During my entire life, I have struggled with constant panic attacks. Since last Wednesday, December 13, 2017, I suffered from over 50 panic attacks. This also includes one constant 24-hour panic attack. As I mentioned in my last article I suffer from bipolar I disorder, dealing with many panic attacks. Over the past four years, I have developed methods for ending my panic attacks, and I would like to share them with you.
Therapists provide a lot of information on the web, but the best way to prevent a panic attack is to know what works for yourself. The problem with mental health websites is that they only give technical procedural advice, but they do not provide any basic specific things that you can do.
Here are some examples of the things that they say online:
Breath slow. Stop and think. Think positively. Relax. Distract yourself. Stop negative thinking. Use coping statements. Recognize that this is what your body is supposed to do. Know that they will all end.
This is great information, but it is all written by professionals who speak in hieroglyphs to people who cannot decipher them. What I am doing is giving you my comprehension through effective examples of what I do.
Panic attacks put on a facade of the idea that the world will end. The most important thing to know is that you are in control of it.
In no particular order, here are effective things that I do:
Don’t think! I do not know why advice online says to “Stop and Think”. It makes no sense because your thoughts are racing. To combat this partake in activities that use little to no thought.
I change my environment. A change of scenery always tricks my brain and train of thought. It is effective in the sense that it will change your thought process and assuage panicking.
A change in perspective is vital because you will adjust to your surroundings.
Exercise is vital. If I can’t get to the gym, I get outside and start walking. Once, I walked ten miles by myself, listening to music. Walking is surprisingly very therapeutic.
Breathe. We obliviously hold our breath too long while under attack, or you are suffering from shortness of breath. Take ten deep breaths. Breathing is the easiest task that you can do right away. Never forget that it is hard to live life without breathing. If you can breathe then you can do anything.
I remove myself from social situations. If I have to be there, then I leave the room, go for a walk or to the bathroom.
Do not call or text anyone that you are seeking attention from. I lost one of my best friends because I freaked them out over the phone. Moreover, stay away from your phone because notifications add to the stressful anxiety.
Don’t talk to people unless you trust them. A big mistake that I made was that I talked to strangers and called people on the phone. Keeping your thoughts to yourself is the best way because, in the end, you’ll be fine. All in all, your panic attack will end and then your random interactions with people will embarrass and make you depressed.
Do something goofy. I jump up and down on my bed and I pretend that I am a rapper. This provides a nice release in the brain because it can calm you down. My favorite thing to do is to talk to my cat.
Think positively about your small victories. The little “wins” that you have had during the day is a great way to trigger the positive optimism in your brain which can help nullify your anxiety. This reminds that you’ve been proactive and whatever lies ahead of you will be another small task to accomplish. I find small victories in doing the dishes or any small task. While under a panic attack, I remember those little things, then I slowly am ready to take on bigger tasks. If you have ten minutes a day to solve, fix, accomplish, and etc. for a task then it will still get you closer than before. Numerous small battles equate to winning a bigger war.
Do not go thrill seeking by drinking at a bar, consuming drugs, skydiving, approaching strangers and on so forth. Substance usage is not ever good for mental health. If you think smoking marijuana is going to be helpful, then think again because it is only a temporary solution.
Live vicariously through other mediums. Write, read, draw, watch a movie, or indulge yourself in your favorite album. Find something that can take you away from reality for a bit. This calms the brain. For me, I write a thousand words and then my panic attacks are gone.
Eat. I carry a granola bar to nibble in case if an attack strikes. This way your stomach has something to do in order to distract your brain. Plus, if you are suffering from recurring panic attacks it is very difficult to eat because your stomach wants food, but your brain is too stressed out to eat.
It is important to be fearless. Most importantly, do not be afraid of panic attacks. Each time they occur, it only makes you stronger. Every time you fight them it gets a little easier.
In conclusion, panic attacks are how your brain plays tricks on you. That is all it is. With my advice, I have shown you how to trick your brain back so you can get your day going again!
Remember, “The Zos Knows”.
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