7 Things To Do When You Have An Anxiety Attack.
7 Things To Do When You Have An Anxiety Attack.
“She’s such a bright and beautiful woman, I can’t believe she has anxiety!”
You must have heard this a couple of times, and so have I. After all, what’s there to panic if you’ve got a lot more than others? And why run into depression if you’ve so many people around to talk? INDEED. There’s nothing to worry about when you’re not literally dying.
Or is it?
If not, why are all these people panicking around a lockdown (a situation they can’t control) for days that are numbered and controlled? Why are we trying hard to fit into shoes that we never even considered worth making? Suddenly, all of us know of panic attacks, relate to the constant thumping sound of the heartbeats and realize what fear looks like. Suddenly, the world seems to understand all the anxiety issues and yet, minimizes it to what a ‘quarantine feels like in the COVID-19 era.’
So first, let’s try and put this out loud and clear:
The behavior induced by a quarantine/lockdown is temporary, while anxiety is a medical condition that keeps returning on both your worst and best days.
The definition of anxiety in our world is superficial and challenges the mental stability of people who suffer from it. The reason why, there are thousands of people unaware of their mental health issues even today. So many people suffer from breakdowns that can take a toll on anybody’s life. All of us, at some point or the other, have felt the pangs, but there are people who go through it on a regular basis.
To the ones who are going through a tough phase today and to those who have only known life this way, here are 7 things to do when you have an anxiety attack:
1. Know it’s okay to have one (but don’t justify it’s existence):
Believe it or not, an anxiety attack is normal until you start denying what you feel and how you feel about it. You think the world’s falling apart? That’s okay. You think you’re hardly loved? Oh, you may. It is okay to be scared, it is okay to panic and it is okay if you think you’re turning paranoid. But what is not okay, is you running away from your situation.
Acceptance is half the battle won because it empowers your vulnerabilities with the truth. Embrace the situation as it is for anything other than that shall only complicate it further. Also, learn to acknowledge your feelings today to understand and decode them better tomorrow.
2. Deal with the physical symptoms first (even if you need to shout, do it):
Do you have trouble breathing? Is your body numbing down as a response to what your mind thinks? Do you feel your chest pain and your head burst, as if it were going to kill you? If yes, chances are that your physical symptoms are serious enough and are accelerating the major part of your anxiety attack.
Take a deep breath. Keep breathing. Walk around. Stretch. Drink your favourite juice. Sing a song. Shout your heart out. Cry. Go for a run. Do whatever that calms down the abnormalities of your physical being before you address your thoughts. The calmer you get at this stage, the faster you can get through the panic that’s built up.
3. Look for what triggers (but don’t look too far):
Now that you’ve accepted your situation for what it is, ask yourself a few questions: When was the last time you felt something like this? What is that one thought that predominates your mind, no matter what the situation? Do you experience a certain fear that reminds you of instances and experiences related to you or your closed ones? Is there a pattern that your thoughts follow? The answers to all of these shall benefit you in your path to self-awareness and a healthier mind, but only if you know where to stop.
The moment you find yourself cross that line of reasoning to further overthink or analyze anything beyond these questions, take a U-Turn right away. Yes, it’s impossible to stop an anxious mind from thinking, but there’s no harm in channelizing it to the right topics, is it?
4. Talk about it to yourself (who else knows you better?):
Nobody knows you better than you do. All the triggers and reasons that you have are what you’ve developed throughout your issues. It’s not a code to debug or a hard nut to crack, it is but simply your mind’s play. Once you’re a little better, you must take out some time to discuss it with the person you see in the mirror.
Enlist these triggers in your mind and map them to the fears that occupy it. And then, compare your thoughts with your present reality. Talk to yourself as if you’d counsel a friend on an issue. By the end of it, ask yourself questions that your friend would’ve asked: Does it feel a little less real when analyzed? Is it actually as harmful as you initially thought?
5. Visualize, Communicate, Practice Mindfulness (or even write yourself a letter):
What is it that will help you counter your negative thoughts and keep you way from depersonalization and dissociation? After the small ‘prep-talk’, you can further deal with all that’s remaining in ways that suit you the best. Start by practicing mindfulness. Close your eyes and imagine a safer place than the situation you’re in. Try and activate the feeling of all your five senses while you do so.
You may also deal with anxiety by focusing on something else. Focus on things that are going to require concentration and make you happier at the same time. Do you need a tub of ice cream right after you medidate? Order it! Do you want to write all that you feel? Let the words flow. Do you know of a person who’d be a great listener? Call him/her up!
6. Do not hold onto emotional baggages (let it go, it’s for the best!):
Nothing’s going to hurt more than your mind doing rounds around a situation it can’t help. Your anxiety is a by-product of all the things that you’ve stuffed inside your heart. There are high chances of you feeling anxious on even the littlest of things, just because you’ve had enough.
Let it go. As hard as it may sound, you’ve to start giving away pieces of your heart that now burden your health. Start by forgiving and forgetting things that you may. Do it one grudge/fear at a time. Repeat it everytime you feel you can. Even if it’s a tiny forgivance in a mansion of grudges, let it go. For every time you do so, you create some extra space for you to breathe better.
7. Remember you’ve been here before (and it can’t be worse):
All’s well that end’s well, but everything is a little better when you find yourself stronger at the end. Remember the last time you had a similar breakdown and how you had anticipated your world falling apart? Well, you’re still here today battling another one. Life keeps moving, and so does the instances that breaks us apart.
While your mental health can’t quickly meet a happy ending, you do hold the power to constrain it, minimize it, and end it slowly. Take one situation at a time and work steadily on it. Remember, you’ve got this till now, and you’ve the strength to overcome it everytime.
Last but not the least, do not judge people based on their public appearances even if you think you know better about depression. Everybody has their own way of dealing with anxiety and panic attacks. If a person is not sulking down, it does not make their pain any lesser. As fellow human beings, we must learn to respect every individual and their story. But most importantly, we must be empathetic enough to lend our shoulders to whoever needs it, including US. I am here to hear you out, are you there for someone too?