Quite honestly it shocks me that so many people struggle with panic attacks. In the USA alone 40 million adults above the age of 18 are affected a year by anxiety and panic attacks. That’s an insane number. I’ve had my fair share of anxiety leading to panic attacks, some that would leave me restless for days and not know which way to turn. It made me desperate to find some kind of solution because burying it definitely was not helping. I figured there’s gotta be some kind of way to make this work cause I noticed in every part of my life it would crumble when I was in these modes.
The first, most important thing, is breathe. Getting your breathing under control avoids hyperventilation, extra restlessness, black outs, etc. It won’t magically fix the panic but it helps calm yourself down a bit. Things like stretching and breathing exercises help you to ‘reset’ and when you’re more calm again to look at things more rationally. I’ve had to use this a lot the past few weeks and even though it hasn’t necessarily made me feel better it’s given me more peace and space to reevaluate things and not feel like I’m drowning in them.
Secondly, it’s extremely important to identify your stressor or trigger! Without identifying what is triggering or stressing you, the anxiety and panic attacks won’t go away. You can’t heal or fix things until you know what to heal and fix. When these things are weighing down on you, I can’t stress how important it is to take time for yourself and take time to get better. When you ignore it, which I’ve done for months at a time or years sometimes, it might work short term but it always comes back and it comes back a lot harder than the initial anxiety. Every time we put it away it festers and gets worse till eventually it feels like too much to handle.
It’s a really difficult step to take to ask for help, it took me years to get the proper help and now I’m finally working on it and it’s difficult it really is but I got sick of living with this weight on my shoulders knowing I wasn’t okay but pretending to be and continuing. It paralyses you eventually and you get one life, you deserve to live it better than this.
One thing that’s helped me a lot get the courage to step out of the cycle, is having a person to talk to about it, however much you’re comfortable with sharing. Having that one confidant helps to not feel like you’re carrying this weight yourself. It’s an easier step than getting professional help right away, so if that’s holding you back start here. It’s about progress, not perfection. You don’t need to take the biggest step as the first step and expect to be better just like that, it’s a process and every step counts!
Photo credits: NPR