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How do I deal with panic attacks?


R A I N

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Hey so uhm I recently I've been feeling quite panicky and had a few panic attacks. I've just been wondering how to like shake it off. Like I get so anxious/nervous and sometimes I don't even know why. I'm a bit scared of having one in public, I don't want people seeing me like that. I'm always in a state. So like, one of the reasons why I don't want people seeing me like that. I freak out when I have one which basically just makes things worse. I feel like I'm suffocating.ย The feeling whilst having the panic attack is so overwhelming. You feel like youโ€™re losing oxygen to the point where youโ€™ll die. You have no idea if you might pass out or throw up. You canโ€™t breathe. You feel as though youโ€™re choking. Your head starts spinning. Your vision goes blurry. Mine lasts for about 10 minutes. I just don't want to have an episode.ย 

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17 hours ago, R A I N said:

Hey so uhm I recently I've been feeling quite panicky and had a few panic attacks. I've just been wondering how to like shake it off. Like I get so anxious/nervous and sometimes I don't even know why. I'm a bit scared of having one in public, I don't want people seeing me like that. I'm always in a state. So like, one of the reasons why I don't want people seeing me like that. I freak out when I have one which basically just makes things worse. I feel like I'm suffocating.ย The feeling whilst having the panic attack is so overwhelming. You feel like youโ€™re losing oxygen to the point where youโ€™ll die. You have no idea if you might pass out or throw up. You canโ€™t breathe. You feel as though youโ€™re choking. Your head starts spinning. Your vision goes blurry. Mine lasts for about 10 minutes. I just don't want to have an episode.ย 

ย 

Heyy @R A I N, I'm really sorry to hear that you've been going through such difficult moments with panic attacks. It's incredibly challenging to experience those overwhelming feelings of anxiety and panic, especially when you're unsure about the triggers. First and foremost, please know that you're not alone in this. Many people go through similar experiences with panic attacks, and there is help and support available to help you manage them.ย 

It's completely understandable that you're concerned about having a panic attack in public. That fear of others seeing you in such a vulnerable state can be quite daunting. But please remember that there's no shame in experiencing panic attacks. They are not a sign of weakness, and many people struggle with them. One important step in managing panic attacks is to learn techniques to help calm your anxiety when you feel it building. Breathing exercises, mindfulness, and grounding techniques can be really helpful. Have you ever tried any of these methods, or would you like more information on how they work?ย 

Also, I was wondering could you share if you've noticed any particular situations or circumstances that tend to precede your panic attacks? I suppose understanding the root causes of your anxiety and panic attacks would be helpful in developing strategies for coping with them..

Here for you, let's try and navigate this together!ย 

ย 

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On 9/10/2023 at 9:58 AM, Luie said:

Heyy @R A I N, I'm really sorry to hear that you've been going through such difficult moments with panic attacks. It's incredibly challenging to experience those overwhelming feelings of anxiety and panic, especially when you're unsure about the triggers. First and foremost, please know that you're not alone in this. Many people go through similar experiences with panic attacks, and there is help and support available to help you manage them.ย 

It's completely understandable that you're concerned about having a panic attack in public. That fear of others seeing you in such a vulnerable state can be quite daunting. But please remember that there's no shame in experiencing panic attacks. They are not a sign of weakness, and many people struggle with them. One important step in managing panic attacks is to learn techniques to help calm your anxiety when you feel it building. Breathing exercises, mindfulness, and grounding techniques can be really helpful. Have you ever tried any of these methods, or would you like more information on how they work?ย 

Also, I was wondering could you share if you've noticed any particular situations or circumstances that tend to precede your panic attacks? I suppose understanding the root causes of your anxiety and panic attacks would be helpful in developing strategies for coping with them..

Here for you, let's try and navigate this together!ย 

Well, I have tried some breathing exercises but i seem to panic even more when I find it hard to breathe. Well, I'm not entirely sure what causes them - it's basically when I get anxious.

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17 hours ago, R A I N said:

Well, I have tried some breathing exercises but i seem to panic even more when I find it hard to breathe. Well, I'm not entirely sure what causes them - it's basically when I get anxious.

