Panic attacks aren’t always how you might imagine them to be. Of course, you can have the hyperventilating, sweats and external symptoms which I will speak about, but it’s much deeper than that.
How I feel it- The type of attack where you feel like you are turning insane and that your body is taking over you but you look completely fine on the outside. This can be hard to speak about because you fear that nobody around you will understand what you’re talking about.
Symptoms can include: feeling as if you’re having an out of body experience, tingling around your body, feeling as if your body is working extremely hard, finding reality confusing/surreal, feeling like you want to escape, feeling scared, feeling confused, feeling nauseous, fast heartbeat and feeling as if something bad is going to happen.
This can last a long while if you allow your brain to run away with itself but it’s completely doable to overcome. The most important thing to know is that you’re not going crazy. The best thing that I find, is to take long slow deep breaths- in through the nose, out through the mouth, this will help you feel calmer. Although you might fear sounding strange, speak about it whilst you are feeling it. Addressing your emotions and speaking about them can differentiate your internal feelings to reality and make you understand that what you are feeling can disappear if you acknowledge that it’s just an attack. The worst thing to do is to let it eat you up. If you are in an uncomfortable situation or don’t want to speak about it with the people you are with, ring a helpline or a loved one- they will understand and they won’t think you’re crazy, I promise. Talk to somebody who will support you and reassure you that everything is fine, it’s essential in these types of situations.
How I feel it- It feels more like a rush of built up panic.
Symptoms can include: racing heart, feeling dizzy/weak, tingling/numbness in body, feeling as if something bad is going to happen, sweaty/chills, chest pains, breathing difficulties and feeling a loss of control.
I find that the difference between the two attacks, is that the intensity levels are both high but in different ways. A panic attack happens quicker and usually is for a shorter amount of time. When this happens, if you’re in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, remove yourself from it as soon as possible. What I find works for me, is being talked through an attack. Whether it be by somebody else or just your inner voice, it’s all about calming yourself down. It’s all about creating a rhythm for yourself to slow down your heart rate and breathing. I read somewhere that said to name things that you can see, smell, hear and touch whilst you’re having attack. Personally, this didn’t work for me because I was in too much of a state to do that.
An example for you-When I have a panic attack, I will ring up my Mum and she will talk me through calming down. She will tell me to take deep breaths and reassures me that everything will be fine and I will be calm again if I just breathe. So when she isn’t around, I imagine her voice in my head telling me to take deep breaths and telling me that everything is going to be okay. Think of somebody you love calming you down or listen to your own inner voice talking you through.
If that doesn’t work for you, close your eyes and imagine something that makes you feel calm. I know I keep repeating myself and the word ‘calm’ but it’s all about slowing your heart and breathing down to bring your energy level back down.
I know how tough it is to live with anxiety and to experience these attacks. It’s draining and makes you feel like there is no hope. I want to tell you this, don’t let them win. You can get through any attack if you remember that you are stronger than anything your mind puts your body through. You have the power to make it go away. It might take a bit of time,
but in the end, who is always the winner? You.