Panic Attacks and How to Stop them

What is a Panic Attack?

A sudden feeling of intense anxiety. Most of the time, panic attacks have physical symptoms. Here is a list of the most common symptoms, often it is a combination of many of these:

  • Uncontrollable shaking and/or Shivering
  • Overwhelming feeling of needing to be sick, or feeling so nauseous that you do infact vomit
  • Feeling disorientated 
  • Irregular heartbeat;  feeling like you're heart beat is pounding and then suddenly stops
  • Rapid Loud heartbeat; your heart beats really fast, really loudly, it is so intense you think its a heart attack, and many reports of people feel like they are dying or going to die
  • Dry Mouth 
  • Breathlessness
  • Feeling dizzy and like you are going to faint
  • Sweating / sweats 
  • Random & Unexplainable
  • Sense of losing control or that you have lost control of yourself
  • Feel like you are going crazy
  • Sometimes you get waves of panic attacks one after another, symptoms can calm and set off all over again
  • Temperature gets hot and cold, hot flushes and chills
  • The worry triggers more symptoms 

Summarising the list above, a panic attack is a wave of intense fear. It is normal to be absolutely terrified, the symptoms are so real that you feel like you're going to die, that you're having a heart attack or even that you're going crazy.

I Hope I can assure you that you are going to be okay. This will pass. It will not last forever. Panic attacks are harmless to your health.

Often unexpected and hard to know what has caused the panic attack. It is known that it does not always have a cause. The symptoms you experience are not dangerous but are so scary and frightening. Panic attacks can be caused by phobias, mental health disorders and chronic stress. 

This is my worst experience of a panic attack: 

"Really fast, loud, heavy, scary heartbeat. this was so intense I felt like I was having a heart attack. The intensity felt like it will never go away and that I was going to die. My head was hot, I was so overwhelmed about the thought of needing to be sick. I was shaking and shivering so bad I was struggling to keep balance. I had 2 panic attacks one after the other over 2 hours."

If you are unfamiliar with panic attacks and need reassurance, please call emergency services so they can give you a medical professional point of view and tests to reassure you're mind.  


How to deal with a Panic Attack

This is my best advice to getting rid of a panic attack or preventing an anxiety attack you can feel brewing! 

  • Firstly of all MOVE. Shake it off quite literally.
  • Snap out of it, take control it doesn't define you!
  • Try something therapeutic or creative
  • Distract yourself
  • Drink water and try to calm down
  • Remember that anxiety is a future-orientated state of mind, you are worrying about something bad is ABOUT to happen, focus on now, bring yourself back to right now.
  • Whatever you're panicing about hasn't actually happened yet. -Panic attacks often convince you, that you are having a heart attack or dying. Relabel the narrative as soon as it comes by.
  • Repeat this "I am having a panic attack, it's harmless, it's temporary, my mind is tricking me, there is nothing I need to do except relax"

Your body is activating it's "fight or flight" response. This means it is the total opposite of a sign of impending death, this system is what is keeping you alive and your worrying is sending alerting signals to your brain that your body is in danger when infact it's not, the worry has convinced your brain that is the case hence why you have such physical symptoms

Stop putting your hand on your heart, stop listening for your heart beat. This makes you worry about whether it is working! Knowing that your heart is beating fast and loud is a sign that it is in perfecting good working order. Your heart beat is what keeps you alive.

Fact check if you continue to worry, I used to call 111 often, sometimes they were helpful, sometimes they would makes me worry. The distraction & delays of questions helped. I went to the doctors and had everything checked over and it was all fine. Reassurance can help too

Breathing exercises! Breathe in and out deeply! No need to focus on a particular number that is just advice if you choose to count your breathing pattern! What this does focusing on inhaling then exhaling, you are recentering your mind. You are bringing yourself back down to reality and a state of being calm and relaxed.

Ride the wave. If you are reassured and familiar with panic attacks. Accept that you are going through this and it is happening. Proceed with steps to calming and relaxing your anxiety / panic attack. Keep reminding yourself that it will eventually pass and knowing that this is temporary.

Interrupt with actions:

  • Stand up.
  • Take a walk.
  • Clean a room.
  • Write a to-do list.
  • Change your bedding.
  • Have a hot drink.

This interrupts your train of thought and helps you regain a sense of control of your mind, actions and your body.

If symptoms progress

If you continue to suffer these attacks and have a growing anxiety. Please contact a professional at emergency services so they can advice you on the right steps. I would advice looking for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) or a therapist who can help you find the right therapy. There are loads of self help tools on the internet, take advantage of them! Speak about it with people you know, you will be surprised how many people have experienced this intensity before!

Leave a comment