That's OK. Lots of people don't find breathing exercises that helpful when they are having a panic attack. I'm wondering, have you heard of grounding exercises such as the 54321 method.ย  If so, do you find them helpful at all to bring you back into the present moment? If not, would you like me to tell you a bit more about it?

No problem if you haven't noticed any triggers. Maybe there isn't a specific trigger. What might be helpful is to write down anything you notice the next time you have one. This might help you to notice things you weren't aware of before and it might also help to calm you down in the moment. What do you think?ย 

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20 hours ago, Aurora said:

That's OK. Lots of people don't find breathing exercises that helpful when they are having a panic attack. I'm wondering, have you heard of grounding exercises such as the 54321 method.ย  If so, do you find them helpful at all to bring you back into the present moment? If not, would you like me to tell you a bit more about it?

No problem if you haven't noticed any triggers. Maybe there isn't a specific trigger. What might be helpful is to write down anything you notice the next time you have one. This might help you to notice things you weren't aware of before and it might also help to calm you down in the moment. What do you think?ย 

I don't really know how to count down from 5 when I'm all panicky. I usually just wait for myself to calm down a bit which takes ages and I just feel so exhausted afterwards - like I've been doing some long distance running.

Yes, I'll try do that.

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On 9/13/2023 at 8:05 AM, R A I N said:

I don't really know how to count down from 5 when I'm all panicky. I usually just wait for myself to calm down a bit which takes ages and I just feel so exhausted afterwards - like I've been doing some long distance running.

Yes, I'll try do that.

ย 

I hope it's helpful for you to keep a bit of a record.ย 

I can imagine that you feel exhausted afterwards. When we have a panic attack our body thinks that there is some kind of threat (even though there isn't) and it tends to go into "fight or flight mode" That's why we often have a lot of physical symptoms during a panic attack such as a racing heartbeat as our body is getting ready to respond to the threat it . Do you mind me asking, what physical symptoms you've noticed in yourself when you are having a panic attack? You mentioned that you can't breath, your head spins and your vision goes blurry. Anything else you've noticed?ย 

The 54321 method is a bit different to counting down from 5. It's a grounding exercise and it can be helpful to make us focus on the present and help us to feel more calm again. Basically you start off by looking around you and try to notice 5 things you can see. This could be anything, eg a window, a tree in the garden, your mobile phone etc. You then move on to 4 things you can touch. If you can, try and touch things that feel different eg a soft toy, a hard piece of wood (maybe on your chair), cold water etc Really try and notice how it feels. Then you move on to 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and finally one thing you can taste. You could also finish with one deep breath in if you prefer but it sounds like you don't find deep breathing very helpful at that moment. Is that right?

I've written quite a lot there so I will make a list of the 5 things here to make it a bit easier to remember:

5 things you can see

4 things you can touch

3 things you can hear

2 things you can smell

1 thing you can taste or a deep breath in

You can also change things around and eg start off with 5 things you can hear then move onto 4 things you can see etc. Whatever works best for you. If you want to give this a go then it might be a good idea to practise this a few times when you're feeling calm so you know how to use it, when you need it. I hope this makes sense. Please let me know if anything is unclear or if you would like me to suggest something else instead.ย 

ย 

ย 

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7 hours ago, Aurora said:

I hope it's helpful for you to keep a bit of a record.ย 

I can imagine that you feel exhausted afterwards. When we have a panic attack our body thinks that there is some kind of threat (even though there isn't) and it tends to go into "fight or flight mode" That's why we often have a lot of physical symptoms during a panic attack such as a racing heartbeat as our body is getting ready to respond to the threat it . Do you mind me asking, what physical symptoms you've noticed in yourself when you are having a panic attack? You mentioned that you can't breath, your head spins and your vision goes blurry. Anything else you've noticed?ย 

The 54321 method is a bit different to counting down from 5. It's a grounding exercise and it can be helpful to make us focus on the present and help us to feel more calm again. Basically you start off by looking around you and try to notice 5 things you can see. This could be anything, eg a window, a tree in the garden, your mobile phone etc. You then move on to 4 things you can touch. If you can, try and touch things that feel different eg a soft toy, a hard piece of wood (maybe on your chair), cold water etc Really try and notice how it feels. Then you move on to 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and finally one thing you can taste. You could also finish with one deep breath in if you prefer but it sounds like you don't find deep breathing very helpful at that moment. Is that right?

