I’ve had my fair share of panic attacks. A lot of them were in public. I thought they’d never stop and every time it happened I wanted earth to split open under my feet and swallow me whole. Among my many mental illnesses and problems, panic attacks are probably the worst. I’ve been diagnosed with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Everything mostly stems from the PTSD and everything is a trigger.
What helped lessen it and also control it were several things:
Know it’s patterns
- I started noticing things about myself that if I continue doing I’ll surely get them. For example, if I overwork myself and continue doing so I will break down at night shaking on the floor because the more I work the more I overthink which extracts my insecurities and builds them up. Moreover, if I don’t sleep well I crumble which is related to the previous point.
- If I have trouble sleeping; waking up every five minutes or so I’ll develop anxiety and start scratching myself so what I do then is not go back to sleep until I’m calm. I drink a cold glass of water, watch a funny video or talk to someone until I sleep.
- Sugar. Sugar is the devil. I don’t have too much of it or else I break.
know your Triggers
- 2am-3am is the time where my body goes into panic mode regardless of anything. It’s where I’m prone to break apart. So, I manage to try to sleep beforehand to avoid it.
- I am afraid of male strangers. If I am surrounded by them I won’t know what to do with myself. I don’t have a solution to that except never find myself in a situation where there are more men I don’t know than those I do. I try my best not to accidentally bump myself to them or give eye contact.
What to do when it happens
I could give pointers on how to stop it a million ways but every person is different and frankly, panic attacks don’t give you much of an opportunity to stop and think of a solution. it overrides your brain, your body and you’re trapped for as long as it pleases. It is so difficult to come out of it and it is more difficult to do something to stop it.
but if you know it will happen prepare the following:
- your favorite song and try to sing it (keep it on replay and sing until you think you’re fine) – mine is Blue by Gracie Abrahms
- Cold water fucking helps. Drink it slowly and the whole cup. For some reason, it calms me down abundantly
- if you like to be held find someone that would hold you. I recommend this mostly if you feel like scratching yourself or hurting yourself. let them hold you really tight until your body relaxes.
- if being touched triggers you more I suggest wearing a big jacket and holding yourself. rock yourself back and forth and grip the jacket (not your arms) tight.
- Scream. I realize when we go through this we try as hard as possible to keep the emotions from coming out. but how about we do? how about we just let it burst out? I scream if I can as loud as I can and as I hard as I can so the feelings don’t overwhelm me or my body. if you don’t want to be heard scream in a pillow.
I actually made a thread on twitter last year about peoples different ways of calming themselves down. Maybe these can help:
Thread: dm me what helps you when you get a panic/anxiety attack and ill post it so we can help others
— ايماني (@bruuvv) July 14, 2017