What is a panic attack? Why do they matter to me, and why should you care?

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OK, like I promised is a short look at panic attacks and how I personally deal with my daily panic attacks.

A panic attack is, according to the American Psychological Association is, “a sudden surge of overwhelming fear that comes without warning and without any obvious reason. It is far more intense than the feeling of being ‘stressed out’ that most people experience.”

For me personally, I feel like my heart is pounding so hard that it is going to break out of my chest, I can barely breathe, I gain an overwhelming amount of unwarranted fear and I tremble, and shake. That sounds awful, right? I think it is. Especially when I experience them all the time. It is hard to get used to them. I have been having them since I was 14 and I am 24 now.

I do, however, have ways to combat my panic attacks. I have become very good at literally stopping them. The way I do that is I have a sort of intuition that I will have one.

I do the following things when I feel like I am about to have a panic attack

  • I ground myself using a coping skill that works really well. Such as reading a Star Wars book, writing, playing video games and listening to music. Just something that I have to do with my hands.Something that distracts me.
  • I let people around me know that I am having one. Now this one isn’t always true, but if I am around people I trust I am able to do that.
    • If there isn’t people around you that you trust to help you, call someone, or talk to someone of some authority and have them help you.
  • I keep a log of my panic attacks, or in this case near-panic attacks, and that, surprisingly helps a lot.

Keeping a log of your panic attacks helps you stop them from happening more often. I haven’t found a sure-fire way to get rid of them completely, but some prevention is better than no prevention.

When I am having a panic attack I do the following things:

  • Sit down. This can have more benefits than other ones in my opinion. It literally grounds you.
  • Get something to drink that is very cold. I have found that if I drink something cold it lets me focus on the drink and the flavors of the drink. Basically another way to distract yourself.
  • Distract yourself; do not think of the panic. This one takes a lot of practice, but once it is mastered panic attacks are not nearly as bad.
    • Play music loud in your room or on headphones. Let the music envelope you and think only of the music.
    • Write. It doesn’t have to be about anything; just write something down. Or draw, paint, create art. This always relaxes me. This is probably my best way of dealing with a panic attack.
    • Play a game. It doesn’t have to be a video game, maybe a board or card game. Thinking about the strategy of the game really helps.

Hopefully what I do can help some other people with their panic issues or anxiety issues in general. I am signing off for today, please let me know if you need advice or someone to talk to who has been there.

 

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