Your guide to coping with panic attacks

Ever had one? Panic attacks feel awful in the moment and often seem to come out of nowhere. My first came about after I thought I had lost a massive assignment I had been working on during my masters.

I couldn’t find it anywhere on my computer and out of no where I was in full blown panic mode. My heart was beating out of my chest, it felt like a heart attack.

My hands were tingly, I was sweating and I was covered in a rash. I felt like I couldn’t breathe or even think logically about what I was supposed to do.

All I could think about was how I didn’t have time to possibly re-do all that work and would probably fail the course. It was an intense, irrational fear looking back.

Here’s what I wish I knew at the time about panic attacks:

  • They often come out of nowhere

  • It feels like you’re going to die, but you aren’t. Panic attacks are very real and scary but they don’t last long. Your body can’t stay in fight or flight mode for hours. Most panic attacks peak within 10-15 minutes and rarely last more than an hour

  • It’s helpful to show yourself compassion and relinquish control. People who try to control (aka me) and who hold themselves to high standards are more prone to them. We’re all trying to find a sense of control during this pandemic but it’s simply not possible in all situations and we must know when to let go

  • Worrying about having another panic attack can be worse than the actual thing. This keeps people from living life to the fullest

  • Take a deep breath and remind yourself it will be over soon and you can cope with whatever comes your way

~ Laura

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