I’ve been living with anxiety for a long time, but for a while, I didn’t even know it. From a young age, I knew I thought in a different way than most children.
Rather than talking about it, I kept everything inside. I strongly believed I didn’t have a purpose to continue living and knew I lacked fulfillment.
I dreamed of a care-free life, which I would live in the moment. The only place I wanted to be was in the present.
But, as I matured, I began to obsess over the unknown of what was to come after death.
I envied my insouciant peers while I craved control. Although I grew to realize that living with anxiety is not uncommon, I was still constantly taunted by the thought that I was abnormal.
While my mind was beginning a tug-of-war with my anxiety, I longed to liberate the ruminations held hostage inside my mind.
I was 18, sitting in my high school classroom when I had my first panic attack. Of course, at the time I didn’t understand what I was experiencing.
Immediately, I ran to the bathroom, feeling nauseated, thinking I was just sick.
Once I started to talk about my anxiety, I began learning more about it as a disorder, and what it really means to have a panic attack.
According to HelpGuide, panic attacks can happen in any place, at any time.
A panic attack occurs when an overwhelming amount of fear and anxiety engulfs you, making your heart beat at an alarmingly fast pace.
Some of the other common symptoms of a panic attacks include: shortness of breath, chest pain, shaking, feeling light-headed, nausea, a feeling of detachment from reality and a fear of dying or becoming insane.
Because of the physical symptoms of panic attacks, many people often confuse panic attacks for heart attacks.
If you or someone you know have had panic attacks before and have experienced some of these symptoms, you should find someone you trust to talk about it and seek help.
Without proper treatment, panic attacks and the fear of getting panic attacks can lead to panic disorder.
The primary cause of panic attacks and generalized anxiety is unknown.
However, many times it runs in the family, or can be caused by excessive stress.
Here are some ways you can treat a panic attack as it is happening, and afterward, too:
1. Just Breathe
When your mind begins racing from one unwanted thought to another, it is difficult to come back to reality.
Your heart starts pounding, and you get lost in your fearful mind.
When this happens, the best thing to do is to take a minute and just step back. Focus solely on your breathing.
Close your eyes and begin breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Keep your mind on your breathing for a few minutes, and you will be able to calm down.
2. Take A Walk With Someone
Walking around and talking about anything else helps divert your attention from all of your fears.
You will calm down immediately as you think about anything else, and get some fresh air.
When you are distracted, you forget about everything you were worrying about.
This can be a good temporary remedy. However, you will still need to conquer those demons later on.
3. Call Someone You Trust
In the past, calling someone I cared about and trusted helped me get through my toughest anxious moments.
Talking about your fears and anxieties will help you triumph against your most irrational fears.
Tell that person, and yourself, that you are not crazy; you are just experiencing a panic attack.
A good friend or family member will never judge you, no matter how ridiculous your anxieties may seem.
Also, when someone is listening to you, and trying to help you get through your difficult time, it will become easier for you to come out of the panic state of mind.
Exercise can be really beneficial when treating anxiety.
When you exercise, your body is able to produce more endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals in the body that allows us to feel euphoria.
Yoga is an example of a great form of exercise that will enable you to relax, work on your breathing techniques and produce more endorphins.
So ultimately, exercising will help reduce your anxiety levels.
5. Try Psychotherapy
For a long time, I was too embarrassed to see a therapist.
I figured that since I wasn’t a child starving in Africa, I did not have real problems that needed to be solved, and I would need to figure things out on my own.
After a while, though, I got to the point where I realized my anxiety was too much to handle by myself.
I needed help, and there was nothing wrong with that.
Psychotherapy is more than just talking to a therapist about your problems.
In psychotherapy, a therapist works with you to help you understand the thoughts that are causing your anxiety.
The therapist will then assist you in identifying the strategies that will enable you to overcome your anxiety and panic attacks.
Psychotherapy is known to be more beneficial than just taking medication when treating panic disorder, but a combination of both can be really effective as well.