Updated: Jun 22, 2020
Experiencing an anxiety attack can be one of the most terrifying things you experience. Your mind goes into overdrive so you don’t even know what you’re thinking anymore. Not only is your mind out of control, but your body feels like it’s going against you. Sweaty palms, shaky arms and legs, hyperventilating, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations, stomach ache are just a few of the symptoms.
I’ve experienced two different types of anxiety attacks in my life, that differ hugely. The first one was how my anxiety disorder began. In class, I would start to feel really, really warm. Then my stomach would go funny and I wouldn’t be able to think anything apart from thinking that I need to get out. That would become the only thing that I could focus on - I need to get out. I would start shaking and my body would go rigid. After feeling that for too long, I would just break down and cry. I didn’t know what was going on or why I felt that way but it turned out that was an anxiety attack. I didn’t get it at first because I thought an anxiety attack was supposed to be really dramatic, but in fact it was all internal and most people around me couldn’t see what was going on.
The second type of anxiety attack I experienced was a lot worse. I developed a cold sweat and felt incredibly nauseous. I really thought I had come down with something horrible. Then I began to get fearful and I started panicking. I felt trapped again but this time, in my own body and there was no escape. It was really late at night and I walked around outside to try and feel calmer but nothing was working. In all honesty, I wanted to die. That lasted for a few hours and I’ve only experienced something that bad a handful of times.
As you can see, the anxiety attacks are quite different, which means that it’ll be different for everybody. The good thing is, I learnt a few tips along the way.
1. Stretch out your body - Try to put yourself in a relaxing position but don’t curl up.
2. Focus on keeping your breathing normal, despite how you might be feeling.
3. Try grounding techniques that help shift your focus away from your body and to your surroundings. Focus on the birds, or the sound of leaves.
4. Put something funny on the TV. Humour is a good way to keep your mind away from the anxiety and panic.
5. If possible, get someone to massage your hands or feet. You can also do it yourself. Massages induce a kind of relaxation process and that’s something that helped me majorly.
6. If inside, open a window but keep warm. The fresh air should help.
7. Reading something easy and with relatively large font. Again, this will help focus your mind away from the panic.
8. Progressive muscle relaxation
9. Listening to music that you like. We often attach memories to music, so try listening to a song that reminds you of a happy or relaxed time.
10. Faith. Spirituality is a controversial topic but having faith and being able to pray gave me strength to get through that horrible moment.
Hopefully some of these things will be able to help you. Often people say you’re not alone, and you’re not. In those moments though, it is all down to you and nothing else feels like it matters. It’s important to remember that it will pass, no matter how bad it seems.
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