Panic Attacks are the Worst but You Can Help Someone Tame it and Here’s How
Anxiety is like having another person inside your brain that cannot get any more self-loathing. It will strip down all your confidence and your sanity. It seems inescapable to you and the worst part is that people who do not suffer from anxiety will have the hardest time understanding it. I cannot begin to explain what anxiety does to you. However, I think the scariest part of suffering from anxiety is having to go through panic attacks. Some people get it weekly, monthly or annually.
This article aims to educate people on how to handle someone who’s going through a panic attack, because I know most people mean well but they are not necessarily familiar with what will help tame the attack and what will induce it. So when you find someone who’s having a hard time catching their breath and they look like they had just seen a ghost, here are the things you need to follow!
Dos and Don’ts when someone is having a panic attack:
Do not tell someone who’s having a panic attack to stop overthinking and try to forget about it because it is not a thought, it is something that consumes our whole body, mind and soul.
Do not pressure us into something: if we tell you we do not want to take a walk, do not say “trust me, it will help” and grab us by the hand.
Don’t leave us alone unless we ask you to, because that will mean that we’re alone with our scary thoughts and our fragile bodies!
Do not panic because we are panicking because that is just too much panic in one room. We do not need one more thing to worry about!
Do not talk too much, because we can barely hear you over our loud thoughts; so it can get too overwhelming.
Do not assume why we’re having a panic attack and try to fix it. Because “stop thinking about John, he’s not worth it” is just going to make us want to punch you so hard!
Reality check, “you’re having a panic attack and it’s going to be over soon!” I think this is the most helpful thing you could do, as Claudia Saleeb, a person who suffers from anxiety discussed, as we get too engrossed in the attack that we feel that it’s going to last forever!
Remind us to breathe slowly but if we’re already trying, do not keep stressing us on doing it.
Do not ask me what to do, because I’ll probably overthink what I want you to do and worry even more, what you can say to be supportive is “I know you’re not okay, I want to make you feel better.”
If we already reached that part in our relationship, simple touching helps like a pat on the back or holding our hands or so. Mariam Yehia, a person who goes through panic attacks often mentions how touching can help make her calmer.
“Make them feel loved. people who suffer from anxiety and frequent panic attacks often feel that they may be too much to handle or that they’re not easy to love, so it’s important to make them feel loved and that you won’t feel differently about them”- Shoruq Nabil, a psychology major graduate.
Shoruq also advised to Absolutely NOT try to use reason or logic with someone who’s having a panic attack no matter how ‘silly’ or unjustified it seems to you. “There’s no reason to feel that way right now. You’re not ACTUALLY going to die! Look at how good your life is.” They need to understand that anxiety is a mental illness and isn’t always about the outside circumstances.”
However, this does not compensate for therapy, if you suffer from anxiety, it is really important to seek professional help!
WE SAID THIS: Help make it easier for people with mental illness. It will make a difference!