It is obvious that this year has been filled with panics of various kinds, leading to a panic attack experienced by different people. Year 2020 came like every other prospective year; filled with hopes and dreams but the rising events hit everyone like a tsunami.
Panic attack or disorder comes suddenly, with intense fear, shock and anxiety on the person experiencing it at the moment. Some even think it is a heart attack; but it is not, due to their differences.
Panic attacks sometimes appear severe but its maximum duration of attack is 10 minutes or less, although experts say that the symptoms may remain for a longer period of time.
More so, many people experiencing a this attack may find it difficult breathing, sweating profusely, shivering, and feel their hearts throbbing. Some could even experience pain in their chest or a feel of separation from reality or themselves during the attack.
I remember a friend telling me how she was under a panic attack and it felt like she was going to have a stroke or her heart pulping out of her. Yes, you may be under intense feeling and fear, but not a heart attack. It sure would subside under ten minutes or even less.
What then are the likely symptoms of panic attack? Let us take a quick check on them, in a situation whereby you find yourself or someone close to you in such a moment.
Possible symptoms of panic attack include; pulsations, or stimulated heart rate, sweating, shivering or shuddering, feelings of shortness of breath or smothering, and feelings of choking.
Others are chest pain or distress, nauseousness or abdominal discomfort, feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or blackout, freezes or flush sensations, numbness or tingling sensations, feelings of unreality or being disconnected from oneself, fear of losing control or insanity, or even fear of death.
What To Do During A Panic Attack
Here are practical steps you can take during a panic attack:
Take A Deep Breath
Taking a deep breath is one of the most common ways to handle an attack when you find yourself in such a situation.
Gasping is a symptom of such attack that causes an increase of fear, but when you take a deep breath, it can reduce the symptoms.
If you can have control over your breathing, then you have more chances of not hyperventilating or steerup situations that can make the panic attack grow worse.
To achieve this exercise, you need to focus on taking deep breaths in and out through your mouth, ensure that you feel the air slowly through your chest and stomach and then slowly leave them again. Take a breath for a count of four, pause for a second, and then breathe out for another count of four.
Not A Death Sentence, Only A Panic Attack
At this point, you need to be mentally aware that what you are experiencing is an attack; not a heart attack or stroke, like my friend. When you bear this in mind, it will help you to calm yourself and minimise all forms of fear.
You are not dying, so cast away the fear of death or assumptions that some spiritual forces are at work – very common among religious worshippers. This will help you to focus on the next thing to do.
Shut Your Eyes
Sometimes, what you set your eyes on could have triggered the panic attack; so you can handle the situation by closing your eyes to the environment at the time.
To reduce the motivations caused by the sightseeing, close your eyes during your panic attack. This can prevent any extra provocations and make it susceptible to focus on your breathing.
Apply The Mindfulness Approach
Being mindful of your surroundings and yourself can help you to overcome a panic attack. It is important that during a panic attack, ensure you are conscious of what is happening around you.
This is because a panic attack can leave you with a feeling of detachment or separation from reality.
Focus on the physical sensations you are familiar with, such as digging your feet into the ground or feeling the texture of what you are wearing or jeans on your hands. These specific sensations ground you firmly in reality and give you something objective to focus on.
Look For An Object To Focus On
It can be helpful for you if you find it easy locating a single object to focus all your attention on, this will help you during a panic attack as well. If you do, then keep your focus on just one object and if possible, begin to draw out other interesting things about it in your mind at that moment.
For instance, you can pick the wall clock and begin to carefully listen to its jerk when it ticks and the movement of its seconds. You can also take a closer look at its size, shape, colour and design. Focus all your attention on the object. This method may help subside your panic attack.
Reiterate An Assurance Inwardly
Repeating a statement that gives you assurance can be helpful during a panic attack. It could also be an amazing experience you had with someone you cherish.
It could be as simple as repeating “This is not the end for me” or something that resonates with you personally. Just keep emphasising the statement and you will feel the panic attack subsiding.
Relax Your Muscle
Another method or technique you can use is muscle relaxation. When you relax your muscles during a panic attack, it helps you to control your body response.
Take a conscious effort to relax a muscle after another. You can do this by using your fingers to massage your muscles in your body and wake up.
Panic attack is not a death sentence as stated above, neither is it a heart attack. Many factors can be responsible for a panic attack; but what is important is that it will subside in no time if you apply the approaches listed above to handle them.