My Truth About Panic Attacks
Like millions of other people, I live with panic attacks and let me tell you, they are SCARY! Even though I manage them fairly well, I have coping skills and some helpful herbal remedies. Living with the constant fear of a random panic attack is like walking around thinking something is going to jump out and scare you at any moment and it SUCKS!
If you are learning how to arm yourself for living your life with panic attacks or love someone who is. We have a few tips that might help.
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Learn to FEEL the signs of a panic attack before they come
For me, there are some tell-tail signs that the boogie monster ( My panic attack name ) is about to jump out and get me.
- My muscles are tense and I have a nervous stomach
- Trouble concentrating
- The feeling of just not feeling right.
My panic attacks are mostly body-centered. Meaning most of the attack for me is physical, not mental. Even though the event is very scary and in my head I think I'm dying. My attacks aren't sad thoughts or irrational thoughts.
I started getting panic attacks just before I turned 40 and it was the most terrifying event of my whole life! I actually believed I was having a heart attack and dying. This is common, but I still went to the doctor and got checked out to be sure.
Taking time away from stressful things helps you control how severe your attacks might be
I've learned that drama triggers my attacks. So frequently I need to take social media breaks to try to push off the stress.
Even though it's so tempting to take a peek, once you get over the hump of not looking every hour, it's not so hard.
Caffeine is NOT your friend if you have panic attacks
Even though I love the energy boost of a good latte, I know that even a little caffeine can trigger a panic attack.
When I was younger, I loved the rush of caffeine to get everything done. But I didn't take into account how much time I was losing when I felt terrible and if an attack came on. For me, my panic attacks only last a few minutes, but the ripples afterward leave me drained and feeling terrible for hours after.
Panic attacks or anxiety do not care WHO you are or how successful you are.
I've lived with panic attacks for a long time now and I've learned through talking to other people about them, that it doesn't matter who you are. Panic attacks are not a sign or weakness or even trauma.
Panic attacks don't make you weak or mean that you are less of a person. They simply test you to improve your coping abilities!
Arm yourself with 10 calming things to bring to your mind when you start to have a panic attack.
Here are a few of my calming thoughts or actions:
• You can’t control how anyone else is feeling.
• It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.
• Be here, now.
• Breathe In, Breath Out.
• Walk it off.
• Find joy in new things.
• Try doing something you enjoy.
• Go out and get some fresh air.
• Snuggle your dog.
• Dance and sing in your kitchen.
My favorite remedies:
- CBD tinctures under my tongue at the first twinge of feeling funky.
- A cooling muscle rub on my neck and shoulders to keep me from tensing up.
- Grabbing my headphones and playing music that makes me happy and distracted.
- Wrapping up in a weighted blanket.
- Telling my husband what's happening, so he can use his helpful tricks to ease my discomfort.
- Closing the curtains or blinds and sitting in the dark to ease the frustration of the light overwhelming my eyes.
Living with panic attacks isn't easy. But you can learn how to manage them. My best advice is to speak with a mental health professional who can help teach you proper breathing techniques and how to identify your triggers.
Getting mental health help is not a weakness, it's arming yourself with the best tools to live your best life.