How I cope with panic attacks

img_3217

Unfortunately there’s not a specific set of symptoms which you can tick off and know that what you are experiencing is a panic attack. Panic attacks come in all shapes and forms. It can be quite difficult to understand what is happening to your body the first time you experience a panic attack. The NHS website does give a list of potential signs of a panic attack, however this list is not exhaustive:

Symptoms include:

  • a racing heartbeat
  • feeling faint
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • trembling
  • hot flushes
  • chills
  • shaky limbs
  • a choking sensation
  • dizziness
  • numbness or pins and needles
  • dry mouth
  • a need to go to the toilet
  • ringing in your ears
  • a feeling of dread or a fear of dying
  • a churning stomach
  • a tingling sensation in your fingers
  • feeling like you’re not connected to your body

*https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/panic-disorder/*

As you can see panic attacks manifest themselves in a variety of different ways. I’ve witnessed people experiencing panic attacks and not knowing what was happening to their body. It can be an incredibly frightening experience, even if you know what to expect.

When I was younger I experienced panic attacks but didn’t know what they were at the time or how to express what I was feeling. All I could tell people was that it was the worst feeling in the world. As I began to understand my anxiety I began to recognise the signs of a panic attack and I was able to learn what symptoms I experienced.

For me the first signs of a panic attack is the initial feeling of dread that comes over me. I begin to feel my heart rate increasing, my palms go clammy and I start feeling like I’m in a little bubble moving at a slower pace to the rest of the world. This is often accompanied by feeling like I’m about to pass out. When I find myself in this situation I tend to try and find an open space, preferably outside. I take lots of slow deep breathes, in through my nose and out through my mouth, in an attempt to slow my heart rate down. I’ve had so many panic attacks throughout my life that they don’t faze me quite so much these days. I try to embrace the feeling and know that it will be over soon. The harder you fight against a panic attack the worse it will get.

 

Once the initial panic is over I try to distract myself. How you choose to distract yourself is completely up to you, it depends on the situation you are in and what works for you. Sometimes, my partner and I will play cards as it requires just enough concentration to take my mind off the panic attack. Other times I’ll watch something – my go to is Gavin and Stacey (I could probably recite it word for word).

The problem with panic attacks is the worst thing to do is panic whilst experiencing one. I know you’re probably reading this and scoffing thinking if it were that easy nobody would suffer. It’s true, if it were easy then they wouldn’t be such debilitating events in people’s lives. However, over the years I have learnt how to cope with mine and therefore I want to share my knowledge with you.

 

Next time you experience a panic attack embrace it. Say hello to everything that you’re feeling and resign yourself to the fact that you’re going to feel like that for the next little while. But know that it will pass.

 

Let me know in the comments your experiences with panic attacks.

 

Instagram 

Twitter 

Pinterest 

img_2684-11

XOXO

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “How I cope with panic attacks

  1. I’m having a pretty awful one this week. The heart has definitely been in a place I dont want it to be. I hate it when that lack of self control is there. I guess as I have got older, and learnt that I need to own it I have come up with my own way of dealing with it. Like you say, the first thing to do is embrace it, acknowledge it, know it is there. Once I’ve done that its off for a swim, gym, run…Basically I just knacker myself out to the point where the only thing I can think about is the next breath, the next leg in front of the other…

    Once I’ve done that, I write a list. Everything that is going on that I need to deal with. It can be work stuff, home stuff, my stuff (yes, I get panic attacks about not feeding the sourdough, putting too many hops in the beer, it has to be perfect!!).

    Then comes to the order. I have to accept that it wont all get done, but I try and prioritise the most important first, and label them as frogs. No one wants to eat a frog, but if I get up early in the morning and do it, its done, its ticked off the list and I can feel proud of myself for dealing with it. I aim to get atleast two frogs done a day, and atleast one of the other things.

    The biggest thing I have learnt is that the list never finishes, so not to feel low when things don’t get done. If I am trying, that’s the best I can do. Its easier to get it wrong/make mistakes and have to try again than it is to get it right first time, and that is OK. Its when I don’t face them I have to look in the mirror and question if I am helping myself.

    I know if I do this (and I do it regularly), sleeping will be a little easier.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your approach. You may be trying to exhaust yourself but exercise is one of the best things you could be doing when you’re feeling like that! ☺️ I also love your approach of list making. When I’m feeling like everything has got on top of me I like to make a list of boring things like cleaning the car and sorting through my wardrobes. I then take a day off to make my way through the list and it’s so therapeutic!

      It can be difficult to get through those days but we do it and we’re stronger for it 💪🏼

      Like

    1. That’s horrific 😔 I’m glad the little situations don’t bother you anymore and I hope you don’t have any situation that do! ❤️

      Like

  2. You are courageous. I’ve tried making lists and smart goals at first its okay. Then something happens that overwhelms me then panic attacks. Also had to hold a job cause I’m afraid if I’m unable to doit and be shouted at for being stupid like in the past and end up having panic attacks. Though I still like your post and hope to apply what I’ve read here. Love your posts and blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! ☺️ Be strong, they’ll get easier to handle and you’ll just realise what works for you and what doesn’t

      Like

  3. Thanks for this blog. I have a daughter who suffers from anxiety and it is hard for me to understand it. Being able to read your experiences helps me understand and relate better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad I’ve helped you understand it a little bit more ☺️ I’m sure the fact that you’re trying to understand it means a lot to your daughter ☺️

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s