My Anxiety and how I cope.
When I start to have a panic attack I have a “tell” sign.
My hands become fidgety.
It’s as though I can’t put my finger on the issue, therefore I fidget with my hands because they can’t find what they want to do. When it starts and I can feel it coming, it really annoys me. So I had to develop some techniques to keep my calm and bring me out of the attack.
There are a range of factors which determine how I will try to deal with it.
It depends on how I’m feeling generally, where I am, who I’m with, and the magnitude of the panic attack.
So how do I deal with them? I can’t say it will definitely work for you, and I might sound like a mixed bag of nuts when I describe them, but they work for me so I’m going to share them. So here goes
Think of your panic attacks like earthquakes and you have to measure them on the Richter scale.
A low on the Richter scale panic attack:
I stop whatever I’m doing and I talk to myself but as though I was someone else; someone with a more logical mind at that point in time. I ask myself (out loud, if I’m alone) what am I worrying about? Can I change it? Yes or No.
If I can’t then I ask myself why am I worried? It’s out of my control? Therefore I have to move on.
If the situation can be changed, then what can I do to change it? Is the answer simple? If so, then I’ll try and do it.
My anxiety often stems from needing to be in control of the situation. A situation as simple as deciding what to wear can spiral out of hand if I start to feel that my fears around my appearance are getting carried away.
So that logical mind helps me regain that sense of control.
I find the lower category panic attacks easier to manage by talk to myself. I’ve managed to talk or think myself into it so why not myself out of it?
Take your time. Talk at a pace you’re comfortable with. Keep talking you’ll hopefully find your rhythm again and your heart rate will return to normal. You once again need to regain the control and by talking to yourself you’re managing that.
A mid-way on the Richter scale panic attack:
It starts of like a low one, but this time my chest tightens and my breathing intensifies.
As before I start off with talking, but sometimes talking doesn’t help. So if that isn’t working and I can’t find my “logical voice” then I start counting.
I count to 10 at a pace I’m comfortable with. I do this over and over again until my heart rate comes back to normal again and I get myself to the stage where I can actually talk to myself again about the problem in my “logical voice”. It doesn’t matter how many times you count or how long it takes you. You’re finding your way out of it and back.
A major earthquake. The kind that levels San Francisco sort of a panic attack:
So these don’t happen to me that often but when they do they completely take over my mind and body. I don’t have a way to get myself out of these, I just have to see it through. Seeing it through means having to go through the emotions & letting your body take over and just riding out the storm.
For me my chest tightens, my breathing becomes erratic, I can’t think, focus or know what I want. I feel sick and I just want to hide. It’s a horrible feeling and the problem is that once the panic and anxiety have got hold of you, it takes a lot to come out of it.
Depending on what’s triggered it I might cry, get angry, want comfort, to be left alone, fresh air or Even sometimes sleep will help. Whatever it is and wherever I am I have to decide which route to take. However I always seem to be able to think logically as Il know what I want to do regardless of what it is.
These ones do have an end point and I have to see them through. They don’t last long and sometimes it’s better to let it run, see it through and to see where your emotions take you. I’d tried to control these but found that I wasn’t able to bring myself back down and that I was only prolonging the attack and making it worse, so I now just see it through without trying to stop it and letting it escalate.
The main thing is you’re going to be ok whatever happens.
I hope this helps in some small way. We’re all different so whatever works for me might not work for you, but we all have a tool box of coping mechanisms. We just need to keep working and tinkering until we find the right tool that works for you.