What to do after a panic attack
*This post is completely based on my own experiences and the experiences of others that I have witnessed*
A panic attack can be one of the scariest things you will experience in your lifetime. Your mind and body turn against you resulting in a series of different symptoms. Everyone experiences panic attacks in their own way, however the symptoms are generally similar. I have previously written about what a panic attack is, you can find it here. Once a panic attack is over many people assume that you can now just jump back into daily life and get on with things. However, for many of us that is not the case. Panic attacks have an impact on us both mentally and physically long after they have passed.
The impact on your mental health
I suppose this is probably obvious to most people that a panic attack will have a negative impact on your mental health, however I think it’s important to highlight this.
Once a panic attack is over you must be kind to yourself and take some time to relax. After the initial shock of the event is over take some time to consider what caused the panic attack. A single panic attack can often signal that there are deeper problems going on and it should be considered a warning to seek help and support.
A panic attack is simply your body’s way of informing you that you’re struggling. This is the time to start talking to friends, family or professions about what is worrying you. As soon as you start talking about the issue its hold on you will begin to unravel.
After a panic attack I find my mental health is quite fragile for a few days after.
The impact on your physical health
Panic attacks are often perceived as being solely mental, however this is not the case. Panic attacks present themselves as physical symptoms. You may find yourself tired, achey or even shaking after a panic attack. I tend to find I’m quite tired for a couple of days after.
If you have experience a panic attack you will know that the physical impact can be just as scary as the mental impact.
How to look after yourself after a panic attack
The first thing to do is to rest. Panic attacks are caused by your mental health, however they present themselves as being physical. Never underestimate the toll that this takes on you and your body. It will not be unusual to feel exhausted for a couple of days after. Both your physical and mental health will benefit from you resting in the aftermath of a panic attack.
Be kind to yourself –
Panic attacks can hit you when you least expect it and they are in no way a reflection on how much you are fighting to improve your mental health. Remember you have not let yourself down and you are not weak for having a panic attack. It can be difficult to process what has happened but remember to be kind to yourself, you did not cause that panic attack. Be kind to yourself, make a hot drink and watch your favourite film to relax.
Have a little cry –
After a panic attack I find myself quite emotional and often in need of a cry. I think this is caused by numerous reasons one of which being the exhaustion that hits afterwards. I’ve found that having a little cry is helpful and can help you to process what has just happened.
Take some time for yourself –
You may find yourself needing to slow down for a bit following a panic attack. Listen to what your body needs and take some time to relax and recuperate.
Dust yourself off and get back to fighting –
It is important to strike a balance in the aftermath of a panic attack. Slow down and look after yourself but the second you start to feel better get back up and start fighting back against your mental health. Don’t allow a panic attack to knock your confidence or to make you take a step back.
Seek help –
Help can come in many different shapes and forms. You could go to your Doctor to discuss what has just happened or you might find it easier opening up to a friend or family member. Whatever you prefer do talk to someone as panic attacks can be traumatic and you may find yourself in need of some support.
A positive view of a panic attack
Next time you have a panic attack view it as a positive thing. They usually only arise when we’re pushing ourselves or facing our fears. Your mind is struggling to process the fact that you’re doing something that scares you and can therefore result in a panic attack. More often than not they occur because you are doing something about your fears.
I try to view a panic attack as a positive thing. I tell myself that every panic attack I have gets me one step closer to realising that nothing bad will happen if I confront my fears. I’d be lying to you if I said that this works every time but it’s a good approach and it has helped me in the past.
Be proud of yourself for being brave and doing whatever scares you.
Be strong and keep fighting.