Recently, I experienced a panic attack, but was able to recover quickly. I am writing this post to give help give some insight into the “experience”…
How do I recognise when I’m about to have a panic attack?
When you research online, you will notice that different people have different symptoms, and as you learn more about yourself and your brain, the easier it will become to recognise them. Here are some symptoms I personally experience:
- uncontrollable shaking
- racing or pounding heart beat
- feeling like you can’t breathe
- overwhelming, irrational thoughts
- feeling you’ve lost all control over your body and mind
- other physical sensations such as shaking etc
What to do to recover from a panic attack
Remember that a panic attack is completely normal, and is just a release of adrenaline in your brain. However scary the sensations you’re experiencing may seem, you are not dying.
- The most important thing is to focus on your breathing. Start by breathing in for 3, holding for 3 and breathing out for another 3. Repeat this until you begin to find yourself calming down, focusing on your breath only. Even after you feel more calm, continue to do this, but for 5 seconds at a time. After a while, this will help to relieve your other symptoms and allow you to regain control of your mind.
- Try taking yourself to a relaxing place. Imagine a forest, waterfall, anything that you associate with peacefulness. Imagine the sounds and noises that could be there, what/who could be there, what time of day it is etc… This will help you to place your attention on this so that you don’t think about having a panic attack as much.
- A technique I learnt in therapy is to use one of the five senses (sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste) and focus all of your attention into one thing in the room. For example, this may be the sound of your fan or TV whirring, the texture of your T-shirt or even the shadows and patterns on your wall. once all of your attention is focused onto this one thing, you won’t be thinking about having a panic attack.
What just happened?
A panic attack is something that around every 1 in 10 people experience. It’s completely normal – but this isn’t to say that it’s bearable or that it’s okay. However, there are many ways that you can overcome them.
For more information on panic disorders, go here