Getting through every day with a mental health disorder is tough. Some days, you need to put on your big girl panties and just do it.
Throughout the years I have learnt various techniques for coping with anxiety and panic attacks, some of which work for me and some not so much. Everyone is different. It is important that you can find what works for you.
My personal favorite is something I try to do every night. It takes minimal effort; all you have to do is think. I call it ‘Two goods and a grumble’. This really gets you thinking about the positives at the end of each day whilst still allowing you to get out your grumble.
Good 1) I got a nice compliment from a customer today.
Good 2) I had particularly awesome funky socks on today.
Grumble) I had a moment of anxiety in the car today whilst stuck in traffic.
This is something I try to do every night, just in my head. I used to write it down, but very quickly started forgetting! It doesn’t mean that you can’t though.
Another technique I use, particularly for periods of anxiety when I am at work or in public, is the 7,5,8 breathing pattern. Try it…
- Breathe in for 7 seconds
- Hold for 5 seconds
- Breathe out for 8 seconds
Try this a few times and you will feel yourself anchor back to the moment and your shoulders will drop as you relax.
As I said, don’t expect everything to work for you, because most likely it won’t. You will however, through trial and error be able to find something that does help that you can stick with.
I realise I have been focusing on those who suffer with anxiety and panic in this post and not so much those who would like to know more and how to help.
The best advice I can give you to help someone who is suffering with panic is to get them to breathe deeply and smoothly.
When you experience a panic attack, you begin to take short and shallow breaths. This does not allow the inhalation of oxygen that your brain and body needs. This increases your heart rate and blood flow in preparation for the flight response.
It’s important to acknowledge these symptoms and make sure the panic sufferer is taking long deep breaths into their abdomen and then exhaling gently and taking their time.
This will take time; panic is a real height to come down from. Be persistent, they will get there. Reassurance is important. Just being there in that moment for them is more help than you may realise.
It can b pretty scary seeing someone having a panic attack, but it’s okay. you being there in that moment to help them breathe and to reassure them that it will end will really help. Panic attacks don’t last forever, though it may feel like it. Eventually, they have to ease and finish. I have in the past lost friends through my panic attacks, purely and simply because they did not understand or know how to help. There’s no magic cure unfortunately, but give some time and space and gradually, it’ll subside.
I cannot tell you how much I appreciate my friends and family who do stick around and help me to get through these attacks. That is all the support I need.
There is so much I want to share with you and so much left to cover.
Stay with me here.