I remember my first panic attack well, the main reason for this is that I thought I was going to die. My chest hurt, it felt heavy, my heart was beating rapidly and I felt overall unwell. I called 999, explained my symptoms and found myself going to the hospital. I felt quite stupid once they told me I likely had a panic attack and that I had wasted the time of the medical professionals.
Since then I’ve learned to deal with my anxiety, I still experience panic attacks but I have coping mechanisms and things I do when I’m having one so I thought I would share my tips on dealing with them for #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek
People experience anxiety in many different ways, it may be something that’s emotional or some people may experience physical symptoms such as “shaking, feeling disorientated, nausea, rapid, irregular heartbeats, dry mouth, breathlessness, sweating, and dizziness.” – NHS
This is probably the most important one for me, taking time to breath is one of the only things that makes me feel better. As I start to breathe deeply, the tightness in my chest relieves a little bit which makes me feel better after a few minutes.
Headspace is a useful app for guided meditation and breathing techniques, they offer short and simple exercises if you don’t have a lot of time.
Focus on 5 different things
This is something I was taught by a CPN (community psychiatric nurse) when I was learning different coping mechanisms. The process is quite simple, focus on 5 different things that are in your surroundings and think about them and analyse it.
By the time you are on thing number 5, you should (hopefully) feel calmer as you’ve distracted yourself from everything else.
Find a quiet, safe space
If you are able to find somewhere quiet and safe, go there. Obviously, this is difficult if you’re on a busy train or in the office… Try to find a toilet or somewhere you can go to for some quiet.
A better environment does the world of difference.
Do something simple that you enjoy
Everyone is different and during a panic attack, you may not be in a position to do anything at all but breathe. If you are able to do something else such as cuddle a pet, draw or listen to some music, distraction is really helpful. I personally love cuddling up to my kitten Luna, I find she really helps me calm down.
What do you do if you are experiencing a panic attack? Let’s talk about it! Comment below or tweet me @JasminZenobia
Let’s share our tips and talk more about our mental health