A panic attack is a rush of intense anxiety and physical symptoms. The NHS also suggests that most panic attacks last somewhere from five minutes to half an hour. But they can continue in waves for hours.
We were inspired after reading Carver’s story in ‘Goodbye Days’ by Jeff Zentner to explore the different ways of coping and making it through a panic attack.
1. As horrible as they are, it’s important to try and remember that it’s only temporary. Your body literally can’t stay in a heightened state of panic for prolonged periods. You will come out the other side of it.
2. You’re not alone. And that fact in itself can offer some comfort. Understanding that people from all walks of life can experience bouts of anxiety and panic attacks, even you fave celebs:
3. Professor Paul Salkovskis, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Applied Science at the University of Bath suggests that you try and confront your fear, if possible. It’s not an easy thing to do, but by remaining in the situation you can help your brain to understand that you’re not in any immediate danger. Sometimes you just gotta get the heck outta there though, and that’s ok too.
Exercise boosts the good hormones in your body so that’s gotta help too.
4. Breathe. Seriously. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Slow breaths in and out. Bring down your heart rate and get fully oxygenated.
5. Visit the No Panic website for my breathing exercises and tips for getting your cool back.
6. Understanding and cataloguing possible triggers. This doesn’t mean you have to avoid all of these situations, but it allows you to be prepared.
7. Tell someone. Explain to your family and friends what happens and how they can help. Having someone with you that understands goes a long way.
8. As the adrenaline wears off it’s totally normal to feel tired. Don’t feel like it’s not ok to go and have a lie down. Look after yourself, mental health days can help boost your confidence and general wellbeing.
BONUS! Read about it. YA books featuring protagonists who experience panic attacks are growing in number, including the wonderful ‘Goodbye Days’ by Jeff Zentner. Get on that!