At first you don’t even realise what is wrong with you. Overcome with a cold shudder, accompanied by fluttering palpitations, palms sweaty and confusion. Utter confusion. You can’t move. But hold on, 5 minutes ago you were fine? But now, now you can’t move. You can’t get up. There is a heavy invisible burden upon you. If you do attempt to get up, what if you fall? What if everyone around you bursts out laughing at you falling?
Silly silly silly intruding thoughts enter your mind at this point and you wonder if it will ever stop. Until you get up, walk for a bit and realise you will be ok. That was it. Your first panic attack.
The problem is, sometimes we don’t realise we are having one – or worse still we don’t know why they happen. I am referring specifically to panic disorder, whereby sufferers will have intense panic attacks.
Unfortunately there is no fast cure to ‘healing’ these episodes. But you can overcome it, I managed last year to completely get rid of them. Unfortunately recently I have been under a lot of stress and they have returned to rear their ugly head. Here are my top tips on controlling your anxiety / panic attacks;
1. Cut off the source of the problem
If you can pinpoint the stress or issue which causes the panic attacks you have a very good chance of ending them. You need to cut it out, whatever it may be. If this is near impossible, for example if your job is stressing you out and you can’t afford to leave. Perhaps discuss with your manager working less hours or moving to another department. You need to home in and pinpoint what aspect of the job is stressing you and causing these episodes.
2. Coping mechanisms
Along the way in this intense journey, there are a few mechanisms you can use to aid your recovery and help yourself.
If you have a panic attack at night and your brain is doing overtime, thus resulting in not being able to sleep. I would suggest investing in some ear plugs, putting relaxing music on YouTube and practising breathing exercises. These techniques, in particular the breathing exercises will really help slow down the palpitations and regulate breathing. (This can be applied any time of day).
If you have one during the day and you are occupied, you can try the breathing exercises. Or splashing your face with cold water, maybe leaving the room and taking 5 minutes to calm down. It’s jusg about finding out what works for you as an individual, we all suffer for different reason in different ways.
Last but not least, keep things in perspective. Remember you haven’t always had this disorder, more than likely an event has triggered it. Which means, there is light at the end of the tunnel and you can overcome it. It’s just going to take a lot of mental strength and determination. You got this!