I've written quite a lot there so I will make a list of the 5 things here to make it a bit easier to remember:

5 things you can see

4 things you can touch

3 things you can hear

2 things you can smell

1 thing you can taste or a deep breath in

You can also change things around and eg start off with 5 things you can hear then move onto 4 things you can see etc. Whatever works best for you. If you want to give this a go then it might be a good idea to practise this a few times when you're feeling calm so you know how to use it, when you need it. I hope this makes sense. Please let me know if anything is unclear or if you would like me to suggest something else instead.ย 

Well I guess I just get dizzy and tend to gasp for air a lot.

Yes, that's right.

I'm going to give it a go.

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17 hours ago, R A I N said:

Well I guess I just get dizzy and tend to gasp for air a lot.

Yes, that's right.

I'm going to give it a go.

I hope you find it helpful. Let me know if anything is unclear or if you would like any more support around this.ย 

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8 hours ago, Aurora said:

I hope you find it helpful. Let me know if anything is unclear or if you would like any more support around this.ย 

What if I'm in a classroom where there isn't much to hear or touch?

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5 minutes ago, R A I N said:

What if I'm in a classroom where there isn't much to hear or touch?

Try bringing something small that has different textures. If it makes a sound too, that might be good. And even in a classroom, try your best to listen for your breathing, or some sort of air conditioning, heater, etc.

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15 hours ago, Emberfrost12 said:

Try bringing something small that has different textures. If it makes a sound too, that might be good. And even in a classroom, try your best to listen for your breathing, or some sort of air conditioning, heater, etc.

Thanks so much. I'm just worried about people seeing me in such a state because it's always so chaotic and I'm always gasping for breath, like I don't know if I'll be able to calm myself down before it gets worse...

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6 hours ago, R A I N said:

Thanks so much. I'm just worried about people seeing me in such a state because it's always so chaotic and I'm always gasping for breath, like I don't know if I'll be able to calm myself down before it gets worse...

To be completely honest, most people don't care. And as you keep trying to calm yourself down, it'll be less and less noticeable

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21 minutes ago, Emberfrost12 said:

To be completely honest, most people don't care. And as you keep trying to calm yourself down, it'll be less and less noticeable

Uhm I'm afraid I disagree, because I've witnessed similar situations and people just keep commenting and watching.

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3 hours ago, R A I N said:

Uhm I'm afraid I disagree, because I've witnessed similar situations and people just keep commenting and watching.

Ah, well...best of luck

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17 hours ago, R A I N said:

Uhm I'm afraid I disagree, because I've witnessed similar situations and people just keep commenting and watching.

Heyy @R A I N, I am sorry you've had such an experience. Would you like to talk more about this 1-1?

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20 minutes ago, Luie said:

Heyy @R A I N, I am sorry you've had such an experience. Would you like to talk more about this 1-1?

Well,ย I haven't necessarily had that experience but I fear that I might because I'm not very good at calming myself down. I've seen others go through similar situations and everyone just stares and comments.

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14 minutes ago, R A I N said:

Well,ย I haven't necessarily had that experience but I fear that I might because I'm not very good at calming myself down. I've seen others go through similar situations and everyone just stares and comments.

I hear you, is there currently that you find helpful in calming you down?ย 

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8 hours ago, Luie said:

I hear you, is there currently that you find helpful in calming you down?ย 

Well I haven't really had a panic attack in the past week. It's progress but it's scary just thinking that it can occur in such a public place.

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ย 

14 hours ago, R A I N said:

Well I haven't really had a panic attack in the past week. It's progress but it's scary just thinking that it can occur in such a public place.

ย 

On 9/15/2023 at 6:54 PM, Emberfrost12 said:

Try bringing something small that has different textures. If it makes a sound too, that might be good. And even in a classroom, try your best to listen for your breathing, or some sort of air conditioning, heater, etc.

