to a nice quiet place. If I can, I like to go to my room and sit on my bed wrapped in my furry blanket, but obviously that's not always possible. Usually, if I can find a secluded corner or go to the restroom and feel better after sitting for a few minutes. The thing that helps me a lot is slow, deep breathing. One of my favorite tumblr users recently posted this picture to breath along with during panic attacks and it has helped me tremendously.
Note: These techniques work for me, and as you are different person, different things will work for you. I strongly suggest reading Zoe's article or seeking a doctor depending how bad you are suffering from panic attacks.
My Friend is Having A Panic Attack! What Do I Do?!
- Do not panic. Your friend is experiencing panic, so if you panic it will worsen their panic attack. Be sure to remain calm and remind yourself that they are just feeling upset and they will be okay in just a few minutes.
- Be supportive. Your friend did not choose to feel this way. Acting disappointed or annoyed at the person panicking is a horrible thing to do. You wouldn't want someone to do the same to you, would you?
- Do not set up tests. One of the most annoying things to experience during a panic attack is when a person keeps saying, "Let's see if you can do this...Can you do this?.....Why don't you do this?" Let them take this at their own pace. Chances are they know what to do and are trying to be up and walking soon.
- Don't set up annoying tasks. The person having the panic attack is probably trying to get themselves under control by themselves; they most certainly do not want to say the alphabet backwards or count down from 200.
- Do be careful or what you do after the panic attack. Panic attacks can make you feel like you've run a marathon. Make sure to reassure your friend that you only want to make sure they are okay and ask if they are okay with whatever you have planned. If they say no, be supportive and ask what they think they can do.
Tiny Little Conclusion
In conclusion, I'd like you to know that you are not alone, and panic attacks are very common. Also, please know that if you ever need help you can talk to me. I know how you feel and even if I don't I can at least listen. Thank you for reading this post, and I hope this has helped.
Hugs and virtual cookies,