That's good that you haven't had a panic attack in the past week. I know if can be scary to think about it happening in such a public place. Have you had a chance to practiced the 54321 grounding exercise? If you practice it several time before you actually have a panic attack it should hopefully be a fairly easy technique to use as it will seem familiar at that point and that should make it easy to remember.

What do you think about @Emberfrost12ย idea of bringing in something small that has different textures. Do you think that might work? Maybe you could also try and listen out for sounds in your classroom over the next few days to see how many different sounds you can hear. I would imagine that it's never completely quiet in your classroom. Do you agree?ย 

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9 hours ago, Aurora said:

That's good that you haven't had a panic attack in the past week. I know if can be scary to think about it happening in such a public place. Have you had a chance to practiced the 54321 grounding exercise? If you practice it several time before you actually have a panic attack it should hopefully be a fairly easy technique to use as it will seem familiar at that point and that should make it easy to remember.

What do you think about @Emberfrost12ย idea of bringing in something small that has different textures. Do you think that might work? Maybe you could also try and listen out for sounds in your classroom over the next few days to see how many different sounds you can hear. I would imagine that it's never completely quiet in your classroom. Do you agree?ย 

Yes, I've practiced it. Yeah, that idea seems do-able. Yes, I'd agree although sometimes it can get very quiet. But I'm sure it'll be okay. I hope.

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12 hours ago, R A I N said:

Yes, I've practiced it. Yeah, that idea seems do-able. Yes, I'd agree although sometimes it can get very quiet. But I'm sure it'll be okay. I hope.

Maybe you could try and listen out for sounds over the next few days. Then you'll know if it's ever completely quiet or if you can always hear something (even if it's very quite). If you like you can let me know how you get on. Do you have any other questions and how confident do you feel that you will be able to use this technique the next time you feel like you are getting a panic attack?ย 

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7 hours ago, Aurora said:

Maybe you could try and listen out for sounds over the next few days. Then you'll know if it's ever completely quiet or if you can always hear something (even if it's very quite). If you like you can let me know how you get on. Do you have any other questions and how confident do you feel that you will be able to use this technique the next time you feel like you are getting a panic attack?ย 

I'm like 65% confident that it will work but I'm still terrified of having a panic attack in front of others and plus I know I wouldn't want to talk about it with them - they're going to want to know what happened.

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On 9/19/2023 at 5:18 PM, R A I N said:

I'm like 65% confident that it will work but I'm still terrified of having a panic attack in front of others and plus I know I wouldn't want to talk about it with them - they're going to want to know what happened.

Maybe you could think of something you could say to others around you in case it does happen? If you think about it beforehand you might feel better prepared in case it does happen and you might feel less worried about what others will say. How about something like " This happens sometimes. I just need a few minutes to myself and I'll be fine"? How does that sound? If that doesn't work for you - can you think of something else you could say?ย ย 

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4 hours ago, Aurora said:

Maybe you could think of something you could say to others around you in case it does happen? If you think about it beforehand you might feel better prepared in case it does happen and you might feel less worried about what others will say. How about something like " This happens sometimes. I just need a few minutes to myself and I'll be fine"? How does that sound? If that doesn't work for you - can you think of something else you could say?ย ย 

Am I supposed to tell them before I have a panic attack if I feel one coming on? Or whilst I have a panic attack? - although that'd be very hard. Or after? It doesn't sound so bad, by the way.

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16 hours ago, R A I N said:

Am I supposed to tell them before I have a panic attack if I feel one coming on? Or whilst I have a panic attack? - although that'd be very hard. Or after? It doesn't sound so bad, by the way.

Do you usually feel one coming on? If you do then it might be a good idea to tell them then. As you said it might be difficult to do it whilst you are in the middle of one. What do you think? Maybe you could say something like "I'm sorry, I'm just going to need a couple of minutes to myself. This happens sometimes. Just give me a few minutes and I'll be fine." Do you think that could work?ย 

How do you feel about everything now?ย 

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